Live Earth concerts around the world this weekend along with Senator Bernie Sanders's town meeting on global warming in Montpelier are shining a spotlight on one of the most important issues that Congress must confront this summer. The war in Iraq, of course, is the other crucial issue at the top of the Senate agenda when Congress reconvenes on Monday.
Sanders is the chief sponsor of legislation that would do more than any other bill in the Senate to reverse climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The town meeting in Montpelier puts a Vermont accent on a weekend of worldwide attention to the man-made threat to our planet's environment. His bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2050. "With 10 of the last 12 years being the warmest on record, we are already seeing major problems caused by the warming of the earth," Sanders said. "Global warming is real and it is man-made. Every day that passes that we do not take aggressive action to reverse it is a day that we are punishing our children and grandchildren. The time to act is now," Sanders said.
It also is time -- in fact, it's past time - to end the war in Iraq. "I'm going to do everything I can to bring our troops home as soon as possible," Sanders said.
In Washington, a crucial development in recent days has been the decision by longtime Bush loyalists to break with the president on the war. Reuters reported on Friday that "Bush's Iraq war policy continued to hemorrhage support in the U.S. Senate as another senior Republican called on Thursday for a new strategy that would start to bring troops home. A day after Bush appealed to Americans to be more patient with the unpopular war, six-term New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, who is up for re-election next year, urged a new course."
Meanwhile, Sanders has continued to champion our veterans and the needs of troops on the ground in Iraq. The Burlington Free Press reported Friday that Sanders responded to concerns of Vermont soldiers in Iraq by writing Acting Army Secretary Preston Geren III about the need for more heavily armored vehicles. "It is almost incomprehensible to me that, after four years of war and dealing with IEDs, we still do not have enough well-armored vehicles to protect our soldiers," Sanders said.
Read the report on growing Senate opposition the Iraq war here.
Read the Free Press article on armored vehicles here.