Which is why I appreciate the Senator from Illinois -– the one who is not running for President. Like EPIC, Sen. Dick Durbin questioned the Bush administration’s rush to invade Iraq. In 2002, he voted against the Bush-Gephardt war authorization bill (which EPIC lobbied hard against). Durbin has also worked hard to end the use of torture and Honor the Legacy of America’s commitment to human rights and the Geneva Conventions.
Today, responsible Senators such as Durbin recognize that it takes a lot more to end a war than political speeches and rallies. The same cannot be said for former Sen. John Edwards, who is no longer constrained by the national demands of having to actually get things done in the U.S. Senate. He’s now a Presidential candidate who has been helping “fuel antiwar expectations for congressional action.”
Here is John Edwards' advice for his former Senate colleagues:
"The one way to support our troops and bring them home is for Congress to exercise its constitutionally mandated funding power, force an immediate drawdown of 40,000 to 50,000 troops and require withdrawal of all troops within about a year."Edward's statement falls far from the mark. Americans I talk with are losing as much patience with the war as they are with partisan bickering and absolutist demands. They want bipartisan cooperation that forces Bush toward meaningful change; change that can help reduce conflict and suffering right now –- NOT TWO YEARS LATER! So with that in mind, you’ll understand why I like Senator Durbin’s rebuke to John Edwards. Here’s an account from this morning’s Washington Post:
"I recall when John voted for this war. So it's understandable that he feels badly about that decision and wants to see something done to undo the harm that has happened," Durbin said during an appearance on washingtonpost.com's Post Talk. "But it has to be done in a sensible way."Fortunately there are some men and women in the U.S. Senate who are NOT running for President: Senators Durbin (D-IL), Lugar (R-IN), Reed (D-RI) and Collins (R-ME), among others. Based on some of their recent remarks, they all appear to recognize the imperative task before them: forge a new bipartisan agreement on Iraq that the White House ‘can’t refuse.’
In my humble opinion, the gold standard was already set by the Iraq Study Group (ISG) whose recommendations are looking better and better to Senators on both sides of the aisle. This morning on NPR, ISG co-chairman Lee Hamilton told Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne that the ISG’s core recommendations remain relevant, both as a bipartisan way forward in the Senate and a viable policy option for ending the war in Iraq.
Regarding the ISG’s recommendations, the former Democratic congressman from Indiana, who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says: “…so far as I know, it's the only bipartisan proposal out there. And I think it still does have a reasonable chance of bringing about a unity of effort which is required for the success of our policy in Iraq.”
Fellow Hoosier Richard Lugar seems to agree. He’s the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and seems to be the most respected Republican voices on foreign policy. More than any other Senator, his support is critical for any measure to be politically viable and (in my view) responsible. For the smartest interview on Iraq with a sitting Senator that you'll hear for months, listen to Sen. Lugar’s July 5th interview on Charlie Rose.