Dear Congresswoman Gillibrand,
"Rep. Gillibrand Opposes Troop Escalation"
That was the headline from your news release issued on January 11, 2007. It was your first week as a Member of Congress, and you felt compelled to address the surge.
In case you forgot the words, the full text:
"The President's proposal for an increase in troops, and today's testimony by Secretary Gates, have failed to provide a clear strategy for success and a plan to reduce violence and bring long-term stability to the region.
"At this point the future of Iraq rests squarely on the shoulders of the Iraqi people. The solution to peace in the region is a political one - not a military one. The American people need to see a commitment from the Iraqi people that they are serious about taking responsibility for their own security and stability.
"America's commitment in Iraq should not be open-ended and I will continue to encourage this Administration to put Iraq on notice that we will redeploy our troops. A defined notice period for redeployment will be the best way to force the Iraqi government to step up to the plate, make the necessary compromises, and take responsibility for their future."
How do you think this vapid, talking points release will be received by your constituents now, Congresswoman? Little attention has been paid to it as you run for re-election.
One sentence after another is now proven wrong. Colossally wrong.
"The President's proposal for an increase in troops, and today's testimony by Secretary Gates, have failed to provide a clear strategy for success"? Wrong.
"The solution to peace in the region is a political one - not a military one"? Wrong.
"At this point the future of Iraq rests squarely on the shoulders of the Iraqi people"? Wrong.
The surge, thank God, worked. It worked so spectacularly that the pacifist Left in your party avoids denial.
Yes, you're a Freshman, with foreign policy experience from Emma Willard High School and the faculty lounges of Dartmouth and UCLA. That's no excuse. Your goal was to grovel before the Code Pink lunatics who disrupt Congressional hearings and the Moveon.org extremists that helped you get elected.
But what are the veterans you represent going to think about that release once it receives more publicity? From what I can tell, your opponent Sandy Treadwell has not made it an issue. He should. And if he does, you're going to have a lot of explaining to do. Bumbling explaining, at best.
What makes your decision most troubling is you're a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Who did you talk to at the Department of Defense, or in the field, before you adopted Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco rhetoric? Did you speak to a General or a Private First Class or a Command Sergeant Major?
You should have simply echoed your fellow Democrat Senator Harry Reid when that release you approved went out. He said: This war is lost.
"This war is lost" is exactly what you believed on January, 11 2007. You were a defeatist.
Now, I could recite to you how and why the surge became a tremendous success, but you already know how and why.
As a veteran, you failed me. You failed our dedicated fighting men and women, and you failed yourself.
You're not forgiven. You probably don't even want to be forgiven for such an egregious lapse in judgment. Because we hardly hear a word from you about your opposition to the surge.
You can issue all the "news" releases you want about veterans health care or any veterans issues, and it won't matter. On the most critical strategy that has allowed our country to move toward total victory in the war against Al-Qaeda and their Islamofascist allies, where were you? You were wearing your Code Pink t-shirt. Congratulations.
So, Congresswoman Gillibrand, what do you have to say for yourself now? How about: The surged worked, and I was wrong.
Perhaps if you can utter that phrase you may begin to regain the trust of veterans and our troops in the field. But I doubt it.