Here is a letter I sent to Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), one of my favorite Democrats of all time. He and others in the "Out of Iraq" caucus of Democrats in the House of Representatives are considering opposing the Iraq measure currently being debated because they feel a stronger one should be demanded. I disagree, and here it was I wrote to him to encourage him to reconsider. Anyone who feels similarly may wish to write him as well, and I have included the link to his contact form at the bottom of this post for you to do so.
My name is Adam Silva and I the president of the College Democrats chapter at the University of North Texas in Denton. I am not a constituent, but I can't tell you how much I wish I was after seeing you speak at a rally a few years back. You are one of my favorite Democrats in Congress and I am proud that a man with such a progressive record was elected from Texas.
I am writing to you now because I have read that you may not support the Iraq timeline attached to the defense supplemental bill because you believe it does not go far enough. I believe this is a mistake.
Like you, as a Democrat and a student of international politics and policy, I believe that a firm timeline for Iraq is the best way to force the Iraqis into a political compromise. Like you, I want to see our troops home as soon as possible, and I know that under the current legislation President Bush can and will, as he also does, ignore the will of the majority. Like you, I am disappointed that many of your colleagues in Congress are unwilling to even debate using the power of the purse to end this war.
However, I believe this measure is a first step toward that eventual goal. We know that Bush would veto any bill that Congress sends up to him, as as we saw in the Senate vote today, Democrats do not have the margins to override him. The only way to eventually force this president into submitting to withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is to put political pressure on Republicans so they come to our side on this. I know this legislation lacks the teeth we all wish it had, but should the final House vote for this timeline measure fail, so will our efforts to bring an end to the war.
As Democrats cannot count on any Republican support, they can only afford to lose 15 of their caucus in the House for this measure to pass. It does not surprise me that many conservative "Blue Dogs" do not support this legislation, but I am very surprised that liberal stalwarts such as yourself and Barbara Lee, whom voted against the bill in the Appropriations Committee today, oppose it or are considering opposing it.
As you know, politics is everything. Should Democrats fail to pass this in a final vote, it would been seen as a victory for the Republicans and President Bush - and the continuation of this war. I fail to see how this would help the effort to pass stronger legislation in the future. No doubt many in Congress would see later attempts as merely pointless, and I can't express how demoralizing this would be for the grassroots Democrats and progressives I know. Know that our group, and other progressive students at UNT, are planning a huge rally in a few weeks to support Democrats' efforts to bring the troops home and end the war.
I believe that by making the Republicans go on record in opposition to this this, a timeline for withdrawal, political pressure will mount on them to support legislation in the future. This measure has to pass for us to achieve that, and our ultimate goal of ending the war.
For these reasons, I believe you should support this measure when it comes before the full House and urge your colleagues in the "Out of Iraq" caucus to do so as well.
Thank for your time and for your good work in Congress,
-A Democrat, a Progressive, and a Texan
Contact Lloyd Doggett