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I'm posting the speech that I gave on Saturday at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention in La Crosse.  This is where I stand:  it's time to bring our troops home from Iraq.  The war was a mistake to begin with, and it has wasted billions of dollars and thousands of lives.  

I'd be happy to discuss below.

As for me, I'm running for Congress in an open district here in Northeast Wisconsin.  We're best known for the Green Bay Packers and their green and gold, but, in political terms, this district is both red and blue.  It's is the swing area in a swing state, and this is the kind of district we need to carry to gain a majority in Congress.

Thank you, Democrats!

I was born on a dairy farm, but I wasn't born yesterday.  Anybody with their eyes open can see that we need change in this country.

We have a president whose short-sighted and cynical policies have mortgaged our future, and a rubber-stamp Congress that has failed to hold him to account.  We've seen our budget deficits explode in the last five years.  We've seen no action on health care while costs soar and millions of Americans go without care.  And we've seen scandal after scandal demonstrate that we have the best government money can buy.  This needs to change.

But there's one issue in particular that I want to talk about today.  I believe, like many in this room, that the Iraq war was a mistake to begin with.  It was planned in a fact-free environment and executed in a competence-free one.  This has nothing to do with our troops, who have performed incredibly well.  It has everything to do with the choices of President Bush and his senior advisors.

Bush lied to us about the case for war in Iraq.  He and his advisors ignored the advice of their own generals as to how many troops we'd need to secure the country.  They failed to plan for the aftermath of the invasion.  They failed to provide our troops with the body armor they needed.  And we've reaped the whirlwind for their recklessness and their incompetence.

The situation in Iraq is no better than it was two years ago.  All you need to know is that one of the first acts of the new Iraqi parliament was to vote each of its members two armored cars.  We've never had a plan in Iraq.  And we've wasted billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

That's why I called for Don Rumsfeld to resign more than six months ago.  And I was glad to see seven retired generals reach the same conclusion in recent months.  It's time for Rumsfeld to go.  

I've come to believe that it is also time for us to go.  Our troops have performed valiantly.  They've done everything we've asked them to do.  We've done everything we can in Iraq militarily.  The country is in a civil war, and we're caught in the middle.  Our military is bleeding.  And all we hear from George Bush is "trust me."  There is no plan.  There never has been a plan.  It's time for us to redeploy.  It's time to let the Iraqis settle this themselves.  It's time for us to bring the troops home now.

Let me say just one more thing - Democrats care about our security.  I'm sick and tired of having my patriotism questioned because I believe that George Bush has made us less safe rather than more.  Silence is not patriotism, no matter what they say.

It's easy to be cynical when you look at what George Bush has done to this country.  But cynicism can too easily lead to apathy and to despair.  One of the things I learned growing up on the farm is that you work hard.  This is our year.  We need to work hard to bring the change this country desperately needs.  And we can do our part in Northeast Wisconsin.  

That's why I'm running.  And that's why I need your help.  Thank you.

Originally posted to Jamie Wall for Congress on Mon Jun 12, 2006 at 08:10 AM PDT.

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