May 09 2007

Graham Accepts Petition Signed by Service Members Urging Congress to Support Iraq Mission

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) led U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives in accepting a petition – the Appeal for Courage -- signed by more than 2,800 U.S. service members urging Congress to support the mission in Iraq and end calls for retreat.  A full 60 percent of the petition signers have previously served or are now serving in Iraq.

“The men and women who are doing the fighting and dying -- the ultimate stakeholders -- want to send a different message than Congress is sending,” said Graham.  “They want people to know they are committed to Victory in Iraq and they don’t want Congress to undercut them.  They know victory is possible.  I hear them and I wish others would too.”

The Appeal for Courage petition was started in February by two U.S. service members serving in Iraq: Lieutenant Jason Nichols, a Navy Information Professional officer and Staff Sergeant David Thul, of the Minnesota National Guard.  It states:

“As an American currently serving my nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to fully support our mission in Iraq and halt any calls for retreat.  I also respectfully urge my political leaders to actively oppose media efforts which embolden my enemy while demoralizing American support at home. The War in Iraq is a necessary and just effort to bring freedom to the Middle East and protect America from further attack.”

The petition was presented by Bob Wallace, Executive Director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), on behalf of the petitioner’s organizers.  The elected officials at the event included Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), and Congressman Adam Putnam (R-Florida).

In a statement this morning LT Nichols and SSG Thul said:

"This Appeal is a direct communication to Congress from the currently serving military troops. We are respectfully asking for full support in finishing the mission you assigned us here in Iraq.  Patience and resolve will result in a stable democratic country in the Middle East.  Early withdrawal will result in a stronger enemy, a weaker America, and a demoralized US Armed forces.  Building a new democracy takes time, and we are making steady progress. We need your support to finish the job."


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