Thursday, May 03, 2007

An Open Letter to Senator Feingold:

Dear Senator:

A long time ago, living in another state, I had the audacity to send a letter to my Senator. Adlai Stevenson was his name. In it, I voiced my opinion on a topic that I disagreed with the Senator on. I received a nice reply, first acknowledging our disagreement, then stating the reasons for his position. He further appreciated that I understood that he represented all of the people of Illinois, not just me or those that disagreed with me. It was a great personal letter, from a great Senator, to a young constituent.

Recently, I sent a similar email to you. We had met in person on Palm Sunday and had a nice, simple conversation. I wanted to let you know that although there were a large number of people in Wisconsin that agreed with many of your positions, particularly on Iraq, that there were constituents that did not agree.

What I received in return about 2 weeks later was a canned response, reproduced and commented on below. A four sentence personal response from you would have taken 1 minute of your precious time. I realize you represent several million people and that you probably receive thousands of emails/letters. Your response to me reminds me of the movie character Scrooged played by Bill Murray and I hope at some time you might have a similar awakening.

Dear Ms. Coyle,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the war in Iraq. I
appreciate hearing from you about one of the most important issues
facing our country today.

Really? Did you even see my email? Did it rise to the top of your staff's list of things to discuss with you during your busy schedule? I doubt it.

I strongly support our troops who have courageously answered the
call to service, but I remain deeply concerned that the President's
policies in Iraq are undermining our top national security priority:
fighting al Qaeda and its affiliates that attacked our country on
September 11, 2001. In October 2002, I voted against the
resolution authorizing the President to use force in Iraq because I
questioned the shifting justifications for this mission and feared
that it would weaken our capacity to combat terrorism.

Sir, your support of our troops is nothing more than lip-service. You fail to understand the nature of their mission. You question their very effort. You ignore the proclamations of the very terrorists you claim to be against. Iraq is the front line on the war on terror. Is there any doubt that terrorists are involved when the vast majority of deaths occurring in Iraq are civilian, caused by car bombs and suicide bombers? By your own words, you have been actively opposed to military involvement in Iraq since 2002. What sir is an appropriate use of our military? For almost 10 years Iraq was shooting at our aircraft patrolling the No-Fly zones with little fear of reprisal. For over 20 years, Iraq murdered it's own citizens. For over 10 years, Iraq manipulated UN sanctions. For over 10 years, Iraq maintained its ability to resume chemical, biological and nuclear programs, waiting for the day sanctions ended. A day that was fast approaching. Finally, Iraq openly supported terrorists in other parts of the world - specifically sending money to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. Iraq had attacked two neighbors in 10 years. A threat sir?

Since the war began, I have repeatedly pressed the Administration
to provide a clear strategy for success in Iraq and a strategy for
defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the United
States. Unfortunately, the Administration continues to pursue a
misguided and open-ended military mission in Iraq that has
diverted resources and attention from other places around the
world where terrorist networks that threaten the U.S. are operating.
I am deeply concerned by the President's decision in January to
increase troop levels in Iraq, which ignores the wishes of the
American people and members of both parties.
What you have demanded was a program for retreat. There is no "clear strategy for success". Such a childish notion about something as impossible to predict as WAR is beneath your apparent ability or it suggests a level of dis ingeniousness unbecoming a United States Senator. Your characterization that the military mission is "misguided" suggests that you think Iraq would have been better off left alone. What a pleasant prospect for millions of Iraqis.

What other places around the world would you send our troops to Senator? Darfur? Malasyia? Afghanistan? Great Britain? Spain? How about Venezuela? WHERE Senator are terrorist networks threatening the US other than where they stand toe to toe with our soldiers?

Since when should a war be fought using polls? What constitutional section gives the populace operational control over the deployment of the troops? What constitutional section gives the CONGRESS operational control over the deployment of the troops? When do you think it is supporting the troops to demand their retreat, not because they are failing on the battlefield, but because it has become unpopular at home?

NO ONE LIKES WAR. Everyone would like it to end. It ends however not when we leave, but when the enemy surrenders or dies. Taking our troops from Iraq will not end the bloodshed in Iraq, it will only increase it. Taking our troops from Iraq will not placate terrorists, only embolden them. Taking our troops from Iraq and sending them....where? will not strengthen our forces, only demoralize them.

I am working to bring an end to our involvement in this war. I
recently introduced legislation with Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-NV) and eight other Senators to safely redeploy United
States troops from Iraq. Our bill would require the President to
begin redeploying troops within 120 days and would require
redeployment to be completed by March 31, 2008, with three
narrow exceptions.
Sir, unless you have some ability to negotiate on the behalf of the United States with the terrorists, your efforts to bring an end to our involvement in this war is nothing more than politics, and may be something much more dangerous. Where did you, when did you, introduce legislation calling on the terrorists to stop blowing up children? When were you on the Senate floor calling for Muslims to rise up against fanatics in their religion?

Senator, what is the purpose of our military? Do you even understand their role? Our troops are not supposed to be safe on bases far from battle. They are supposed to be killing those that kill others. They are supposed to be on the front line. And Senator, can you please point out where in the Constitution you and your fellow Senators have any role dictating to the President operational control of troops on the battlefield?

You may also be interested to know that on
April 26, 2007, I voted for H.R. 1591, the fiscal year 2007
emergency supplemental bill. I was pleased that this bill included
binding language that will effectively end the current misguided
military mission in Iraq and require the President to begin
redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq in 120 days. I encourage you to
visit my website for a more detailed account of my work on Iraq at

The "misguided military mission". How does this position support the troops? What you apparently mean by support is to protect the little boys and girls from getting hurt by the bad mens killing civilians in Iraq. I am sure the troops are flattered by your compassion. Your efforts on behalf of the civilians in Iraq is equally appreciated by them, I'm sure.

Your continued support is doing more damage to our troops than your ignorance of them, so if you don't mind, please stop supporting the troops. With support like yours, terrorists will soon have an open field in which to ply their trade.

I am also working hard to help ensure effective oversight and
accountability for reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The economic
costs of this war have been staggering, and I am dismayed that we
are running up debts to pay for this war that the next generation of
Americans will be called upon to pay. I continue to push for
accountability and transparency in the use of taxpayer money in
Iraq. I led efforts to create and then extend the life of the Special
Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), whose office is
charged with making sure that U.S. reconstruction dollars in Iraq
are not subject to waste, fraud or abuse.

Why not spend your time working on effective oversight and accountability for reconstruction efforts in NEW ORLEANS? At least there, we have some control over the you actually belongs to us. How about pushing for accountability and transparency in congressional spending bills?

As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate
Committee on the Budget, I will continue to work to end our
involvement in this war. Thanks again for contacting me about
this extremely important issue. I look forward to hearing from you
in the future.

As a member of those two important committees, I am concerned that your stated positions are doing more to undermine our country than help it. I am sure you believe you are acting responsibly and in a manner you think is consistent with the best interests of this country. But if your response to my email is any indication, you are as impotent as the rest of the political class. Frankly, I would appreciate your actions be more consistent with the senior Senator of Wisconsin: you know, more seen, less heard Kohl.

Oh, I am sure you will not be looking forward to any more missives from me.

Not so sincerely this time,
Tracy Coyle
Madison, WI