Wednesday, March 28, 2007


So, last week, as a sort of afterthought to a post on the Iraq War's fourth birthday, I dashed off an email to Louisiana's senior senator, Democrat Mary Landrieu:

Dear Senator Landrieu,

I'm very curious about what effort you are personally making in the Senate to end the US occupation of Iraq. Now that opinion polls have shown repeatedly that the majority of Americans want the war to end, it has been frustrating to watch Democrats on Capitol Hill seemingly drag their feet on the issue. I just got word that a student I knew when I was teaching high school in Texas a couple of years ago was recently killed over there. Another one, now a marine, ships out soon. How much longer will this be allowed to continue?

Thank you very much for your response.
Well, I got my response today:
Thank you for contacting me to express your views on what has to be the most challenging issue before our nation - the war in Iraq. I believe that our nation should take every appropriate step to bring peace and stability to the region while protecting our troops in the field and winning the war on terror. Over the last several months, important efforts to determine a way forward in Iraq have been presented to the American people. One of the most important was the report of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group. Following release of this report, the President announced that he would develop a new strategy for Iraq. During this process he held discussions with members of Congress, and I was invited to participate. The President indicated that his plan would involve a surge of additional troops into Baghdad in an effort to restore order to that warn-torn city. My argument to the President was that we should not send any additional personnel to Iraq until we have clear benchmarks to measure success - benchmarks that will keep our commitment to Iraq from becoming an open-ended morass. Regrettably, to date, objective benchmarks needed to gauge the success of our involvement have not been provided. Without these standards, we are just inviting further uncertainty that could spiral into further escalation without the results we hope to achieve. As a result, I have taken a clear stand in opposition to the President's approach and have gone on record in support of more effective strategies to achieve success in Iraq. I will continue to work to win the global war on terror, achieve success in Iraq, provide stability in the Middle East and speed the return of our troops home. I know we all pray for the safety of our men and women in uniform, now serving our nation so bravely.

With warmest regards, I am Sincerely,
A Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator
I would have been personally satisfied if she had told me that she voted for the just-passed Senate bill tying war funding with withdrawal, but you know, she's a Senator, which means she had to bloviate for a while. I guess that goes with the territory. I must say, however, that it was most definitely some very fine bloviating. I mean, I hate her usage of the "war on terror" metaphor because war and saber-rattling only flame the fans of terrorism, but nailing Bush on his ignoring the Iraq Study Group report was some unexpected gold. Bashing the "surge" was nice, too. This was pretty cool, I must admit.

I also think that Landrieu is the cutest Senator on the Hill, but that's just my personal opinion.

Anyway, I used to think that writing your Congressmen was a waste of time, but, in association with more organized agitation, and because email now makes doing so easier, I'm beginning to think that it might do some good. You've got to assume that her office imagines that one letter probably represents at least ten constituents: if I'm riled up enough to actually sit down and deal with writing to her, then there are probably more people here in Louisiana who share the same view. So if she gets, say, one hundred anti-war letters, that means a thousand Louisianians are speaking out with me. Or something to that effect.

At any rate, writing your Congressman certainly doesn't hurt. I should write my Representative, who is a Republican. I wonder how he will respond.