Campaign 2010

Jun 05, 2006

Vermont State Sen. Peter Welch Delivers Democratic Radio Address

DCCC Press

Jun 5, 2006

Vermont State Sen. Peter Welch Delivers Democratic Radio Address

Listen to him give the national response to the president’s weekly radio address.

(Washington, D.C.) – Vermont State Senator and candidate for Congress Peter Welch delivered the national Democratic response to the president’s weekly radio address. Peter Welch is running for Congress to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Bernie Sanders. Welch’s address was the fourth by a congressional candidate this cycle and called for a plan for success after more than three years and nearly 2,500 American lives lost in Iraq. The address focused on the struggles in Iraq and called for renewed accountability, credibility and competence in handling the ongoing conflict.

WHO: Vermont State Senator Peter Welch

WHAT: Weekly Democratic Radio Address

WHEN: Saturday, Jun 3, 2006 (at various times across the country)

WHERE: Major radio networks, including ABC, AP, AURN, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, American Forces Radio, Voice of America, BBC, CBC, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Listen to the Address.

Below is a transcript of his remarks:

State Senator Peter Welch
National Radio Address
“It is Time for Accountability, Credibility and Competence in Iraq”

Good morning, this is State Senator Peter Welch from Vermont.

The men and women of our armed forces fighting in Iraq are the finest in the world. But with no clear strategy for success, President Bush and his Republican Congress have failed them for far too long.

I have traveled all over the state of Vermont and from farmers to university professors, people are frustrated with the loss of life in Iraq and the way things are going on the ground.

Nearly 2,500 families have lost loved ones in Iraq and more than 18,000 have had a loved one injured badly. The large majority of our causalities occurred after President Bush declared three years ago, "mission accomplished," aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. It was one year ago that Dick Cheney said the insurgency was in "its last throes."

President Bush says repeatedly we must "stay the course," but the American people have had enough and it is long past time to change course.

We must ensure that 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty. We must establish clear benchmarks for the Iraqis to take care of their own country and defend themselves, so that we can transition our troops out and move to fight a smarter war on terrorism -- including doing a better job of securing our ports and our borders.

In April, eight retired generals -- including two who commanded troops on the ground in Iraq -- called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. I agree -- Rumsfeld must go.

But for all of the mistakes and misjudgments of Secretary Rumsfeld, the ultimate responsibility for our situation in Iraq rests with President Bush.

One of the eight generals who called for Rumsfeld's resignation, Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, said, "...the commitment of our forces (to the Iraq war) was done with a casualness and swagger..." Well we have seen far too much swagger and not enough planning from President Bush and the Republican leadership in Washington.

The Republican Rubber Stamp Congress has failed to do its duty when it comes to the oversight of this Administration. Congress has a responsibility to ensure accountability for the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the Iraq war. Instead of allowing our government to be over-billed by companies like Halliburton, Congress should practice genuine congressional oversight and investigate the way the Bush Administration doles out contracts.

But the Republican Congress refuses to ask the tough questions and demand honest answers about the Administration's conduct of the war. America deserves better -- we need a different Congress in Washington next year.

Our troops deserve to be treated like the heroes they are and should never face months of waiting for something as critical as health care. Yet, as recently as two weeks ago, the Republican Congress voted against saving veterans from paying $735 million in increased health care costs, and to maintain a tax on military families.

At a time when Congress votes for more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, votes like these against our veterans are a moral disgrace.

Families in Vermont and all over America are frustrated and rightly so. At a time when all the Bush Administration offers us is an open-ended commitment in Iraq, with no real strategy to meet America's goals, the last thing we need in Washington is another Bush Republican who simply rubber stamps this Administration's misguided policies on Iraq.

As a State Senator, I have worked hard to earn the trust of the families I represent; and as a candidate for Congress, I support a long overdue plan for returning responsibility of Iraq to the Iraqi people and I will always be direct with the people of Vermont.

It is time for accountability, credibility and competence when it comes to Iraq. When I get to Washington, I pledge to work for all three as part of a new Congress that offers a new direction for our country.

This is State Senator Peter Welch of Vermont. Thanks for listening.