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March 18, 2008

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Excellent post, Julie. One of the great frustrations of this war is that none of us were asked for a nation-wide shared sacrifice for the good of the country. And now our children and grandchildren will make just such a sacrifice for many decades to come.

You're right, it's critical that people begin to see the war through an economic lens. Walt is campaigning in North Idaho, but I'll make sure he sees your post.

Can you tell us more about Burner's presentation? Who were the other congressional challengers participating?

Sure, John.

Six of the 10 original endorsers spoke at yesterday's unveiling of the plan. (You can see the full list of the 10 at the Responsible Plan website. Click my name.) Just a few more notes from them ...

Burner said she kept waiting for a plan like this to emerge from DC, but when it never did, she started working on it six months ago. Burner's brother Jason was in the invading force that entered Baghdad five years ago this week.

Donna Edwards (MD-04) started her presentation by reminding everyone that in addition to the nearly 4,000 U.S. troops killed, 29,000 have been injured with injuries so severe that they probably would have died in earlier wars. She spoke of going to Walter Reed recently and seeing triple amputees and people with serious brain injuries, which are the hallmark injury of this war. She said we can best honor their sacrifices by valuing their colleagues and getting them out of harm's way.

Chellie Pingree (Maine-01) said that although the media claim that Iraq has faded from voters' minds, she isn't finding that to be true in her months on the campaign trail. "It's like a focus group out there every day," she said, with people wondering how we'll end the war, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and restore congressional oversight and media responsibility. This plan does all those things, she noted.

Tom Perriello (VA-05) told us a "tale of two dictators," contrasting the way we removed Saddam with the way we took out Liberian dictator Charles Taylor "without firing a shot." (Perriello was involved in that ... see his bio here http://www.perrielloforcongress.com/lifeservice.html). He spoke of a need to pursue a new foreign policy based on what he called "justice-based security."

Sam (Siobhan) Bennett (PA-15) was the one who explored the theme of the false choice between endless war and a destabilizing withdrawal. Like several others in the group, Bennett comes from a military family and was living in Saigon during the fall, where she watched her surgeon father treat children maimed by the war.

Jared Polis (CO-02) wrapped up the presentations by noting that the war is "exporting instability" globally and that most Iraqis want us to leave. He said that the endorsers of the Burner plan are seeking to take leadership before they are elected and that he hopes many of the Democrats who are already in Congress will follow suit.

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