Eearlier this week the Senate had an opportunity to begin debate on Iraq and the current plan proposed by President Bush. While I and 48 of my colleagues supported moving forward with this important debate, others in this chamber elected to prevent discussion on an issue of national importance.

I understand that there are doubts as to what is the proper course of action to pursue in Iraq. We all wish for victory. We all wish for an end to the death and destruction. None of us want to waste additional lives in futile missions, or futile gestures. We all wish for a stable, democratic Iraq – and I would add to that Afghanistan, as this conflict is being waged on more than one front. We all share those common desires and none of us, none of us can predict the future. But what we can do is to apply our wisdom and judgment as to what is the best course of action for the United States to take – that task is our solemn duty.

We cannot perform that duty with all the honesty and clarity that this great Body

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