“Mr. President. The time has come for those of us in the Senate who believe that the Iraq war is counterproductive to stand up and make our voice heard.
That’s why I voted in favor of the Feingold-Reid amendment that would bring this war to an end.
This is not a perfect amendment, nor a perfect resolution to this war. But the outlook for success in Iraq is bleak. And it grows bleaker by the day.
This is no fault of the men and women of our armed forces. Our forces have done everything asked of them. They’ve fought bravely and admirably.
But – as our generals have said repeatedly – this war cannot be won by military means. A political solution is necessary, but there has been no meaningful progress on reconciliation.
And the simple fact is failures of the Bush Administration have left our nation with no good options.
Either the bloody status quo can continue indefinitely – an endless string of bombings, IEDs, and sectarian violence.
There is no end in sight. No strategy to change course. And no exit plan.
Or our nation can begin to reduce our troop levels in Iraq and remove our soldiers from this cauldron of violence.
The options in front of us might be different if this Administration had shown some willingness to change course, develop an exit strategy, and implement a timetable.
And if this were the case, I would not vote for this amendment.
But the Administration has signaled over and over and over again the lack of a clear-eyed appraisal of the situation in Iraq.
The American people made their voice heard last November that they wanted a change of course.
Democrats in Congress have tried repeatedly to force the Administration to transition the mission.
But the Bush Administration has refused. Over and over again. And most recently, President Bush vetoed responsible legislation to set benchmarks and a timetable for redeployment.
So I believe that the time has come for the Senate to assert its will and to carry out its responsibility under Article I of the Constitution “to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.”
The time has come to recognize the reality of this civil war and the inability of an American fighting force to quell hundreds of years of hatred, combined with the view of the Iraqi people that our brave men and women are seen as an occupying force.
The time has come to take the strongest possible position.
The time has come to say this war must end.
Of the vehicles we have available for us to do this, this comes the closest.
It may not be perfect in its timing, but it clearly says that the time has come for the Senate of the United States to exert its Constitutional obligation, which after all is the only finite option available to us to signal the seriousness of our view.
This is not a vote that I take lightly, and I wish that I did not have to take it. This situation – the Administration’s lack of flexibility, its continuation of failed strategies, and current events in the evolution of the civil war – leave me with no alternative.”