first published in the Huffington Post
Everywhere I go on this campaign -- from Iowa to New Mexico -- I hear people asking when is this war going to end and when will we get all of our troops out of Iraq? Everyone, myself included, is tired of waiting for this war to end and tired of feeling let down by the people we elected.
The message I hear on the road seems pretty clear to me, but apparently the people in Congress aren't getting it. I know legislating is hard work -- I spent 15 years in Congress -- but I believe that when the people have given you a mandate, and soldiers are dying, it is your solemn duty to get the job done no matter what it takes.
Two days ago the Senate had a chance to help get more of our soldiers home for longer periods of time -- but the measure failed. Yesterday they had a chance to set a timeline to start withdrawing troops -- but that failed too. And today, another measure that would've required a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq failed. Three chances to make a difference, lost. But instead of continuing to push on the most important issue facing our country right now, yesterday Congress spent their time debating and condemning a newspaper ad by an anti-war group.
Let's get some perspective here -- ads don't kill people -- wars kill people. And it is long past time to end this war.
From my many years of diplomatic negotiations I have learned that persistence is key to wearing down the most recalcitrant opponents. So I will be persistent -- and I hope you all will too. If we don't get this done now, we may not have a chance again until a Democrat is in the White House in 2009. That is too long to wait.
And while I firmly believe a Democrat will win in November 2008, I also know that some of the other candidates don't share my clear vision for ending the war.
I have been asking them -- how many troops will you leave behind?
My answer is zero.
Their answers are starting to remind me of the same rhetoric we hearing from DC, a little too much hemming, a little too many "we'll see's."
Every day Congress fails to end this war is another day Congress fails to do what we elected them to do. Americans have lost patience with Congress and with the leaders they elected to end the war. But you know what? We have the power. We can end the war.
Let's do that together.