March 2007 Postcard

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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH’S plan for troop escalation in Iraq ignores the advice of key advisers, career military officers and the clear will of both the Iraqi and American people.

Bush’s military policy has failed. More than 25,000 U.S. troops have been killed or injured. The war already has cost more than $380 billion. Rather than sending more troops to Iraq, the U.S. should be engaging more intently in regional diplomacy and better preparing for a transition to Iraqi control of the country’s security.

I am sending you a loud and clear message: We need a new direction in U.S. foreign and military policy that emphasizes diplomacy, respect for national sovereignty, international cooperation, conflict resolution, and peaceful alternatives to war.

altIraqi women walk past wreckage from a roadside bomb on Jan. 10, 2007. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP Photo)

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY researchers estimate that as many as 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the U.S.-led war (and hundreds of thousands more have been wounded), many as a direct result of U.S. bombing, missile attacks, strafing and gunfire. According to the U.N., more than 1.8 million Iraqis have fled to other countries, and 1.6 million are displaced internally within Iraq. Approximately 100,000 Iraqis leave their country each month.

Far from creating a secure, prosperous and democratic country, the U.S. invasion and occupation has destabilized Iraq. In a University of Maryland poll released in September 2006, 78 percent of Iraqis told researchers that the U.S. military presence is “provoking more conflict than it is preventing”; 71 percent said they want U.S. troops out within a year; and 61 percent think that a U.S. withdrawal will improve day-to-day security for average Iraqis. We should listen to them.