The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, January 18, 2005  

No More Excuses

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) today wrote to supporters about the war on Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and President Two Out Vehicles Short of Poor White Trash:

I have just come back from Iraq. After several months consumed by the campaign trail, I wanted to make contact with our soldiers on the ground there. The first thing I want you to know is that, in very difficult circumstances, our brave soldiers are serving America with enormous skill and great courage.

In the Senate, we have a duty during times like these to hold our Defense Department accountable for the well-being of our troops. It’s one of the ways that our democracy makes our military the strongest in the world. And I can’t tell you how comforting it is as a soldier to know even if you don’t have a say over your own situation, the folks back home do.

I knew our soldiers were still facing hold ups getting the equipment they need, but I wanted to see it for myself. American troops deserve the best gear and equipment we can provide. But adequate vehicle armor remains in short supply.

A soldier who spoke up about these problems was told by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, “you have to go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” Well, it’s been over two years since Rumsfeld planned this war. And whether he has the army he wants or not, he should at least have basic armor for army vehicles.

I’ll say this in the Senate, but I’m asking you to add your voice to mine:

“President Bush, for the sake of our troops, replace Rumsfeld now.” [Emphasis added.]

More than 500,000 called for Rumsfeld to resign during the presidential campaign. I’m renewing my call now -- please renew yours too, and forward this email to friends to bring them on board. Add your name to mine here, and add your voice to mine by speaking out in your community as I will do in the U.S. Senate for as long as it takes to remove Secretary Rumsfeld from his post. [...]

It’s a question of competence. Poor planning at the Pentagon is letting American soldiers down. According to the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director’s think tank, Iraq is now providing the next generation of “professionalized” terrorists with “a training ground, a recruitment ground, [and] the opportunity for enhancing technical skills.” Our troops need a capable Secretary of Defense. At the very least, they absolutely need that.

I believe that together, the three million of us who worked together on the campaign can help the troops. We not only have a right to speak out against failed Bush policies: we have a duty to defend this country from a President who refuses to recognize the total inadequacy of his own Defense Secretary. That’s how democracy works. And that’s why America has worked all these years.

The campaign season is over, but our citizenship continues. I know from personal experience that citizens and Senators standing up for the truth can be a powerful combination. Now, with email and the Web as citizenship tools, we can make ourselves heard even more clearly. And I can’t tell you how inspired I am that you and I are using these tools to fight side-by-side for the things we believe in.

One more time: please join me in my call for President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld. He’s the man responsible for the well-being of our troops. He’s neglected his duty. He’s made excuses. It’s time for him to go.

Add your voice to mine in the Senate in calling for President Bush to replace Rumsfeld today.

I couldn’t agree more, or I expect many readers are of like mind. If so, please join me in signing Sen. Kerry’s petition and urging your friends to do the same.

The time for excuses, as evidence by the Pentagon secretary’s continued hubris in the face of massive death, violence, and inadequate treatment of our troops and veterans, is plainly over.

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