Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sen. Nelson Urged "Don't Surrender to Al Qaeda"

by Kyle Michaelis
If you've been watching cable news over the last week, there's a good chance you caught the TV ad by Vets for Freedom promising that "we and the Iraqi people can prevail UNLESS CONGRESS SURRENDERS." The ad then urges "SENATOR NELSON - DON'T SURRENDER TO AL QAEDA."

The video can be watched here. Otherwise, below you can watch the exact same ad directed at Virginia's Republican Senator John Warner.

Warner and Nelson appear to be the only two Senators targeted by this campaign, although similar ads are being aired thanking Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for not giving into pressure "from those who will accept defeat."

This is a pretty clear demonstration of just how essential a voice Ben Nelson's has become in guiding the Senate's actions in Iraq. I've been quite upfront with my praise of Nelson for advocating so measured an approach that has established true standards by which the situation's progress could be judged. But, I'll admit to being concerned that Nelson might not stand fast by the benchmarks he proposed under this sort of lobbying pressure.

If you think the situation in Iraq is going to take a little bit more than crossing our fingers and staying the course, then it really does fall on us to make sure that Sen. Nelson and the people of Nebraska hear alternative voices other than these "Vets for Freedom" - who have a clear agenda of preventing Congress from forcing any true reform no matter how dire the situation reported (with sugar-coating) by General Petraeus in September.

Nelson needs to know that Nebraskans support his calls for accountability and for proof of a workable strategy that includes an actual exit plan. Of course, I don't think NNN readers can probably afford dueling advertisements to counteract what you see above. But, what you can do is call Sen. Nelson's Washington D.C. office at (202) 224-6551. Or, send him an e-mail through his website. Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper (see right) always help as well.

Nelson's heard a lot from groups like "Vets for Freedom" and from Hal Daub's "Stay the Course" Republicans because they know how decisive a vote his can be in so closely-divided a Senate. Now, it's long past time that he hear from those who prefer peace and realistic possibilities to another four years of pride-filled fantasies.

By staying silent, we might well be surrendering Sen. Nelson's vote and - with it - any chance for a new strategy in Iraq before the next president is elected. We've come too far and waited too long to surrender to this war without end. Ultimately, if we want Nelson to stand strong in demanding change in Iraq, we must stand with him or not be disappointed when he decides to stand down.

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