Friday, September 15, 2006

Stop Cluster Bombs

What follows is my reply and Senator's Specter's letter re: requesting he support stopping the sale of cluster bombs by The United States.

Honorable Senator Specter,

You say "it is your belief" that this government will work and create a peaceful region. Is "your belief", which I fully respect, worth the lives of thousands of our soldiers, injuries to over 10,000, Iraqi deaths of somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 and a lack of recorded numbers when it comes to their injuries--was all that worth "your belief."
If you are not in favor of a timeline, how much more do you want to see our troops do? 5,000 more dead? 2,500 more amputees? When will we place the future of Iraq in the hands of Iraqis? We have done enough and we should transition now. Remember the Marshall plan?
I do not understand "your belief" and why you think more of this occupation is the only answer. Strategic strikes and a UN force, such as what occurred in Kosovo, would have been more practical, and without loss of life, and without collateral or civilian damage. No one knows what the future holds, but you have the influence to begin that change NOW.
Thank You for your reply.
Steve Karas


Dear Mr. Karas:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the ongoing situation in Iraq . I appreciate your taking the time to bring your views on this important matter to my attention.
Although I have many concerns about the situation in Iraq , it is important to note that positive steps towards establishing a lasting Iraqi democracy have been taken. In 2005, Iraqis went to the polls three times. In January, elections were held to select a Transitional National Assembly as well as local assemblies in each of Iraq 's eighteen provinces, and a regional assembly in Kurdistan . In October, the Iraqi people voted to ratify a new national constitution. In December, Iraqis of all sects and ethnic groups voted for representatives in a new National Assembly. Today, Iraq is governed by the first freely elected permanent government in the nation's history.
Iraq is currently the only constitutional democracy in the Arab world. It is my belief that a lasting democracy in Iraq will aid in stabilizing the region and show the world, especially Arab nations, that America did not wage war for its own gain, but for the purpose of eliminating the menace of Saddam Hussein.

On the issue of troop withdrawal, it is my opinion that setting a definitive timeline would be a mistake. I believe a withdrawal must be done in consultation with military commanders, and after a thorough assessment of the strength of both the new Iraqi army and the insurgency. However, I believe 2006 should be a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for securing the country. I do not believe U.S. forces should remain in Iraq any longer than necessary. As ever increasing numbers of Iraqi security forces are trained and able to conduct operations on their own, U.S. forces should gradually redeploy.
Thank you again for contacting me. The concerns of my constituents are of great importance to me, and I rely on you and other Pennsylvanians to inform me of your views. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or visit my website at .
Arlen Specter

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