Bush: Admit Your Mistake, End This War.

By Congressman David Wu of Portland, Oregon.

"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war." --John Adams*

Tomorrow, I hope that President Bush decides to take his Iraq War in a direction that brings our troops home, rather than to grasp at military straws to recover from a political error. If instead he escalates American participation in Iraq's civil war, every American who dies in Iraq from this day forward is a patriot lost because one American leader cannot admit mistakes.

We are at a crucial turning point in Iraq and Afghanistan, and before the president decides to send more American troops in harm's way in Iraq, he needs to make his case to the American people, a case he has never convincingly made. No more lives lost for reasons and goals uncertain.

I hope President Bush heard the voice of the American people in November and listens to our professional military. I agree with our military leadership that it's time for Iraqis to fight for Iraqis, rather than to have Americans fight for Iraqis.

Seldom mentioned these days is our original mission in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden last hid and where his Taliban allies are staging a comeback. We still have opportunity for a complete success in Afghanistan, but unfortunately we do not have adequate resources there today. Redeploying from Iraq would allow us to bring most of our troops home and to have the resources to finish off the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

A lesson I've learned in life is you finish what you start. President Bush took us off-track from the pursuit of Osama bin Laden and turned us into the cul-de-sac of Iraq. The torch of our efforts to suppress terrorists wherever they hide should, and shall be, passed to future generations, but the war in Iraq was started by this president and should be finished by this president.

* John Adams writing to his wife Abigail after averting a war between the United States and France in 1798 (which probably caused his re-election loss to Thomas Jefferson in 1800).

  • (Show?)

    Thank you David. Well spoken.

    From this morning's NY Times:

    While Mr. Kennedy and a relatively small number of other Democrats were pushing for immediate, concrete steps to challenge Mr. Bush through legislation, Democratic leaders said that for now they favored the less-divisive approach of simply asking senators to cast a vote on a nonbinding resolution for or against the plan.

    This can't be about just politics and elections. It's got to be about finding the most effective way, and uniting the most people to accomplish, the ending of this disasterous war.

  • Styve (unverified)

    I had this thought last night that this might be a Rovian ruse, so I posted on Americablog.com this morning the following question...

    Think there's a chance Bushie will do the complete opposite tonight, and follow the advice of the Generals, the ISG, and the American people...start a withdrawal of the troops?! Rove is playing for the whole enchilada here, and as P. Craig Roberts writes in a piece today, the "surge" debate is a Rovian distraction from the real Neocon/Israeli plan for the invasion of Iran (http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=10298) .

    Is it possible that the surge concept, as macho as it is, is just a feint, and Bush will drop the idea tonight, and act as though he would never have proposed it tomorrow?? All the while, we are moving closer to nuclear conflict with Iran... Styve | 01.10.07 - 10:12 am |

  • Calhoun (unverified)

    "A lesson I've learned in life is you finish what you start." - David Wu


  • TomCat (unverified)

    Styve, Given GW ChickenHawk's unique ability to make the worst possible decisions across the board, I fear that we will see escalation AND movement toward nuclear conflict with Iran.

  • Styve (unverified)

    Just had a comment disappear, so this will be shorter...

    I know that it is just wishful thinking, but knowing what a manipulative master Rove is, I would not put anything past them...even building up a wall of resistance, only to back down, but slide some other act of evil under our noses while we were distracted.

  • (Show?)

    Just a clarification. The Calhoun post above is not me. I am pleased to see David come out strong on this issue. I hope he supports the Kennedy-Markey bill prohibiting additional troops.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you for taking the time to write here Mr. Wu. Rep. Earl Blumenauer posted yesterday on the Daily Kos, and as I posted in response there, such efforts by both of you to come here (and over on the Daily Kos) and communicate with us about your thinking on the issues of the day are crucial. As when Earl posted here a few weeks back explaining his thinking on the decision to support Steny Hoyer for the Majority Leader whip post, it goes a long way to help us understand, and in turn be key communicators for you guys. That in turn helps us to help you and support you in your efforts on the hill out here in the netroots and in the 3D world back here at home.

    If we understand where you are on issues, we can better state the case both online and face to face with friends, neighbors, etc. on what you are doing and why. So thanks again for coming here and sharing, and while I know your time is in short supply (particualrly now), any and all time you can in actual dialog online with us (not just post and run) are invaluable. Keep up the work on our behalf, and help us help you in return.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    Memo to Congressman Wu:

    Your party won the election. It now controls both houses of Congress. Enough sermonizing about what Bush should do.

    You can end this war tomorrow by cutting off funding. Unless you find the war too useful a political tool. But then, you wouldn’t play politics with the lives of our soldiers, would you.

  • Calhoun (unverified)

    Just a clarification. The John Calhoun post above is not me.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    Mr. Wu,

    What will happen to Iraq if we leave? Will our departure strengthen Iran? Will terrorists be allowed to set-up a terrorist stronghold? Will they choke our oil supply? Isn't it really best for all involved that we finish what we start?

  • LT (unverified)

    The question is this: If 2 members of Oregon's delegation are of opposite parties but both question Bush's Iraq policy, should both be asked the same questions? Or should a member of one party be allowed to be skeptical but not a member of the other party?

    I'm getting tired of hearing bipolar rhetoric about Iraq, such as "either support the president's policy or cut off funds". Is this really a bipolar situation where there are no other choices? (Yes, I know this question has been debated here on other topics.)

    Just found this on the Oregonian website, and I wonder how those who question the proposals of Democrats in the Oregon delegation feel about this. If a Democrat says "I believe it simply perpetuates the status quo, which is our involvement in a sectarian civil war. " should that comment be treated differently than if a Republican says the same words?


    In an interview with The Oregonian on Tuesday afternoon, Smith reaffirmed his opposition to increasing the troop strength in Iraq.

    "I'm against it," Smith said. "I believe it simply perpetuates the status quo, which is our involvement in a sectarian civil war.

    "I made this clear to the president yesterday," Smith said. "My objection is not fighting the war on terror. It's being the street cop in a civil war. The surge is about that internal fight."

guest column

connect with blueoregon