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A Democrat Stands Tall

8:55 PM, Jan 10, 2007 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Senator Lieberman on the president's Iraq speech tonight:

I applaud the President for rejecting the fatalism of failure and pursuing a new course to achieve success in Iraq. There is no more difficult decision that a President can make than to send our nation's bravest soldiers and patriots into harm's way. Yet, no objective is more worthy in defending America's vital national security interests than aiding a struggling democracy and supporting brave moderates who are in a life and death struggle against totalitarian extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran.

Our troops have sacrificed much and now more will be asked of them to defend our nation. They fight in a just, noble and moral cause against the forces of terrorism, and their sacrifices will make America and the world more secure. I want our troops to return home as soon as possible - after we allow, enable and support them in accomplishing their mission in Iraq in finishing this fight.

I know there are deep differences of opinion about what the President has proposed tonight. In the coming days and weeks, we should undertake respectful debate and deliberation over this new plan. But, let us also remember that excessive partisan division and rancor at home only weakens our will to prevail in this war. I am particularly pleased that the President has taken the important and necessary step of creating a bi-partisan Consultative Group consisting of representatives and leaders of the Executive and Legislative branches to address issues related to the war against global terrorism.

At the moment, we and our Iraqi allies are not winning in Iraq and the American people are understandably frustrated by the miscalculations, the lack of progress, and the daily scenes of violence and casualties. But, make no mistake - defeat in Iraq would result in a moral and strategic setback in our global struggle against Islamist extremists who seek to strike our interests and our homeland.

Success is attainable in Iraq, and tonight the President has offered a comprehensive program to chart a new course in both winning the military struggle to establish order and in achieving the political and economic objectives to build a more promising future for Iraqis. However, no progress is possible unless we restore order, particularly in Baghdad.

Tonight, the President did not take the easy path, but he took the correct and courageous course. We are engaged in a world-wide struggle against Islamist extremism, and Iraq is now the central front. It is a dangerous illusion to believe that we can depart Iraq and the inevitable killing fields and terrorist violence will not follow us in retreat - even to our own shores. That is why it is right and imperative that we recommit ourselves to success in Iraq. Weakness only emboldens our enemy, but united resolution will make our nation safer for generations to come.L