Barbara Boxer about Iraq and Darfur

Yesterday, I spoke in San Francisco about Iraq and Darfur -- two important foreign policy issues that weigh heavily upon me and all Americans. I'm extremely frustrated by the Bush Administration's inability to resolve either conflict, even in the face of tremendous human suffering.

It's time for real leadership and some fresh ideas to break the Bush Administration's gridlock. That's why I'm speaking out -- and I hope you'll join me.

Darfur

In September of 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell called the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan "genocide" -- the first time any Bush Administration official had accurately described the more than 50,000 deaths and more than 1 million refugees at that point.

Since then, many of us in the Senate have called on President Bush to take action, to name a special envoy who would focus the world's attention on ending the killing of African ethnic groups by Arab militias in Darfur and supporting the millions of refugees.

Unfortunately, President Bush has failed to act. In the meantime, the killing in Darfur has continued, more than 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes, and without sufficient funds, most of these refugees -- including many, many children -- will continue to be malnourished.

This is unconscionable. That's why I'm calling on President Bush to immediately name Bernice King and Martin Luther King III as special U.S. emissaries to Darfur. Both of the King children have already indicated their willingness to help. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has joined me in this effort, making this truly a bi-partisan proposal.

I urge President Bush to act swiftly, empowering Bernice King and Marin Luther King III as special emissaries in order to heighten worldwide awareness of this tragedy, compel foreign governments to increase aid, and bring hope to those that are suffering. What a fitting message of hope and non-violence we could send by building on the legacy of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King.

Iraq

After three long years, the deaths of more than 2,467 American troops, more than 18,000 wounded, and the deaths of more than 40,000 Iraqis, it's beyond time to bring our mission in Iraq to a close.

The Bush Administration misled us into an elective war that we didn't have to fight. But our brave men and women in uniform have performed admirably, successfully meeting every goal that was set for them -- from capturing Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people to training Iraqi security forces and fostering the creation of an Iraqi government. Now it should be up to the people of Iraq to decide what kind of future they want.

That's why I'll be introducing a resolution when the Senate returns to Washington next week, calling for U.S. forces to be redeployed from Iraq within 6 months or earlier, if practicable. My resolution also calls for a quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon Marine presence to be deployed in the region.

It is completely unacceptable to me to see our government paralyzed over a failed policy -- a policy that is bringing so much pain to so many. The Bush Administration's open-ended commitment in Iraq is not only causing death and destruction to our brave troops, it's also serving as a catalyst for further terrorist recruitment.

It's time to change course. That's why I'll be introducing my resolution in the Senate, which is very similar in impact to Congressman Jack Murtha's House legislation, when Congress reconvenes next week.

* * * * *

Thanks for taking the time to read this message. I thought it was important to lay out some of my latest thinking on Iraq and Darfur and provide some tangible solutions to the Bush Administration's gridlock.

I hope you'll join me in speaking out on these two critical foreign policy issues and help me bring about the change that is so desperately needed -- in America, in Iraq, and in Darfur.

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

P.S. Please forward this email to other friends and family members who may be interested in addressing the serious problems we face in Iraq and Darfur. Thanks for your continued help and support!

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