Enough Is Enough

What's the most important issue in this year's election? If you had to answer that question using only the information available from the Republican Party, you would choose from the following: al-Qaeda, immigration, playboy bunnies and porn.

Al-Qaeda is a threat, one that the war of choice waged by George Bush and the Republican-led Congress has greatly exacerbated [not to brag, but I predicted exactly this outcome before the war began]. Illegal immigration is a problem, but Republicans in the House rejected a bipartisan solution which even George Bush supports, in part so they could use the issue in misleading attacks against their opponents. I personally don't like them but campaigning against Playboy bunnies and porn descends into the realm of the absurd. In my own race, Republican incumbent John Kline is falsely accusing me of comparing U.S. Marines to Nazis. Oh yeah, I don't like Nazis either. The fact that some Republicans are campaigning on such things is a vibrant illustration of how desperate they are to avoid real scrutiny of their record. They're grasping for any distraction they can to deflect attention from the elephant in the room.

Iraq.

Today, more than 2800 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, almost exactly the same as the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. More than 20,000 are wounded, many of them with life-altering injuries which will require a lifetime of care, care George Bush and our Republican-led Congress seem reluctant to provide. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has likened Iraq to Vietnam, and declared that the occupation is "destroying the United States Army".

As badly as the occupation has hurt America, it's hurt the Iraqis more, with the overall death total estimated at a staggering 655,000. There is little, if any, progress to show for all the blood that's been shed. At the end of 2005, Iraq was producing less oil, electricity and drinkable water than it had before the invasion. And the sectarian violence has only increased since then.

Faced with this disaster of their own making, on such a mind-boggling scale, Republicans in Congress have done everything in their power to ignore it. They have engaged in no oversight of the administration or its failed policy in Iraq, and as a result, at least $9 billion in reconstruction funds has disappeared. This is more than a $9 billion cost to U.S. taxpayers, it has almost certainly cost U.S. and Iraqi lives. But pro-war, "tough on defense" Republicans, who also claim to be fiscal conservatives, have turned a blind eye to it.

Their willful ignorance has cost more than money. Just yesterday, it was reported that 14,000 weapons, including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, have simply disappeared. There is no question that many of those weapons will be used to kill Americans.

Enough. There are many issues that matter to voters, and unlike my opponent and many other Republicans, I'm talking about them. But it's time to stop talking about Playboy bunnies and Nazis, and start working on solutions for the Republicans' failed policies in Iraq.

The work starts November 7.

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