In my first installment of "Joe Knows," I will be telling Democrats how to most effectively articulate their policy positions on the current conflict in Iraq. My goal is to transform them from wimps to political gladiators who kick ass. Then at least we will have a real debate.
Monday I will offer advice on Iraq to Republicans. And that will be the speech I would actually give were I running this year. But since the Democrats need more help in figuring out what their party believes on the war, i thought I would start with them.
The way I see it, America needs a real debate on the real issues facing our country in the 21st Century. So long as politicians on both sides skirt the issues, Americans will be the losers. And since Democrats have been so helplessly tongue-tied on Iraq, I could think of no better place to start than with the war.
So here goes (campaign managers, cut and paste starting here):
"Friends, I'm sorry. I really am. When you sent me to Washington, I promised to do my best in representing you, but sometimes, even giving your best is not enough. One of those times I messed up was when I voted for the war in Iraq.
You know what my biggest mistake was? Trusting the Bush Administration.
George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld all told me America was in great danger because of Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear weapon programs. Heck, even the CIA director told me it was a slam dunk.
One year after September 11th I, along with 75% of Americans, believed the Commander in Chief. But what a mistake that was.
America now finds itself involved in a brutal war that will last longer than the Civil War, both World Wars and Korea. Iraq's security situation is worse than ever, and even our troops tell me that civil war is right around the corner.
So what do we do?
Blaming George Bush is not enough. Blaming George Bush won't win a war, won't rebuild fractured alliances and won't bring our troops home.
FDR didn't look back after Pearl Harbor and neither should we now look back on the mistakes of the past. This election isn't about that past.
It is about America's future.
Right now, America is spending $1.5 billion a week in Iraq. Generals are saying it may take up to 15 years to secure that country.
That means some of the 9 year olds you pass at bus stops next week will be fighting and dying in Iraq if the Bush Pentagon has its way.
That means America will pay over $1.5 trillion on Iraq before the end of this tragic adventure.
That means America will be stretched thin not only militarily but also economically.
Friends, my momma always told me that no matter how far you get down a trail, if it is the wrong one, turn around. That's what America must have the courage to do, That's what our leaders must have the courage to do. That is what I will have the courage to do.
In fighting to get our troops home, I will be fighting to put America first. I will be fighting to protect your tax dollars. I will be fighting to protect our troops' lives and I will be fighting to strengthen our military to insure that instead of being tied down in Iraq, we be strong enough to face the very real threats caused by North Korea and Iran.
Enough is enough!
Send George Bush a message. Tell him America can no longer spend our children into permanent debt and lose more lives in a three-sided civil war that America cannot end. And tell him we have given Iraq their first three Democratic elections. It is now time to let them determine their destiny as we once again begin focusing on ours.
You can send George W. Bush that message and put America first again by casting your vote for me on November 7th. Together we can make sure that our country's greatest days lie ahead.
Thank you and may God bless our troops overseas and bless the United States of America.