Five Years Later

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dear friend,

 

Five years ago today, President George W. Bush launched a war that should never have been authorized based on faulty premises and bad intelligence.

This war has now lasted longer than World War I, World War II, or the Civil War.

Nearly four thousand Americans have given their lives. Thousands more have been wounded. Even under the best-case scenarios, this war will cost American taxpayers well over a trillion dollars.

And where are we for all of this sacrifice?

We are less safe and less able to shape events abroad. We are divided at home, and our alliances around the world have been strained. The threats of a new century have roiled the waters of peace and stability, and yet America remains anchored in Iraq.

I am running for President because it’s time to turn the page on a failed ideology and a fundamentally flawed political strategy, so that we can make pragmatic judgments to keep our country safe.

That’s what I did when I stood up and opposed this war from the start and said that we needed to finish the fight against al Qaeda. And that’s what I’ll do as President of the United States.

Please take a few minutes to read my strategy for ending the war in Iraq and making America safer. I hope you will sign on and show your support:

http://my.barackobama.com/fiveyearslater

Senator Clinton says that she and Senator McCain have passed a “Commander-in-Chief test” — not because of the judgments they’ve made, but because of the years they’ve spent in Washington.

She made a similar argument when she said her vote for war was based on her experience at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

But here is the stark reality: there is a security gap in this country — a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions.

It is time to have a debate with Senator McCain about the future of our national security. And the way to win that debate and keep America safe is to offer a clear contrast — a clean break from the failed policies and politics of the past.

Nowhere is that break more badly needed than in Iraq.

Join me in supporting an end to this war and a plan for a safer America:

http://my.barackobama.com/fiveyearslater

The judgment that matters most on Iraq — and on any decision to deploy military force — is the judgment made first.

If you believe we are fighting the right war, then the problems we face are purely tactical in nature. That is what Senator McCain wants to discuss — tactics. What he and the Administration have failed to present is an overarching strategy: how the war in Iraq enhances our long-term security, or will in the future.

That’s why this Administration cannot answer the simple question posed by Senator John Warner in hearings last year: Are we safer because of this war? And that is why Senator McCain can argue — as he did last year — that we couldn’t leave Iraq because violence was up, and then argue this year that we can’t leave Iraq because violence is down.

When you have no overarching strategy, there is no clear definition of success.

Success comes to be defined as the ability to maintain a flawed policy indefinitely. Here is the truth: fighting a war without end will not force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. And fighting in a war without end will not make the American people safer.

When I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on Day One: I will end this war. Not because politics compels it. Not because our troops cannot bear the burden — as heavy as it is. But because it is the right thing to do for our national security, and it will ultimately make us safer.

Show your support for a clear strategy to end the war in Iraq and focus our national security efforts on making America safer:

http://my.barackobama.com/fiveyearslater

Here are the core elements of my strategy to address our critical national security challenges in the 21st century:

End the war in Iraq, removing our troops at a pace of 1 to 2 combat brigades per month;

Finally finish the fight against the Taliban, root out al Qaeda and invest in the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, while making aid to the Pakistani government conditional;

Act aggressively to stop nuclear proliferation and to secure all loose nuclear materials around the world;

Double our foreign assistance to cut extreme poverty in half;

Invest in a clean energy future to wean the U.S. off of foreign oil and to lead the world against the threat of global climate change;

Rebuild our military capability by increasing the number of soldiers, marines, and special forces troops, and insist on adequate training and time off between deployments;

Renew American diplomacy by talking to our adversaries as well as our friends; increasing the size of the Foreign Service and the Peace Corps; and creating an America’s Voice Corps.

Please take a minute to show your support for this plan:

http://my.barackobama.com/fiveyearslater

We are at a defining moment in our history.

This must be the election when America comes together behind a common purpose on behalf of our security and our values.

That is what we do as Americans. It’s how we founded a republic based on freedom, and faced down fascism. It’s how we defended democracy through a Cold War, and shined a light of hope bright enough to be seen in the darkest corners of the world.

When America leads with principle and pragmatism, hope can triumph over fear. It is time, once again, for America to lead.

Thank you,

Barack Obama

(news letter con link)

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