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Its Time to Bring Our Troops Home

Yesterday, I was joined by members of the Oregon Senate and House today to introduce a memorial urging Congress to create a plan for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. The Memorial, HJM 38 "The Oregon Homeward Bound Act," calls for Congress to pass a resolution that declares that it is the policy of the United States to announce a plan for withdrawal from Iraq that would begin by October 1, 2006.

The memorial mirrors a bi-partisan resolution that has been introduced in Congress by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX). The federal Resolution, "The Homeward Bound Act" (HJR 55) is a binding Resolution calling for President Bush to announce by the end of 2005 a plan for withdrawal from Iraq that would begin by October 1, 2006. The Oregon Resolution urges Congress to pass the federal resolution.

We hope to send a message to Washington with this legislation. If legislatures across this country join us in passing similar Homeward Bound Acts, I believe we can send a strong message to the President that we need a sea- change in strategy and a way to get our troops home. We cannot ask Oregon's sons and daughters, husbands and wives, to spill their blood for Iraq's security forever.

I was joined by chief co-sponsors of the memorial - Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), whose son Justin is a member of the U.S. Army and has served in Iraq, and Sen. Avel Gordly (D-Portland), whose legislative aide has a son serving with the military in the Middle-East. Co-sponsors of the resolution attending the press conference included Representatives Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene), Vice-Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee Peter Buckley (D- Ashland), and Mitch Greenlick (D- Portland/Washington County).

U.S. troops have completed an important task. They have overthrown a despicable dictator. They have ushered in Iraq's first elections. They have secured a victory. And now, the Homeward Bound Act is a way to bring our troops home.

June 28, 2005 by Chip Shields
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Hi Chip

Heard you on KPOJ this am. Good job.

Posted by: JEff | Jun 28, 2005 2:48:58 PM

Although I sent this note personally to Rep Chip, I thought would also include it hear.

I received your announcement of the homeward bound act with mixed feelings. While I am no supporter of the war, I feel that it would be good to stay focused on what Oregon needs most at home. Again while agree that one of the things that Oregonians need at home are its national guard troops, I would prefer that you not add any extra fuel to the rather partisan atmosphere in Salem and use your time and political capital to focus on your main objectives. While you reference the bi-partisan approach in DC, the supporters listed here are only democrats. If this is truly bi-partisan, then just ignor this part of my comment.

In addition, I think this is a loosing objective. I must agree with Bush that despite his deceit in getting us into this war, we have to stay the course, which sadly has no time table. I would support objectives that would mark our withdrawal, however a timetable will do no long term good. In short we broke it and now we must buy it.

Regardless, as the father of a 5,3, and 1 year old; my main concern with oregon is getting the schools fixed. i believe that much of the problems with jobs, wages, and other economy items can get fixed our schools did not seemingly have monthly economic crisises.

Please stay focused on what we sent you to Salem to do.

Posted by: Dave | Jun 29, 2005 8:12:05 PM

Thanks Dave for your comments. I really do appreciate the feedback.

It is unfortunate that we've gotten to the point where state reps., who are in my view in closer everyday contact with their constituents then congressmen and women, must intercede to send the message to congress from back home that people in our districts are very disturbed by the situation in Iraq.

And no matter what your view of the war from the beginning, it's clear we cannot expect our soldiers, reserves and guardsmen and women to spill their blood for Iraqi security forever.

Sadly, I don't think we can make things better there by just trying harder. One general commented that for every insurgent I kill, 3 more are created. If our presence is making security there worse, and I think the evidence of that is overwhelming, then we need an exit strategy. The pottery barn analogy, to me, doesn't apply if it is not possible for the breaker to fix the pottery...if the breaker, no matter what they do, does not have the capacity, the capability, to fix it.

And encouraging the president to devise an exit strategy by year's end and begin withdrawal by October 2006 seems reasonable to me. I'm afraid I don't agree that creating an exit plan will make the insurgents lie-in-wait. I think it will strengthen our support among everyday Iraqis if we lay out a plan for ending the occupation.

And your point on schools is well taken too. Please know that I am fully focused on fighting for our schools. I have several priorities here that I have been able to focus on simultaneously.

And in my view, this really isn't partisan issue. Our memorial, after all, was drafted by Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina. I've received positive feedback from Republcians, though they did not feel comfortable signing on to the bill. And my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have definitely not taken this as a jab to them. I have a strong relationship of mutual respect with the other caucus and differing viewpoints really don't poison the well, as long as we are not attacking peoples motives. Really.

If you haven't seen the full memorial yet, please take a look at it:

It was crafted carefully not to point fingers or incite partisan bickering.

Again, I promise to continue the fight for decent funding for schools and I am grateful for your comments.

Posted by: Chip Shields | Jun 30, 2005 8:17:34 AM

Can we stop discussing the issue from the Administrations framework?
We need to promote our agenda of waging peace instead of war. Bush has continued to ignore at a great cost the real reasons why we have terrorists. Facts mean nothing to people who believe that Bush is doing the right thing. We need to show how much better we can be as a nurturing, supportive nation. We need to address the reasons why we are putting troops onto sacred Islamic lands. We need to dredge up the real motivation for this war. Only then will the empty rhetoric that is being promoted be revealed for what it is.
Ya know what I'm saying?

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of reasonable rational people.


Posted by: Scot | Jun 30, 2005 1:01:56 PM

Well, given that the United States is acting as an international outlaw nation in waging aggressive war, killing probablysome 100,000 civilians (while declining to count them), and violating the Geneva Convention, by special order of the President, in torturing and even killing prisoners,

-- given that, asking for a timetable for withdrawal is better than resolving to keep killing until they cry 'uncle' . . .

but it's far short of a reasonable course at the moment.

Posted by: Michael Meo | Jun 30, 2005 3:47:44 PM

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