Tonight, Senator John Edwards addressed the nation in a televised response to President Bush's speech on Iraq. In his address, which aired on MSNBC after President Bush's remarks, Edwards reminded the American people that Congress can - and must - force an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. Edwards' comments marked the first time any presidential candidate has used a national televised address to speak to the American people about President Bush's refusal to change course in Iraq.
Watch it here:
In the address Edwards said that the only way to force the Iraqis to take responsibility and negotiate a political solution is to begin withdrawing troops - immediately. Edwards criticized President Bush for refusing to change "the only strategy he has ever had - more time, more troops and more war."
Edwards concluded his remarks by reminding the American people that Congress must answer to them. "Tell Congress you know the truth - they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it," said Edwards. "When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal. No timeline, no funding. No excuses."
This week - as we will forever - we remember those lost on September 11th. And this week, Washington refocuses on Iraq. But the question of Iraq is separate from September 11th - as it has always been, whatever George Bush would have us believe.
Likewise, supporting our troops and pursuing a failed war are not the same things - whatever George Bush would have us believe.
All Americans honor the incredible sacrifice of our troops. They have done everything asked of them with courage and resolve. Now we should bring them home.
They are policing a civil war, and the only way to end that civil war is for both sides, Sunni and Shia, to take responsibility to end it by agreeing to a political solution. And the only way to force them to take responsibility is to withdraw our troops - starting now.
Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he has ever had - more time, more troops, and more war.
In January, after years of evidence that military actions cannot force a political solution, the president announced a military surge to force a political solution. In May, he vetoed a plan to end the war, demanded more time to show the surge could work, and Congress gave it to him. Now, after General Petraeus reports the surge has produced no progress toward a political solution, what does the president want? More time for the surge to work, when we know it won't.
Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home.
But Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth - they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal.
No timeline, no funding. No excuses.
It is time to end this war.
Full disclosure: I work every day to make this man the next President of the United States!