Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Iraq War - and Opposition to it (Senator Chuck Hagel)

The following is from a speech entitled “U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East” by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C. on November 15, 2005.

The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies. Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic – to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices. (emphasis is mine)

There is a difference between "questioning" and the deliberate ridiculing and undermining that is going on in the guise of patriotic questioning. Reasonable, respectful debate is great, but unfortunately that is not what is happening in most of what I see and hear in the news.

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