Dear Vanessa,

 

It is nice to see children supportive of their parents.  Senator Kerry is a lucky man to have such support from his family.  I do not agree, however, with his position on Iraq.  I do not believe that setting a deadline for withdrawing all of our troops is prudent.  I fear the chaos that would ensue following a precipitous withdrawal.  The potential for escalation in the violence we are currently witnessing is real, as is the potential for the conflict to spread to the broader region.  Stability in the region is important both to our country as well as the world community.  No one seems to want to say it, but ensuring the flow of oil to fuel the world's economy at a reasonable price is an important, many in the past - to include former presidents - have said vital, national interest. Fulfilling our pledge of support to the Iraqi people is certainly an important national interest, as is our credibility on the world stage with the community of nations.  Whether Iraq, when we invaded, was a critical piece in the war on terror is questionable.  Whether it is now is not - if we can believe the statements made by Al Qaida leadership.  WMD proliferation in this unstable region is also a major concern, especially given statements by regional national leaders of their potential reactions should such proliferation occur in certain states, not to mention the impact that such events would have on our freedom of action in this important region.  Lastly, morally I just can't see the U.S. sitting back and watching another "killing fields" type episode were we to leave before the Iraqi government can maintain security and stability in their own country, and the situation on leaving and then returning would be much more difficult.     

 

   The debates in Congress over the war appear disingenuous to me.  If Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, were serious about changing course, it would seem logical for them to address the Congressional authorizations which they enacted to start both the GWOT as well as the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In fact, there is a bill which has been introduced to do just that, yet it is getting little press and I fear little support as well.  My guess is that is because it would require Congress to do more than political jabbing for election points.  It would require them to define and agree on the national interest reasons that we are there in support of, which both sides undoubtedly are aware of, and to be part of the solution for defining the path ahead, including the military, diplomatic, economic and informational lines of action and how they need to support each other to attain the desired end state.  

 

The debate on "permanent bases" in Iraq also appears disingenuous as it seems incredulous that with all the staff support Congressmen and Congresswoman have as well as the information available to them for the asking, they are not aware of the Integrated Global Posture and Basing Study which calls for forward operating sites and cooperative security locations to replace our fixed overseas presence.  These are not "permanent" bases in the sense that they are being portrayed.  Rather they are in place infrastructure supported by legal structures and agreements which are being established to support potentially necessary future military deployments in support of our national interests around the globe and, as I noted, the Middle East region is an area which remains important to our national interests for multiple reasons.  

 

I appreciate your dedication to your father.  I must disagree, however, with your positions.                      

-----Original Message-----
From: Vanessa Kerry [mailto:info@johnkerry.com]
Sent:
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 11:55 PM
To: Harold
Subject: some stories about my dad

 

Dear Harold,

I campaigned for my dad back in 2004 on a lot of campuses, and of course, one of the main subjects that many young people talked to me about was Iraq. People in college have had and continue to have friends in Iraq, or know someone who joined the Reserves to pay for college and ended up in Baghdad; I have friends who have served this way also. Knowing this, I've always been especially proud of what my dad did last year, when he stepped out ahead of his party and started demanding we set a deadline to get the troops out of Iraq.

Now his position has become the unified Democratic position, and I have noticed that a lot of reporters in the last week or so are realizing that fact: John Kerry's position is now the Democratic position. And I just wanted to share a few of those articles with you.

Over the weekend, the AP wrote an article about how nervous Republicans are getting over Iraq, and included this part about my dad, John Kerry, and his efforts last year to set a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq:

Democratic strategists fretted about the impact on senators seeking re-election and challengers to Republicans in swing states.

The plan drew the support of 13 Democrats.

"Now it's the unified Democratic position," Kerry correctly e-mailed his supporters last week.

"In May, Republicans were dismissing even tough questions about the escalation. Now, they're falling all over themselves to distance themselves from the president"

And the Boston Globe remarked: "Another of his bold moves -- leading the filibuster against confirming Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito -- now looks very smart to liberals, after Alito provided crucial votes to eviscerate liberal positions on school desegregation, late-term abortion, and campaign finance restrictions."

And the Chicago Tribune does a good job of putting this political fight in the context of my dad's life:

Few living American politicians have had their lives so defined by war as Kerry. His wartime service and wartime protest stoked his political career in Massachusetts. His military background burnished his credentials among Democrats seeking a nominee to run against an incumbent president during wartime in 2004. And now, in a quieter time, his hair gray and reading glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, he finds himself again opposing his government's conflict.

"It's very dismaying to me at this stage of my life and career and being in the Senate, seeing us repeat those mistakes," said Kerry (D-Mass.). "It's very disturbing. We are owed something better than that."

This fight is far from over, of course, but people like us, who believe that we have to get a new course in Iraq, need to keep up the pressure. It will make a difference as we are beginning to see. My dad will write soon with more everyone can do to help; but I wanted to share those articles and let you know he is continuing to fight everyday and making a difference.

Thanks,

Vanessa Kerry


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