In last fall's Democratic primary, I voted for Kweisi Mfume, and I sure do miss him now. I had so hoped Mfume would be a strong voice on issues such as the war. I feared Cardin would not stand firm, would not be vocal. I am so sorry that my suspicions of him were true. From his message, Cardin clearly thinks that over time, the president can be persuaded to change course. I wonder what our soldiers in Iraq, as well as the citizens there, think about future "opportunities" to "push the administration." I'm sure they don't mind waiting.
Thank you for contacting me with regards to U.S. involvement in Iraq .
In 2002, as a member of the House of Representatives, I voted against the Congressional resolution that gave President George Bush the authority to invade Iraq . Since that time, I have been an ardent critic of the war and the manner in which the Administration has conducted it.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded that the solution to Iraqi unrest is political rather than military. The President should pursue a strategy that will decrease the Iraqi government's reliance on American forces and bring our brave troops home. I encourage increased diplomatic efforts in talking with Iraq 's neighboring countries to help stabilize the region.
Since my election to the U.S. Senate, my top priority has been working with Majority Leader Reid and other colleagues to change direction in Iraq . We have shaped a position calling for a total troop withdrawal beginning October 1, 2007 with a goal of completion by April 1, 2008. I supported such amendments and was disappointed that the provisions were not included in the final version of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill for FY 2007. There will continue to be good opportunities to push the administration on this issue, including the Defense Authorization bill and the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, among others. I have enclosed a copy of my first statement on the Senate floor, in which a large portion was devoted to my Iraq policy and the need for change . Please be assured that as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will be fully engaged in working for a political and diplomatic resolution of the Iraqi conflict, and pushing for a drawdown of American forces.
I appreciate your taking the time to contact me about this important matter. Please do not hesitate to do so again about this or any other issue of importance to you. Email.BeginHide.merge
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator