Monday, December 12, 2005

E-mail from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry re: an E-mail I sent about the Iraq War through a Political Organization Website

December 12,
2005

Mr. Lex
********
*****, Massachusetts *****


Dear Mr. Lex:


Thank you for contacting me to share
your views regarding Iraq. I appreciate
hearing your input on this extremely
important subject.


First and foremost, I would like to
commend our men and women in uniform.
American troops have done a remarkable job in
Iraq, and all of America should be proud of
their selfless service to our country.


It is important for us to succeed in
Iraq but it requires a leadership that the
Administration has not provided. The next
six months are a make or break period for the
Iraqis. Following upon successful elections
in December negotiations will begin for
amendments to the recently approved
constitution. It is imperative that the
process result in a sustainable political
solution that is supported by all the major
groups in Iraq including the Sunni minority.
As we enter this period we must now talk
honestly about the steps we must take to
promote that solution and bring our troops
home within a reasonable timeframe from an
Iraq that's not permanently torn by conflict.


We cannot pull out precipitously or
merely promise to stay "as long as it takes."
To undermine the insurgency in Iraq, we must
instead simultaneously pursue a political
settlement that gives Sunnis a real stake in
the future in Iraq and reduce the sense of
American occupation by beginning a phased
redeployment of combat forces, linked to
specific political and military benchmarks.
At the first benchmark, the completion of the
December elections, we can start the process
of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000
troops over the course of the holidays.


We must make it clear now that we do not
want permanent military bases in Iraq, or a
large combat force on Iraqi soil
indefinitely. The administration must
immediately give Congress and the American
people a detailed plan for the transfer of
military and police responsibilities on a
sector by sector basis to Iraqis so the
majority of our combat forces can be
withdrawn - ideally by the end of next year.


Immediately after the elections, the
President should call a conference of Iraq's
neighbors, Britain, Turkey and other key NATO
allies, and Russia. Together, we must
implement a collective strategy to achieve
the much needed political solution among
Iraqis including mutual security guarantees.
To enlist the support of Iraq's Sunni
neighbors, we should commit to a new regional
security structure that will include improved
security assistance programs and joint
exercises.

There also needs to be a renewed focus
on the lagging reconstruction of Iraq by
providing the necessary civilian personnel to
do the job, setting up civil-military
reconstruction teams throughout the country,
streamlining the disbursement of funds to the
providences, expanding job creation programs,
and strengthening the capacity of government
ministries.

If President Bush follows these steps we
can have a plan for success that will better
able Iraq to stand on its own and allow our
troops to come home. The Administration owes
it to our troops and the Iraqi people to
choose the responsible path.

You may be certain of my commitment to
support our troops and I will continue to
press for an effective strategy in Iraq.
Thank you for taking the time to share your
views with me on this important issue.

Sincerely,


John F. Kerry
United States Senator

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