LeRoy Collins Commentary 46

Commentary #46
24 May 2007

Sen Joe Lieberman speech

Given the Congress we have today, with its penchant to lead by rear view mirroring the latest polls, It is very important that we understand the enormity and probable duration of the strategic problems we face in the Middle East. Senator Lieberman's address of 16 May 2007 is exceptionally informative and important to our understanding,.....especially the last few paragraphs, i.e.........

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..........I would like to close today by sharing with you a story from my last visit to Iraq a few months ago. It was in Anbar province in western Iraq - the center of the insurgency - a part of the country that conventional wisdom last year dismissed as hopeless.

In fact, on September 11, 2006, the Washington Post ran a front-page story reporting that even the chief of Marine Corps intelligence in Iraq had concluded that Anbar was "lost," and our position there was "beyond repair."

I was in Anbar last December, on a forward operating base just outside Ramadi, the capital of the province. As one of the briefings with our military commanders ended, a colonel who had been sitting in the back of the room came up to me. He said something that I carry with me to this day - something that I hope you will carry with you as well.

He said: "Sir, I want you to know on behalf of the soldiers in my unit and myself that we believe in why we are fighting here, we want to finish this fight. And we know we can win it."

Today, five months later, Anbar has been dramatically transformed. Thanks to the bravery, ingenuity, and commitment of our men and women in uniform, shops and schools have reopened, Al Qaeda is on the run, thousands of Iraqis have joined the local police, and - yes - no less than the New York Times reports that we have turned the corner there.

My friends, now is not the time for despair. Now is the time for resolve.

Now is not the time for reflexive partisanship and pandering to public opinion. Now is the time for the kind of patriotism and principle America's voters have always honored.

I ask you to plead with every member of Congress you can in the days and weeks ahead - Do not surrender to hopelessness.

Do not succumb to defeat.

Do not give in to fear.

Rise above the political pressures of the moment to do what is right for America.

Believe, like that colonel, in why we are fighting in Iraq, and know, as he and his soldiers know, that we can and must win there."

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/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.
www.leroycollins.org


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