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We Need Honest Answers, Not Pep Rallies

excerpts from a report by Paul Rieckhoff. June 28, 2005

Tonight at Fort Bragg, in front of a backdrop of American service members, President Bush told the nation that victory is at hand, as long as we stay the course. Add a banner praising a job well-done and an aircraft carrier, and this all begins to seem eerily familiar. But the men and women of the American military have had enough of what's familiar from this administration.

We agree there is no choice but to succeed in Iraq. But what is success? Tonight you will tell us Iraq is on the path to freedom and stability, but what does right look like? The CIA tells us Iraq is now a top breeding ground for terrorists. Are we killing more enemies than we're making?

Last week, Vice President Cheney said the insurgency is in its last throes, but this week we're told to dig in for a 12-year battle. Have you asked your Secretary of Defense and Vice President to offer the Troops a straight answer?

Mr. President, we don’t need to be told that the insurgents intend to shake our will, because we’ve sifted through the havoc wreaked by even the crudest weapons, then watched our friends sent home, changed forever. We don’t need to be told that your administration is committed to taking care of the Troops, because we’ve already gotten the bill you sent us for the meals we ate while recovering at Walter Reed.

We don’t need to be told that flak jackets and safer Humvees are on the way, because we’ve already learned that a phone-call home and a few hundred bucks is probably the quickest way to get body armor. Hundreds of Troops have been wounded or killed because of faulty vehicles or missing armor, but who has been held accountable?

Mr. President, we need honest answers, not pep rallies.

You have been reading excerpts from "Iraq Vets To President: We Need Honest Answers, Not Pep Rallies" by Paul Rieckhoff. You can find the entire text here: http://tinyurl.com/dar9p. Paul Rieckhoff is Executive Director of OpTruth.org, the nation's first and largest organization for Troops and Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom. What a group! What a site! We visit often and we hope you will too.

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