Gary Kurpius

I strongly urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to stop his defeatist rhetoric because of the negative impact it is having on the morale of American forces and their families.

On April 2, Senator Reid proclaimed during a press conference that the Iraq war was "a failure." He also announced he would submit legislation to end all funding for the war if President Bush made good on his promise to veto any funding bill that contained troop withdrawal timelines. The Senate version of the $123 billion emergency war supplemental contains language that would withdraw the bulk of the 145,000 American troops from Iraq by April 2008.

And again, at a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday, Reid repeated his mantra of surrender by stating "This war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything."

Senator Reid claims to be a legislator who knows how to compromise, but he needs to realize his repeated comments are having an extremely negative impact on our troops, their families and our allies around the world. You can't support the troops without supporting what it is they do. In a combat zone that translates into one word: the mission.

The Vietnam generation was blamed for losing their war because of politicians in Washington who wouldn't let the generals be generals.

But the good senator from Nevada would have us repeat history again and have America known for the rest of the 21st century as a nation that can't finish what it starts. He would have this new generation of warriors come home to a nation that - regardless of all the 'Support the Troops' decals and political speeches - only loves winners. And he would once again have us quit on our troops, even though they haven't quit on us or their mission in Iraq."

America has new leadership in the Pentagon and on the ground in Iraq with a new plan that is jstarting to show signs of success.

Despite what the senator thinks, our commanders have faith that the ongoing surge will prove to be the final key that the Iraqis need to finally secure their own country. Our patience is not unlimited, but if our troops have faith, the VFW has faith, so should America.

Those who have served in harm's way know that good morale comes from having secure knowledge that your country and family supports you and the mission you perform. No matter how Senator Reid attempts to frame or assuage his comments, he is destroying troop morale with his defeatist talk and his insistence to cut troop funding. We all want the war to end, but how it ends is very important to this generation of servicemen and women, and to future generations of Americans who may choose to serve their nation in uniform.

This issue isn't Democratic or Republican, it's about American men and women who we sent to war and now some want to pull back before they finish their job.

Senator Reid should understand that the time to debate the war is not in front of a microphone making irresponsible statements, and it's certainly not in the funding bill that keeps our troops alive. If our troops need funds, it is the responsibility of Congress to provide them the money. Debate the war elsewhere.


Gary Kurpius

Gary Kurpius is the Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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