Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Durbin: "How many sleepless nights have our soldiers and their families spent?"

Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois took to the floor of the Senate yesterday afternoon and gave a wonderful speech in which he went after the GOP leadership for how ridiculously difficult they've made it for Democrats to change course in Iraq as the American people have demanded.

Here's Durbin talking about how Senate Republicans, by filibustering everything that comes before the body, have created their own reality of a 60-vote majority being required to pass anything, despite the fact that the Senate doesn’t actually conduct its business like that:
"It's unfortunate and it's wrong. It is wrong to require 60 percent of this body to vote this way if traditionally on this war in Iraq we've required only a simple majority. I suppose it's encouraging to us that more than 60 percent of the American people get it. They understand how failed this policy has been of the Bush Administration, the policy that's being supported by the Minority Leader of the United States Senate.

"They understand it. They want us to do something about it. But the Senator from Kentucky has thrown this obstacle in our path. he has created this procedural roadblock. He has filibustered -- starting a filibuster to stop the debate on the war in Iraq."
And Durbin lashed the Republicans for calling the Democratic plan to shock the GOP back to reality a "stunt" rather than accepting the shame that should come from pushing the Senate to this point:
"One of the critics of this recently called it a stunt, a stunt that we would stay in session. A stunt that we would have a sleepless night for Senators, a stunt that we would inconvenience senators and staff and press and those who follow the proceedings. I don't think it's a stunt. I think it reflects the reality of this war.

"How many sleepless nights have our soldiers and their families spent waiting to find out whether they'll come home alive? How many sleepless nights have they spent praying that after the second and third redeployment that their soldier will still have the courage and strength to beat back the enemy and come home to his family? It's about time for the Senate to spend at least one sleepless night. Maybe it's only a symbol but it's an important symbol for the soldiers and families."
Have a look at a video clip that has much of Durbin's speech: