"Prevailing in Iraq is not going to be easy. General Petraeus says thatthe environment in Iraq is the most challenging that he has seen in hismore than 32 years of service. He also says that he has been impressedby the professionalism and the skill and determination of our men andwomen in uniform. He sees in our troops 'a true will to win and asincere desire to help our Iraqi partners achieve success.'
"Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can bewon. It will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see itthrough. I'm grateful to our servicemen and women for all they've doneand for the honor they brought to their uniform and their country. I'mgrateful to our military families for all the sacrifices they have madefor our country. We also hold in our hearts the good men and womenwho've given their lives in this struggle. We pray for the loved onesthey have left behind.
"The United States military is the most capable and courageous fightingforce in the world. And whatever our differences in Washington, ourtroops and their families deserve the appreciation and the support ofour entire nation.
Above the words of lame duck President George "WMD" Bush from the closing of an eight minute script he read at 11:30 a.m. this morning in the White House - the 4th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq - the invasion based on lies, the invasion that he, a Vietnam War draft-dodger, ordered.
These photos were taken at the top of Burlington's Church Street wherea half-hour-long antiwar protest took place between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Mondayevening.
I counted 75 Vermonters lining the sidewalk in front of the Unitarian Church. The regular once-a-week antiwar vigils on Fridays normally attract only between five and a dozen stouthearted lovers of truth.
What saith Vermont new and only member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this war anniversary day?
This from Vermont Congressman Peter Welch:
"The Iraq war is already longer than U.S. participation in World War II, World War I, the Korean War, or the Civil War, yet the President continues to disregard sensible advice even from top generals and clings to a failed policy. The need for a change of direction has never been clearer.
The Pentagon now acknowledges that Iraq is in a civil war. The war has strained our military, challenging our ability to respond to new threats. The human cost of the war has been high, with more than 3,100 U.S. casualties and tens of thousands more wounded. And the cost to the American taxpayer is over $600 billion.
"The President has stubbornly said he will veto any measure that calls for a timetable for ending the war. I will not support any legislation without a timetable to end the war.
"Congress must require accountability from the President and Iraq's leaders and provide the leadership necessary to end this war. Four years into this war, it's time for Congress to challenge the President's open-ended commitment of U.S. troops to referee a civil war and provide a new course in Iraq. We must end this war."
Before visiting the peace vigil at the top of Church Street, yours truly indulged the caffeine addiction at Uncommon Grounds. Read real newspapers, too. Two college students at the next table. Fine young men. Studying psychology.
Couldn't help but think they'd be somewhere else if the United States had a draft. In fact, the absence of the college-aged generation at the antiwar protest stuck out like a sore thumb.
Busy getting an "education," eh?