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Washington State Caucuses a Referendum on the War

My campaign is about the end of fear and the beginning of hope. When the lives of men and women who bravely serve this nation are at risk in Iraq, our civil liberties are in peril and the entire U.S. domestic agenda is being sacrificed, we must have the courage to see through the lies that sent us into Iraq. We must reclaim our nation.

The Washington caucuses are a referendum on the Iraq war. Every other Democratic presidential candidate, except the Rev. Al Sharpton, would keep our troops in Iraq for years. I will bring our troops home quickly. I have a plan to work with the United Nations to replace U.S. troops with U.N. peacekeepers.

The United States must ask the United Nations to manage the oil assets of Iraq until the Iraqi people are self-governing. The United Nations must handle all contracts (no more Halliburton sweetheart deals). The United States must renounce any plans to privatize Iraq. The United States must ask the United Nations to handle the transition to Iraqi self-governance. The United States must agree to pay for what we blew up. The United States must pay reparations to the families of innocent Iraqi civilians killed and injured. The United States must contribute to the U.N. peacekeeping mission. The United Nations, through its member nations, will commit 130,000 peacekeepers to Iraq on a temporary basis until the Iraqi people can maintain their own security. U.N. troops will rotate into Iraq and all U.S. troops will come home. The United States will abandon policies of "pre-emption" and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the United Nations.

Five hundred American service men and women have already lost their lives in Iraq; $155 billion has already been spent. If we stay there for years, our troop casualties will go into the thousands. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis will die. More than a trillion dollars could be spent in Iraq, taking away money needed at home for health care, education and housing. Inevitably there will be a draft. The administration is already keeping our troops past their terms of service.

I am the only Democratic candidate with a plan to bring our troops home quickly. All the other candidates, except Sharpton, have unwittingly conceded this singularly important issue, saying "we're stuck there." Washington can make the end of the war in Iraq the defining issue. Your participation in the caucuses can say it's time to get the United Nations in and the United States out of Iraq.

I know that once the United States acts on my plan to get out of Iraq, we can focus the energy and resources of this country on taking care of things here. We will have the resources to provide quality education from pre-kindergarten through college. We can create universal single-payer health care. We can create a full-employment economy. But we must have a dramatic change in direction.

All the oil in Iraq is not worth another drop of blood. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yet the administration is calling up more reserves. Existing troops are being retained against their will. Can a draft be far behind?

The men and women serving this country have a right to expect we will spare no effort in bringing them home quickly. We should not wait for more U.S. helicopters to be shot out of the sky. We should not wait for increasing mortar attacks to exact their toll on our brave troops.

Washington can save the day on Saturday by voting for my plan to bring our troops home by bringing U.N. peacekeepers into Iraq.