David Sanders Discusses Support For Our Troops And A New Justification For The War In Iraq

Thursday, September 14, 2006—Dr. David Sanders, candidate for the office of U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana, appeared at a press conference at 10:00 AM Thursday, September 14, 2006 at the Tippecanoe County Democratic Headquarters, 320 Main Street in Lafayette.

Dr. Sanders stated, "Over the last few years a variety of reasons for the war in Iraq have been presented. Most of them have been discarded. I am very concerned about a new justification that I have been hearing recently. This rationale states that a benefit of the war in Iraq is that United States forces are gaining valuable experience in counterinsurgency tactics.

"The idea that the war in Iraq is a beneficial training exercise is unacceptable. I want our National Guardsmen to be training for natural disasters here in the United States. They should not be training for the perpetual war that the Administration is now describing.

"I am very concerned about the idea of the exposure of our troops to terrorist I.E.D.s as a process of hardening them for future combat. I am most alarmed that our troops are being placed in harm's way without adequate armor and equipment as an educational process when the lessons of the past have not been learned.

"The Administration apparently failed to learn that toppling a government that is neighbored by regimes that are hostile to us leads to a vacuum into which our enemies rush. As many people warned, the war in Iraq has strengthened the power of Iran and caused the multiplication of terrorists. The Administration failed to learn that the terrorists are also gaining valuable experience in how to attack American forces. The Administration failed to learn the value of high-quality human intelligence and of distinguishing fact from fiction. The Administration failed to learn that it must have the resources to complete a military objective in one theater, such as Afghanistan, before choosing to begin another military deployment. The Administration failed to learn how to prepare for the aftermath of military victory. The Administration failed to learn the lesson that one must understand the cultures of countries that one wants to reshape. The Administration has failed to learn the necessity for military readiness for the achievement of success. The Administration failed to learn that a war requires sacrifice from the American people—it needs to be funded while it is being fought. The Administration failed to learn that the American people will back the actions of a government that it trusts, but will refuse its support when it feels it has been deceived. These failures are recognized across the political spectrum.

"A critical factor for our troops is their morale. General and President George Washington stated, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.'

"As many as 200,000 American male and female veterans are homeless. One-third of homeless men living on the street are veterans. Women who are veterans are four times more likely to become homeless then other women. About half of all homeless veterans suffer from mental illness. It has been documented that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are at risk of becoming homeless. A very recent United States Government Accountability Office report states that there is a shortfall of 9600 beds for homeless veterans. These homeless veterans need and deserve our help. I will therefore support the Homeless Veterans Assistance Act of 2006 that attempts to both prevent and end homeless among veterans.

"The morale of our troops is also dependent on how they perceive their families are being treated at home. I therefore support a provision of the Senate version of the 2007 defense appropriations, which, it has been reported, is opposed by House Republicans, that obligates the federal government to give its employees more flexibility to use earned leave time to care for their families during the period that a family member is on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"The expression, 'Support our Troops' needs to be amended. It should be "Support our Troops and their Families/Support our Troops Present and Past/Support our Troops Overseas and at Home."



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