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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vets For Freedom Announcement!!!!

Lt. Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division from 2005 to 2006, is executive director of Vets for Freedom.

Vets for Freedom represents America on a Global Stage

For the past six months, Vets for Freedom has taken the lead in America in explaining—and supporting—the new counter-insurgency strategy being implemented with great success in Iraq.

Tonight, December 11, we will take that message to the world.

This evening, Pete Hegseth, Executive Director of Vets for Freedom, will represent our country during a debate in London about the future of Iraq. The debate will be hosted by Intelligence Squared, the most prominent debating forum in Europe, and will be broadcast on BBC World television, which has an audience of over 76 million people worldwide.

Hegseth will join prominent British author William Shawcross by promoting the motion that states, “the surge is working, let’s win before we leave.” They will be debating against four other panelists, among them Ali Allawi, former Iraqi Minister of Defense, and Tony Benn, the President of Britain’s “Stop the War Coalition” and 40-year member of the British parliament.

Hegseth will give 8 minutes of remarks and then participate in an hour of debate and Q&A. At the conclusion of the debate, the sold-out London audience will vote on the motion.

“What an incredible opportunity to represent our country and speak directly to the world about the incredible progress happening in Iraq,” said Hegseth. “BBC World is watched around the globe, and this is an opportunity to represent our country and our military in order to dispel myths about our mission and conduct in Iraq."

For more information about the debate, go to:

The debate will be taped and broadcast on BBC World at a later date, and Vets for Freedom will provide air times when they become available.

Also, the following op-ed appeared in today's Washington Times, and I wanted to make sure you were one of the first to see it. The op-ed argues that Congress needs to fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan before they go home for Christmas, especially in light of incredible success in Iraq.
Enjoy the debate and the article,

Pete Hegseth

Iraq War Veteran
Executive Director, Vets for Freedom

The article:

American troops are winning

December 11, 2007

By Pete Hegseth - In May and June, overall attacks in Iraq were at their highest levels since the war began, monthly coalition deaths were near an all-time high, and violence against civilians was still at staggering levels. To most observers, the war in Iraq was not going well.

At the same time, members of Congress were already declaring the "surge" a failure and stepping up their "timeline for withdrawal" rhetoric. Anti-war Democrats, and a few Republicans, cited "realities on the ground" as compelling evidence to call for an immediate, or more nuanced "phased," end to the war.

These same "realities," also emboldening anti-war groups to declare an "Iraq Summer," during which they would finally crush domestic support for the war and force Congress to de-fund the mission there. and others dispatched operatives around the country and harassed members of Congress.

Truthfully, as we now know, these "realities" on the ground were the unfortunate birth pangs of the new counter-insurgency strategy being implemented by Gen. David Petraeus. Some on Capitol Hill understood this fact in June, and their courage in those dark days kept Congress from prematurely declaring defeat in Iraq.

In June, the full compliment of surge forces had just arrived, hence the violence levels hadn't yet ebbed; by June, American forces had moved off of large bases and defensive positions, and into an offensive posture among the population, hence the initially high casualty rate; and in June, al Qaeda had yet to felt the full shock of the surge, hence their continue brutality.

But that was then, and this is now; and Iraq in December 2007 is a drastically different place than Iraq in June 2007. Overall attack levels are now at the lowest levels since 2005, monthly coalition deaths are nearing an all-time low, and violence against Iraqi civilians has been reduced by more than 60 percent, according to the anti-war site

However, the more things change in Iraq, the more they stay the same on Capitol Hill. For the past month, with a few off-handed exceptions, Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill has largely refused to acknowledge success. They are stuck in the talking points of June, and stuck on a narrative of failure.

Despite the incredible progress made by our military — which has opened the door for real and sustainable political progress in Iraq — the Democratic leadership continues to insist that we de-fund the war and bring the troops home no matter what. Beholden to entrenched and noisy anti-war interest groups, the Democrat leadership in Washington seems willing to cut-off much needed funding, placing our brave troops in harms way.

In response to these overtly political threats, the Pentagon recently made plans to lay off more than 100,000 DOD employees across America in order to re-allocate money to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What the Democratic leadership seems to forget is that these employees are responsible for training, equipping and supporting the troops in the field.

In short, for the sake of placating and other radical anti-war groups, the Democratic leadership is willing to lay off thousands of employees in America and under cut the incredible success of our troops in Iraq. Such logic is perverse and infuriating, especially to courageous Democrats like Reps. Brian Baird and Jim Marshall, who have moved beyond partisanship to support the success being achieved in Iraq.

The troops in Iraq today — many of whom I served with in 2006 — are the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. And today, with a coherent strategy that finally compliments their tactical proficiency, they are defeating al Qaeda and Iranian-proxy groups. How members of Congress, sitting in their air-conditioned offices, can consider cutting off their funding is beyond comprehension.

The Iraq war has been difficult, and it has cost America dearly in lives and treasure. But now is not the time to play politics with the troops and their funding. If the "realities" of June had persisted until December, then talk of a phased withdrawal and funding restrictions would be reasonable.

But reality has changed, and the Democratic leadership needs to have the courage to acknowledge great success in Iraq, and swallow their pride long enough to do what is best for the troops and their important mission. Congress needs to fund the troops immediately, before heading home to enjoy a holiday season that our troops — and my fellow soldiers in the 101st Airborne — will spend in harm's way.

Pete, Thanks for the email.