> From: <Correspondence_Reply@durbin.senate.gov>
> Subject: Message From Senator Durbin
> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 18:27:05 -0400
> April 26, 2007
> Dear Mrs. H:
> Thank you for contacting me about the war in Iraq.
> I appreciate hearing
> from you.
> Like you, I have a great deal of respect and gratitude for our men and
> women in uniform. They have served our country with honor and
> distinction in the war against terrorism and the invasions of
> Afghanistan and Iraq. Even though I have strongly disagreed with the
> Bush Administration's policies toward Iraq, I have consistently worked
> to ensure that our troops who are currently deployed have the best
> equipment and protection possible.
> Congress gave the Administration every dollar it requested, yet
> too many soldiers have traveled the dangerous roads of Iraq in
> inadequately armored Humvees, with widespread reports of soldiers
> lacking vital equipment such as protective body armor and modern
> defenses on helicopters. The failure to properly equip our military
> personnel is unconscionable, so I have pressed hard for the deployment
> of up-armored Humvees and the best equipment we can provide. I also
> worked successfully to increase the level of combat pay we provide to
> our troops and have fought to make up the salary difference for
> federal employees who take a pay cut when they are mobilized as a
> member of the National Guard or Reserves, just as many state and local
> governments and private companies have done for their employees.
> Far too many of our soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in this
> war, including many from our own Illinois communities who serve in the
> National Guard and Reserves. My deepest sympathies go out to the
> families and friends of the more than 3,000 American soldiers who have
> lost their lives in this endeavor, as well as to the more than 22,000
> who have suffered life-changing injuries.
> We owe it to our troops and their families to hold our government
> accountable and continue to press for a new direction. With our
> involvement in Iraq now in its fifth year, it is clear that the
> current approach is not working. That is why I am a cosponsor of S.
> 433, the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which was introduced by
> Senator Obama on January 30, 2007, and is currently in the Senate
> Foreign Relations Committee. This bill would prohibit an increase in
> troop levels without Congressional authorization and would begin
> redeploying troops this year.
> The bill would also intensify the training of Iraqi security forces so
> that they can more quickly assume control of their own country, and
> require the Iraqi government to adhere to specific conditions in order
> to continue to receive economic assistance from the United States.
> Finally, the bill would emphasize diplomatic initiatives to restore
> peace in Iraq and prevent a regional conflict in the Middle East.
> The Senate has now gone on record in support of a timetable for
> redeploying our troops from Iraq. The supplemental spending bill
> approved by the Senate would require the President to begin
> redeploying troops within 120 days of the bill's enactment and
> proposes a goal of redeploying most of the troops by March 31, 2008.
> Americans cannot win an Iraqi civil war, and we need to implement a
> strategy that gives the Iraqis a chance to build a government that
> stands on its own. Escalation of the war will only increase the costs
> for our taxpayers and troops, prolong our involvement in Iraq, and
> send the wrong message to the Iraqis without pressuring them to make
> the political compromises necessary to bring their country together.
> Winning the war on terror requires us to be able to respond to
> dangerous situations wherever they may occur. Reducing the U.S.
> military presence in Iraq will not only give the Iraqis a greater
> incentive to take the lead in securing their own nation, it will also
> allow U.S. forces to respond more easily to contingencies affecting
> the security of the United States elsewhere in the world.
> Thank you again for your message.
> Richard J. Durbin
> United States Senator
> P.S. If you are ever visiting Washington, please feel free to join
> Senator Obama and me at our weekly constituent coffee. When the
> Senate is in session, we provide coffee and donuts every Thursday at
> 8:30 a.m.
> as we hear what is on the minds of Illinoisans and respond to your
> questions. We would welcome your participation.
> Please call my D.C.
> office for more details.
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