Senator Asks President to Heed Words of Dead Soldiers Who Wrote Op-Ed on Iraq

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By: E&P Staff

Reverberations from the deaths this week of two of the seven soldiers who wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times critical of the war in Iraq continued today, as the president prepares to address the nation tonight.

In one reaction, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) has sent a letter to Bush asking him to remember the words of the slain soldiers.

An excerpt follows.
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The tragic irony is that before their deaths, these two soldiers were not only trying to give us direction on how to end this war honorably, but they were also calling on us for help.

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, I read General David Petraeus this passage from their Op-Ed:

??we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are ? an army of occupation ? and force our withdrawal? Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit.?

I hope you will follow this advice and institute a new policy in which the Iraqis take center stage in defending their own country, thus avoiding the stigma of occupation that is now attached to our troops. This would allow for the immediate redeployment of the vast majority of our soldiers.

I also ask that you reconsider your decision to extend the surge for one more year. If you insist on extending the surge, it should be done with Iraqi security forces. The U.S. taxpayers have spent $20 billion to train more than 350,000 Iraqi Security Forces in counterinsurgency? surely, there are 30,000 Iraqis that are up to the task of securing their own country.

Mr. President, you didn?t listen to Staff Sergeant Yance Gray and Sergeant Omar Mora while they were alive. I hope that you will listen to them now, as they have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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