Saturday, January 20, 2007

Peace Activists Looking Seriously at John Edwards

"I think some of us (peace activists) are taking a good, hard, long look at him. I'm not at the point of making a decision (on who to support for president), but I certainly like some of the things he's saying about Iraq."

- Eloise Cranke, peace activist from Des Moines, Iowa

An article at Radio Iowa today explains that peace activists are beginning to see John Edwards as a presidential candidate they would consider for 2008.

In the article, there are statements by Elazabeth Edwards, wide of the former Senator, that drive home the amazing power that a simple, heartfelt apology can hold. The statement is regarding John Edwards' Washington Post op-ed, The Right Way in Iraq, written over a year go.
Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, says she's watched her husband struggle with the issue and the turning point came in 2005 when Edwards authored an opinion piece. "He wrote a version and then of course, the staff goes at it and they took out the 'I was wrong' and he said 'No, I've got to start with "I was wrong."' Maybe it's lots of good years as a husband where you teach them that they have to say that," Mrs. Edwards says. "Whatever it is, he knew he had to say he was wrong."

She says her husband argues that "holding on to the lie" makes it impossible to find the right solution.
There are lies in our own lives we sometimes have held onto for too long. It's only in admitting that they were lies that we can begin letting them go.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sen. Clinton: Bush's Authority Limits Congress' Ability to Block Escalation

Just back from her visit to Iraq, the New York Times is reporting that Senator Hillary Clinton is calling for capping the number of American forces in Iraq to the total number that were there on January 1 — before President Bush proposed adding forces and escalating the violence. [roughly a 140,000-troop cap] She has also said she's leaning toward threating the Iraqi government's leaders with the loss of American funds to train and equip Iraqi forces, the loss of funds to rebuild the economy, and perhaps even a loss of funds to provide security for the leaders themselves. Although the Senator hasn't talked about timelines or benchmarks just yet,
she indicated that the Shiite-led government would be expected to crack down on sectarian militias in Baghdad and elsewhere and to find new ways to work with Sunni political groups. [NYT 1-17-07]
Senator Clinton said this on today's CBS "Early Show" -
"I’m for redeploying our troops out of Baghdad and eventually out of Iraq so we can make sure that they’re not in the midst of a civil war."
More from the NY Times article:
She insisted that sectarian violence would continue in Iraq regardless of whether there were more or fewer troops, because the Iraqi government was not committed to the mission.

“They’re waiting us out,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “They intend to do everything they can to impose a particular brand of dominance over the Sunnis, and there’s no reason for the Sunni insurgency therefore to stop.”

Senator Clinton also said on NBC that Congress had limited ability to block the president’s troop plan outright.

“The president has enormous authority under our constitutional system to do exactly what he’s doing,” Mrs. Clinton said. “He already has the money appropriated in the budget.”

She said she was troubled that the Bush administration seemed willing to shift troops from Afghanistan to take part in a “losing strategy” in Iraq; a moment later, she expressed concern about sending more troops “to Iraq on this very bad mission.”

From the CBS report:
"Unless there is a total partnership with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Army, this can't work," [Senator] Clinton said. "And I didn't see the signs of that partnership."

Instead of adding more U.S. troops in Iraq, [Senator] Clinton said she wanted troops to be redeployed from Baghdad to Afghanistan.


Just How Enormous Is Bush's Authority, Anyhow?

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has drawn a check and balance-line in the Constituational sand proclaiming,
"This is not a monarchy."
Bush is not a King and he's not a dictator (even though he's "joked" that he'd like to be one). He can pose and growl with as much power as he can summon up, but it won't take away the fact that there are solid-as-rock Constitutional checks and balances and solid efforts Congress can make to see that he is reined in on this escalation of violence in Iraq.

At The BradBlog, Brad displays a copy of an Edwards campaign e-mail where campaign manager and former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI) holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. Mr. Bonoir says in the Edwards campaign e-mail:
This weekend, President Bush claimed on national TV that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.

That's bull. I served in Congress for 26 years, and I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation -- and it has used that power many times before, including in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Colombia.

In essence, Bonoir is saying that Bush's authority is not so enormous that Congress is incapable of - or powerless to - stop the president from escalating the war in Iraq.

See the post by Mathew Gross referring to the same Edwards campaign e-mail. The title of the post is Total Bull. Total bull refers to those elected represebtatives who calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation. The experirnced former Congressman Boinoir warns:
If you hear a member of Congress say "non-binding resolution," then you're really hearing them say "pass the buck."

Quiz: How Long Ago Did I Say This?

Here's a quick quiz for my readers.

How long ago did I say this about Bush and Iraq?
"Bush hopes to hand over power by June, yet I can't see (in light of all the mistakes we've already made over there) how we won't be getting bogged down in a major ethnic power struggle."

The answer is in the comments section below.

Bush: The Loneliest Lone Ranger

Three and a half years ago, Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh called Bush a "Lone Ranger" on Iraq.

Today, he's the loneliest lone ranger.

Not only has he left the international community behind, he's left the American people and their representatives behind.

Here he is with his little buddy John McCain who's saying, "Heckuva job, Keem-o-sabe Bush!"


Here is he playin' sheriff all by hisself.

Zogby Poll: Edwards Leads Dem Pack in Iowa

According to the latest Zogby Poll, John Edwards is still way out ahead in Iowa.

Bring The Troops Home Legislation Unveiled

Jonathan Tasini is reporting some breaking news at Daily Kos about brand new Bring The Troops Home legislation coming from the House.
At 2 p.m. Eastern today, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee (co-chairs of Progressive caucus, which has roughly 64 members) and Maxine Waters (chair of Out of Iraq Caucus, roughly 74 members) are introducing comprehensive End the War legislation, answering Bush's challenge that Democrats provide alternative proposals (the announcement will come in the House Radio/TV Gallery). It's called The Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act.
It's important to note the caucuses that are supporting the legislation. The sheer number of those caucus members who are already backing the legislation is impressive.

UPDATE: Congresswoman Lynne Woolsey's diary is now up at Daily Kos:
This bill's for you: "The Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act of 2007"

The Congress has already appropriated funding that will support our troops and keep this occupation going for at least another six months. That funding instead should be used to finance an aggressive withdrawal plan that brings our troops home to their families. Our bill would do exactly that.

Our plan will also...

1 Withdraw all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq within six months from date of enactment.

2 Prohibit any further funding to deploy, or continue to deploy U.S. troops in Iraq. The bill does, however, allow for funding to be used, as needed, to ensure a safe withdrawal of all US military personnel and contractors, diplomatic consultations. Funding may also be used for the increased training and equipping of Iraqi and international security forces.

3 Accelerate, during the six month transition, training of a permanent Iraqi security force.

4 Authorize, if requested by the Iraqi government, U.S. support for an international stabilization force. Such a force would be funded for no longer than two years, and be combined with economic and humanitarian assistance.

5 Guarantee full health care funding, including mental health, for U.S. veterans of military operations in Iraq and other conflicts.

In addition the bill would:

6 Rescind the Congressional Authorization for the War in Iraq.

7 Prohibit the construction of permanent US military bases in the country.

8 Finally, we believe that Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqis. Once the oil is in the international market, the U.S. will certainly have access to our share. That’s why our bill ensures that the U.S. has no long-term control over Iraqi oil.

Our plan, with the exception of Veterans’ benefits, will cost the American people pennies on the dollar as compared to continuing the occupation for two more years. It will save lives, bodies, and minds, and it will give Iraq back to the Iraqis. It is an important step in regaining our credibility in the region and throughout the world, and provides the President, and this Congress, with a comprehensive way to respond to the majority of Americans who want our troops to come home.

I will update this diary thoughout the day when we have a bill number, as well as when we are able to get the text of the bill online. You have remained at the forefront of opposing this war from the beginning, and you have held those in Washington accountable. Thank you for all that you have done, and thank you for helping me to get this bill approved.

In solidarity,


We Shall Overcome

"The Drive" - A Film About New Orleans After Katrina

The filmmakers of NOVAC have, for decades, created their art in support of the democratization of video storytelling in New Orleans. They are now part of a group on MySpace called the New Orlean Filmmakers. The group was established on January 14, 2006 as an online meetup group. It eventually has grown to much more and as of August 2006, the New Orleans Filmmakers have reached 133 filmmakers in and around the New Orleans area, including members of the Director's Guild of America and the American Society of Cinematographers.

The following short film is from YouTube. It's titled "The Drive" and it shows scenes of devastation just four months after Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flooding ravaged the city. The filmmakers say that the painful irony of post-Katrina New Orleans is how few people throughout the country understand the extent of what has happened to the city. Many people do not realize that, just over a year later, things are not back to normal in New Orleans. As America's attention fades from Hurricane Katrina's impact, a disabled New Orleans continues to struggle for survival.

Directors: Tim Ryan & Matt Wisdom
Narration: Heather Ryan:
Original Score: Gil Talmi -

From NOVAC's website:

Why should New Orleans be rebuilt? NOVAC hopes to answer this question through a series of community-based short documentaries. Local filmmakers are directing the shorts that highlight the unique culture, people, and spirit that make New Orleans a city worth rebuilding.

While parts of New Orleans are alive and kicking, a short drive outside of the French Quarter or Uptown reveals neighborhoods severly damaged by the flooding. NOVAC is also producing a one-hour documentary called The Drive. It is a driving tour through four of the most devastated neighborhoods in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The first segment of The Drive on the Lower 9th Ward and is now available on DVD at cost ($4.75 + shipping) through Custom Flix. The DVD also includes the entire series of short documentaries.

To view the other short documentaries, visit YouTube. Please vote and email the YouTube video links to friends and family.

If you are interested in supporting this project with a tax-deductible donation or your time, please contact Tim Ryan.

Lance Armstrong: "Thank God I Got Sick"

"This disease came along and really gave me perspective on life. I viewed my days a lot differently than I do now. I have to live every day to its fullest. Thank God I got sick."

Lance Armstrong, January 16, 2007

(From article Armstrong tells Iowans to push cancer research by Bonnie Harris, Des Moines Register Staff Writer

Juan Cole Becoming Hill Staffers' New Best Friend

Ask yourselves how, after so many Iraqi purple fingers wagged proudly, we can expect we won't get "the middle finger" (stained or unstained) for arresting the very people they elected! Talk about mayhem and confusion. From Informed Comment [Juan Cole]: reports that a joint American-Iraqi (apparently American-led--see the picture) force invaded the offices of the elected provincial council of Wasit in the Shiite South and arrested two elected members of the council. They took away Qasim al-A'raji and Fadil Jasim Abu al-Tayyib without making any announcement of the charges. [..] This is sort of as though in the US, federal troops attacked the South Carolina State House and arrested the elected secretary of state and treasurer. [..] You can't celebrate elections and purple fingers and self-determination, and then have foreign troops involved in arresting elected officials. It looks colonial...
So much for U.S. troop support for the McCain Doctrine/Bush Escalation. Professor Cole says:
One thousand active-duty soldiers and Marines have come out to call for a quick US withdrawal from Iraq. Take that, Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute!
Ah! It seems that Hill staffers will be able to more breezily coordinate with Professor Cole now that most Americans (and a growing number of active duty troops) are in agreement against perpetuating this failed foreign policy.
Senators will introduce a bipartisan resolution in the senate condemning Bush's escalation of the Iraq War with an extra 21,500 troops. [..] I remember doing a briefing on the Hill in June of 2004 on Iraq, to a distinctly less than full room of staffers and I think no congressional representatives. Some of the staffers came up and gave me their cards and sheepishly admitted that it was very hard to get their bosses interested in taking a stand on Iraq.

First 2008 Debate April 4-5 in NH

In case you missed this, the first Democratic debate for the 2008 POTUS race will take place early in 2007. Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune:
With a little help from the Manchester (N.H.) Union-Leader, Manchester television station WMUR and the national 24/7 cable news network, CNN, the two major parties' candidates for president in 2008 will get their first chance to debate one another in April 2007. This could bump more than a few people off the fence, as they consider entering a field that already has drawn several candidates.

Mark the dates: April 4 and April 5, back-to-back party debates.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

John Edwards On Iraq and Barack Obama

"..when I had the chance to vote years ago on the funding of the war in Iraq, $87 billion at the time -- and I thought the president was headed on the wrong course. It turns out, unfortunately for our country, that I was right -- I voted no."

Senator John Edwards

2008 presidential candidate John Edwards was interviewed on CNN's Situation Room by Wolf Blitzer today.

On the entry of Senator Barack Obama into the 2008 presidential race:

"I think we want good people in the race, because we desperately need new leadership in 2009."

Regarding Senator Edwards' comments about the Iraq war during his speech at Riverside Church in Harlem last Sunday, Wolf Blitzer asks Senator Edwards:
"Did you see that as a direct attack against [Senator Hillary Clinton]?

"I wasn't thinking about anybody in particular. It was directed at members of Congress who, I believe, as a matter of conscience, should stop this president from escalating this war and from continuing in a long series of really tragic mistakes that -- that he's made in Iraq. And, as I said in the clip you just ran, Congress has the power to stop this escalation. [...]

[...]I didn't speak about anybody by name. I talked about members of Congress. By the way, I also spoke to the American people, who need to step up and be heard on this escalation of the war.

And I was specifically referencing Dr. Martin Luther King's speech 40 years ago, a year to the day before he died, in Riverside -- at Riverside Church, where he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, and talked about silence being a betrayal. And that was the theme of what I was talking about.

I believe I was right. I stand behind it. We should not be escalating this war. And I hope that members of -- of Congress will have the good conscience and the good sense to show some strength about this, and stand up to the president, and stop him."

* Thanks to NC Dem for the YouTube video.

Shams of Tabriz Tomb Hoped to Be World Cultural Heritage Site

The Tomb of Shams of Tabriz in Khoy, Iran, which will be renovated to become a widely-visited tourist destination. The border city of Khoy with a population of 356,000 is located 130 km to the north of Orumiyeh, the capital of West Azarbaijan province.

The Sufis believe that Shams of Tabriz was elevated to a symbol of God's love for mankind.
Shams of Tabriz (Persian, Shams-e-Tabrizi) who is estimated to have died at 1248 AD was an Iranian Sufi mystic born in the city of Tabriz in Iran. He is responsible for initiating Mawlana Jala ad-din Mohammad Rumi, usually known as Rumi in the West, into Islamic mysticism, and is immortalized by Rumi's poetry collection)"The Works of Shams of Tabriz" (Persian, Divane Shamse Tabrizi). Shams lived together with Rumi in Konya, in present-day Turkey, for several years, and is also known to have travelled to Damascus in present-day Syria.
Last August, Chairman of Khoy Islamic City Council proposed that the tomb of Shams of Tabriz be turned into an international tourism and cultural complex. [Iran Daily]

Iran's non state-run "Rumi Home" association director, Mehdi Meigani has recently informed that the association was determined to register Shams' Shrine in Khoy as one of world cultural heritage sites in the UNESCO. [LINK]

After 4 Yrs:Blair Still Trying to Explain Iraq War to World?

Whew. You know you have a war that has no measurable effect, no end game, and no chance for success when, four years into the war, one of the top world leaders who still supports the war has to explain to the public and to the international community that his guys aren't the "killers."
Mr Blair made mention of this fact when he was asked about Iraq's soaring death toll at his monthly press briefing in Downing Street on Tuesday:

"But of course it is tragic when there's innocent people losing their lives in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of them lost their lives, innocent people, under Saddam.

"Now thousands of them are losing their lives, but they're losing their lives because terrorists and because internal extremists, linking up with external extremists, are killing them," he said.

"It's not British and American soldiers that are killing innocent people, we're trying to protect innocent people."

[BBC News]
Really? He still has to convince others of that? Who's convinced that this war is working out well? Who's convinced that an escalation of violence is the panacea?

Without Law Enforcement, Iraq is Lost Cause

From the New York Times breaking news:
Unveiling its latest human rights report on Tuesday, the United Nations chided the government for allowing killers, some of them inside the security forces, to go unpunished.

"Without significant progress on the rule of law, sectarian violence will continue indefinitely and eventually spiral out of control," the U.N. human rights chief in Baghdad, Gianni Magazzeni, told a news conference.
Today we learn that 60 people, mostly bright young women, have been slaughtered by a suicide bomber at a Baghdad university in retaliation for the SaddamCo hangings. Another 110 students were seriously wounded.
Who will ever obtain justice for ending those beautiful women's lives?
How will they obtain justice? More killing by U.S. troops in more civil war?
What's that solving?
Who is being convinced? Surely not U.S. citizens. Surely not Iraqi citizens. Surely not the international community.

Over 34,000 Iraqi citizens were killed by violence in 2006 alone. That's over 10 times the number of those killed in New York City on 9/11, and the government of Iraq never had one thing to do with 9/11.

What a disaster.

A "crackdown" in Baghdad with only 21,000 more U.S. troops, embroiling America more deeply in Iraq's ever-growing sectarian fight and making moving targets of our servicemen and women, will clearly not allow the Iraqi government the ability to show Iraqis that the rule of law means a damn.

President Bush is going to have to stop these half-measures and either commit our nation fully in this Civil War of Iraq 2007, or he's going to have to tell the Iraqi government to make immediate compromises and reconciliation so the rule of law - whatever laws and oil-revenue-deals they sit down and compromise on - can begin to be implemented....and we begin to redeploy U.S. troops.

Where there is no recognition of law, there is only lawlessness.

It's high time for Bush to sh*t or get off the pot.

We started this war the wrong way, we mismanaged the war, and now the war has a completely different face. It is not the action for which our Senators gave their good faith consent and authority in 2002. That authority needs to be rescinded.

This is not "cut and run."

This is "get real and deal."

We need to redeploy the right way.

We need to start doing it now, and we know our President isn't listening to reason.

What do we do?

2008: Obama to Make Declaration Feb 10

According to the NY Times, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois will make a formal declaration Feb. 10 in Illinois about his decision to run for President 2008.

Although there are downsides to Obama's potential for success that cannot be dismissed, SF Gate political blogger Mark Sandalow believes that Senator Obama has a strong shot at winning in 2008:
It would be irresponsible to dismiss the chances of Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, along with a cavalry of dark horses who make the 2008 election among the most interesting in memory. Yet Obama is clearly in the top tier for his party's nomination, and given the standing of the GOP and the situation in Iraq, the Democratic nominee selected in Denver in August 2008 has a strong shot at winning the White House.
NRO's Jim Geraghty blogs about the report that Senator Obama will announce important news on Oprah January 17th, and Jim repeats the words he heard from a GOP consultant:
"Announcing on Oprah could be potentially very smart... I'm glad she's also from Illinois, because that means she can’t be his running mate... Christopher Dodd goes on Imus and announces his candidacy, Obama goes on Oprah. I know which show I'd rather have my candidate make his announcement."
I can't argue with them there. Oprah's show is certainly a sensational venue for this type of announcement.

In news I find to be rather sad and definitely divisive, the right wing Christian group known as the National Clergy Council, along with the help of another right wing organization called Faith and Action, [a Washington, DC-based Christian outreach to policy-makers on Capitol Hill who always hopes that the GOP will co-opt their narrowest views on religion - anti-gay, anti-choice] is raising what I consider to be a defamatory stink about Senator Obama.

Advocacy Group Truns to Freelance Diplomacy on Darfur

Amazing. Nicholas Kristof writes today at the NY Times about the way - in the absence of moral leadership from top government leaders, a private advocacy group, the Save Darfur Coalition, has undertaken a freelance diplomat, Bill Richardson:
President Bush and other world leaders have dropped the ball on Darfur. But that vacuum of moral leadership has been filled by university students, churches and temples, celebrities like George Clooney and Mia Farrow, and armies of schoolchildren. [..]

[..] But if George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Hu Jintao twiddle their thumbs, then more power to the freelancers.

Mr. Richardson worked out a joint statement in which Sudan agreed to a 60-day cease-fire to allow peace talks to resume, provided the Darfur rebels go along as well. Mr. Bashir also agreed that Sudan would prosecute rapes and stop painting its military aircraft to look as if they belong to the U.N.
The power of people to lead the way in the disturbing absence of the moral voice of government leadership is well expressed by Mr. Kristof:
Ken Bacon, who heads Refugees International and accompanied Mr. Richardson, said of President Bashir: “One thing that was very clear was that the Save Darfur movement has gotten under his skin. The vilification of the Khartoum regime in columns and editorials and ads is making a difference.”

So cherish this historical moment. The long record of genocide is one overwhelmingly of acquiescence, but this time ordinary citizens are trying to write a different ending.

Monday, January 15, 2007

UK Official: We Can't Beat Terror by Military Action Alone

The following is a quote from one of Gordon Brown's closest allies. [see: The Independent]. Gordon Brown is Great Britain's most likely successor to PM Tony Blair. His close ally, Ed Balls, is the economic secretary to the Treasury. It is said that his comments are seen as a foretaste of Gordon Brown's "approach to the Middle East after he becomes Prime Minister and as a side-swipe at Tony Blair's proximity to the President George Bush since September 11." Ed Balls told the BBC's The World This Weekend:
"... you can't fight against Islamic extremism simply by security. We have got to win the battle of hearts and minds and persuade people in communities in Britain and around the world that values of fairness, stability and opportunity and turning away from extremism is the way to go."
The likely future British PM seems to be positioning himself wisely toward the U.S. Democrats' position and against escalation of violence, or what's been coined as The McCain Doctrine on Iraq. Brown's shift toward U.S. Democrats is a wise move after Tony Blair's closeness to George W. Bush on Iraq had cost Blair dearly, from a political standpoint. U.S. Democrats are resisting the McCain Doctrine and insisting that, unless a political resolution and reconciliation is reached in Iraq, there will never be a military solution that would bring about any situation that even resembled a victory in that nation.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Edwards To Honor MLK At Riverside Church

2008 presidential candidate John Edwards offers a YouTube preview of his address to members of the Riverside Church in Harlem in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. today.

The Speech [excerpts]

Transcript here

From the One America Committee blog:
Nearly 40 years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced his opposition to the war in Vietnam from the same pulpit. King urged Americans to speak out against the war, declaring that "Silence is betrayal."

Watch the video to hear Senator Edwards discuss his address, in which he will call on members of the House and Senate to take a stand and block funding of Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq.

You can speak up with Senator Edwards and honor the memory of Martin Luther King by signing the petition to block funding for escalation and by calling your Senators directly. Click here to find your Senators' phone number.
From the Riverside Church blog:
As we enter 2007, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday is a chance to once again reflect on what has and has not been achieved. What would Dr. King say if he knew that the number of Americans living in poverty equals the population of twenty-five states? What would he say if he knew that it is now easier for a poor child in Britain or France to advance socially than a poor child in America? What would he say to rising education and healthcare costs, while the real wages of many working Americans stagnate or decline?

"Realizing the Dream"
Senator John Edwards
Riverside Church, Harlem, January 14, 2007

Forty years ago, almost to the month, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at this pulpit, in this house of God, and with the full force of his conscience, his principles and his love of peace, denounced the war in Vietnam, calling it a tragedy that threatened to drag our nation down to dust.

As he put it then, there comes a time when silence is a betrayal -- not only of one’s personal convictions, or even of one’s country alone, but also of our deeper obligations to one another and to the brotherhood of man.

That’s the thing I find the most important about the sermon Dr. King delivered here that day. He did not direct his demands to the government of the United States, which was escalating the war. He issued a direct appeal to the people of the United States, calling on us to break our own silence, and to take responsibility for bringing about what he called a revolution of values.

A revolution whose starting point is personal responsibility, of course, but whose animating force is the belief that we cannot stand idly by and wait for others to right the wrongs of the world.

And this, in my view, is at the heart of what we should remember and celebrate on this day. This is the dream we must commit ourselves to realizing.

* * *

Escalation is not the answer, and our generals will be the first to tell you so. The answer is for the Iraqi people and others in the region to take responsibility for rebuilding their own country. If we want them to take responsibility, we need to show them that we are serious about leaving – and the best way to do that is actually to start leaving and immediately withdraw 40-50,000 troops.

That is why I have spoken out against the McCain Doctrine of escalation. That's why Congress must step up and stop the president from putting more troops in harm's way.

If you’re in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel.

Silence is betrayal. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war – use it.

And to all of you here today – and the millions like us around the country who know this escalation is wrong – your job is to reject the easy way of apathy and choose instead the hard course of action.

Silence is betrayal. Speak out. Tell your elected leaders to block this misguided plan that is destined to cost more lives and further damage America’s ability to lead. And tell them also, that the reward of trust.

The late Senator Paul Wellstone's 1999 tribute to Rev. Dr. King can be read here.