Below is the text of two letters I sent tonight. Feel free to borrow from them as much as you like or as you see fit. Or feel free not to.
But contact your representatives. NOW!
Senator Chuck Hagel
My name is Michael xxxxxxx, and though I am not a citizen of Nebraska, I am an active participant in Republican Party politics in Colorado. I have worked on the past three election campaigns in my great state, and intend to continue working for people and causes I believe in.
I am writing you today as someone who is mindful of your possible intention to run for President in 2008, or the possibility that you might be selected to be a running mate for John McCain or somebody else. Certainly, I know you will have to run for re-election to the Senate in 2008.
I am writing you today to express my dismay at your voting with the Senate Democrats in committee today in favor of a resolution opposing the President’s plan for Iraq. Without offering a better way forward, you have accomplished two things with your vote today: first, you have freely given political cover to a caucus that would prefer a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of the inevitable consequences of such a move; and you have given comfort to the forces in opposition to America in Iraq, who will read the headlines in the American papers tomorrow and believe that the American will to continue this fight has been broken.
As a veteran of combat, you, of all people, should understand the consequences to our troops on the ground of such a vote.
I understand that you do not represent me, and, as such, probably won’t give much thought to my opinions. Nonetheless, I would encourage you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider your vote when it comes time to repeat it on the floor of the Senate.
While you do not represent me, I am still perfectly capable of writing to Tom Osborne, and encouraging him to run against you in the 2008 primaries. I am perfectly capable of driving from my home outside of Denver to Nebraska to volunteer on behalf of whoever opposes you in the primary. I am perfectly capable of working on behalf of ANYBODY else for President in the Colorado Republican primary. And, should you be the #2 man on the 2008 ticket, I am perfectly capable of staying at home with my family, rather than working phone banks, stuffing envelopes, and walking neighborhoods.
This is far beyond mere party politics. Your vote today both emboldens terrorists around the world, and cuts to the heart of the will of the American fighting man and woman. Not only that, but this vote makes you culpable in the inevitable genocide should America be forced to withdraw from Iraq after the collapse of Congressional support.
Please reconsider your vote when this resolution comes to the floor of the Senate.
TO: Senator Ken Salazar, Senator Wayne Allard, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Congressman Mark Udall
My name is Michael xxxxxx, and I live in Arvada. I grew up in Lakewood, went to school in Boulder, and have lived and worked as a public school teacher in the western suburbs of Denver ever since. I am married and have xxxxx children, with a xxxxx on the way.
I tell you all of this so that you will understand that I am a very normal citizen of Colorado. I live a middle class life, pay my taxes, perhaps pay attention to the news a little more closely than some, and spend most of my time simply trying to make life better for my children and my community.
I am writing you today because I am DEEPLY troubled by one of the initiatives that seems poised to come out of this Congress. In the next days and weeks, you will each have an opportunity to vote on a “non-binding” resolution expressing disagreement with the President’s plan to increase force levels in Baghdad and Anbar Province. I urge you with all possible seriousness to vote against such a measure.
Before articulating my reasons for such a vote, I would first ask each of you this: what do you want Iraq to look like in one year? Five years? Ten years? Because the answer to that question MUST be addressed before any such resolution can be contemplated with the seriousness it deserves. And further, if you have an idea what you want Iraq to look like, then tell me how you would go about achieving that end.
It is simply not enough—in fact, it is downright irresponsible—to merely oppose the President’s plan. Unless and until a better alternative is proposed, this is the plan that the Commander in Chief has ordered, and which the General now charged with executing it has endorsed as the best way forward. To oppose this plan is to endorse the status quo, which, everybody agrees is unacceptable.
Let me say that again: a vote in support of this resolution is a vote to oppose the President’s plan, which is a tacit endorsement of the status quo on the ground.
What follows, logically, and according to the testimony of Gen. Patraeus, is an entirely predictable tale of three armies. The forces of both al-Qaeda in Iraq and the sectarian militias will be emboldened by a perceived lack of will among the American people, and they will step up their attacks; the American forces on the ground will suffer a crushing blow to their esprit de corps, recognizing that the American people no longer support their mission (a mission which they are re-enlisting at extraordinary numbers to complete); and the Iraqi army, which supporters of the resolution say must step up to claim their own country, will recognize that the assistance of the Americans is almost at an end, and they will move to stake their own territory in what will soon follow. The bloodshed will increase, the clamor to bring all the troops home will grow even louder, and what might have been a salvageable situation will spiral out of control into a genocidal civil war, with Iran and Syria waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces. The real tragedy at the end of this story is that the millions of purple-fingered Iraqis who stared down the forces of hatred in their own country to cast free ballots will have been betrayed and left to the violent whims of men like Zarqawi, al-Sadr, and Ahmedinijad. History teaches us that such settings ALWAYS end with slaughter on a Biblical scale.
Do not attempt to justify a vote for this resolution on the grounds that it is “non-binding;” there is nothing the enemy loves more than a public relations victory! It helps with their financing, their recruitment, and their ability to find state allies. It is sad that we Americans are so willing to hand them so many easy victories.
And do not justify a vote for this resolution by arguing that the President was wrong to invade Iraq in the first place, or that the post-invasion was botched. Even if those things were true, IT WOULD NOT ABSOLVE YOU OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GENOCIDE THAT WOULD ENSUE following an American Congressional Declaration of Defeat!
I urge you all, I implore you, as the men who either represent me, or would represent me in two years, in Congress, to vote against ANY resolution opposing the President’s plan going forward. It would be an embarrassment to our great state, and would, in one fell swoop, prove correct Osama bin Laden’s assessment of America as a “paper tiger.”