Skip to comments.United Democratic Leaders Urge the President to Change Course in Iraq (Pelosi news release......)
Posted on 09/05/2006 9:47:06 AM PDT by Sub-Driver
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 04, 2006
CONTACT: Brendan Daly 202-226-3617 United Democratic Leaders Urge the President to Change Course in Iraq
Washington, DCToday, House and Senate Democratic Leaders and ranking members from the key national security committees wrote to the President about the continued deterioration of the security situation in Iraq. Citing the escalating violence in the five weeks since the leaders' July 30 letter to the President, the letter calls for a new direction in Iraq to include the beginning of a phased redeployment of U.S. troops before the end of 2006. In addition to again urging the President to consider changing his Iraq policy, the letter urges the President to change the civilian leadership at the Department of Defense.
The text of the letter follows below:
September 4, 2006
The President The White House Washington, D.C. Dear Mr. President:
Over one month ago, we wrote to you about the war in Iraq. In the face of escalating violence, increasing instability in the region, and an overall strain on our troops that has reduced their readiness to levels not seen since Vietnam, we called upon you to change course and adopt a new strategy to give our troops and the Iraqi people the best chance for success.
Although you have not responded to our letter, we surmise from your recent press conferences and speeches that you remain committed to maintaining an open-ended presence of U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come. That was the message the American people received on August 21, 2006, when you said, "we're not leaving [Iraq], so long as I'm the President."
Unfortunately, your stay the course strategy is not working. In the five-week period since writing to you, over 60 U.S. soldiers and Marines have been killed, hundreds of U.S. troops have been wounded, many of them grievously, nearly 1,000 Iraqi civilians have died, and the cost to the American taxpayer has grown by another $8 billion dollars. Even the administration's most recent report to Congress on Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq indicates that security trends in Iraq are deteriorating, and likely to continue to worsen for the foreseeable future. With daily attacks against American and Iraqi troops at close to their highest levels since the start of the war, and sectarian violence intensifying, we can only conclude that our troops are caught in the middle of a low-grade civil war that is getting worse.
Meanwhile, the costs of a failed Iraq policy to our military and our security have been staggering. As you know, not a single Army non-deployed combat brigade is currently prepared to meet its wartime mission, and the Marine Corps faces equally urgent equipment and personnel shortages. Lieutenant General Blum, the National Guard Bureau Chief, has stated that the National Guard is "even further behind or in an even more dire situation than the active Army." Your recent decision to involuntarily recall thousands of Marines to active duty to serve in Iraq is but the latest confirmation of the strain this war has placed on our troops. At the same time, the focus on Iraq and the toll it has taken on our troops and on our diplomatic capabilities has diverted our attention from other national security challenges and greatly constrained our ability to deal with them.
In short, Mr. President, this current path for our military, for the Iraqi people, and for our security is neither working, nor making us more secure.
Therefore, we urge you once again to consider changes to your Iraq policy. We propose a new direction, which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort. These proposals were outlined in our July 30th letter and are consistent with the "U.S. Policy in Iraq Act" you signed into law last year.
We also think there is one additional measure you can take immediately to demonstrate that you recognize the problems your policies have created in Iraq and elsewhere consider changing the civilian leadership at the Defense Department. From the failure to deploy sufficient numbers of troops at the start of the war or to adequately equip them, to the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, to disbanding the Iraqi military, to the failure to plan for the post-war occupation, the Administrations mistakes have taken a toll on our troops and our security. It is unacceptable to dismiss the concerns of military personnel and their families when they are affected by the consequences of these failures, as the Secretary of Defense recently did in Alaska by suggesting that volunteers should not complain about having their deployments extended. While a change in your Iraq policy will best advance our chances for success, we do not believe the current civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is suited to implement and oversee such a change in policy.
Mr. President, staying the course in Iraq has not worked and continues to divert resources and attention from the war on terrorism that should be the nations top security priority. We hope you will consider the recommendations for change that we have put forward. We want to work with you in finding a way forward that honors the enormous sacrifice of our troops and promotes U.S. national security interests in the region. We believe our plan will achieve those goals.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee Ike Skelton, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee Joe Biden, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee John Murtha, Ranking Member, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
Boy, those 'Rats sure use a lot of words and fancy phrases for a bunch of people who don't say much and don't even know what in Hell they're talking about.
WOW! That is very strong language from the RATS.
I need to be clear. Everything they want is the exact same thing the President and our military has done except for redeploying our troops before the end of the year.
In other words, Mr. President we agree with you on everything, but you have to cut and run before the end of 06.
I urge all Democratic leaders to take their ideas and fold'em five wways and them....well, you know the rest.
To where? The on-going battles in Okinawa?
"While a change in your Iraq policy will best advance our chances for success, we do not believe the current civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is suited to implement and oversee such a change in policy. "
I am curious who they think can best serve as our next secdef. I am thinking the RATS are considering Kofi Annan when his term expires at the end of the year.
SO the talking meme right now is the Republicans are distancing themselves from president Bush, while the Dems are all united, holding hands and singing "We shall overcome?"
What do the terrorists want? They want the US to cut and run from Iraq.
What do the democrats want? They want the US to cut and run form Iraq. (list few statements of cutting and running from Iraq by Murtha, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, etc )
Vote for the safety of America, vote Republican.
Of course they have to start off with the Vietnam comparisons even though every REAL expert on Vietnam says this is NOT Vietnam. While every American lose of life is tragic it's less than 5% of the numbers we lost in Vietnam. A month ago the Rats were claiming Iraqis were losing 120 lives a day to violence but according to the Pentagon Report it was 3600 for the months of May and June then 1600 for the month of July which averages to 58 lives per day. Not good at 58 per day but not even close to what the Rats have been claiming.
Nan has so many great ideas , why doesn't she seek the office of the presidency ?
I'm sorry, but if you are really trying to work with someone, you don't do it by telling them to change to porve that "that you recognize the problems your policies have created in Iraq and elsewhere".
As to their "plan", I'm pretty sure their first two bullets are already in place: Our troops largely are doing "counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection"; we are ALREADY in a phased redeployment, having removed 15,000 troops, and will remove more as they aren't needed.
On their other two points, those are just meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country, namely Iraq. There's no changes possible to the constitution of Iraq right now, because as the Vice President of Iraq noted last week, the Sunni's have NOT SUBMITTED ANY REQUEST FOR CHANGES. And since the problems in Iraq are sectarian violence between citizens of a sovereign country, there is no justification, or precidence, for another nation to call for an international conference to "to support a political settlement in Iraq".
Imagine if Russia called for an international conference to support a political settlement in the United States between the democrats and republicans, and you can see how offensive that suggestion would be to the now-standing Iraqi government.
The Democrats proposal pretends there is NO IRAQI GOVERNMENT. NONE of their steps involves the Iraqi government in any way, nor are any a result of request from the Iraqi government. They ignore the government because, just like they feel with the Bush Administration, they seem to think the Iraqi government is illegitimate.
I thought Irey had a great rebuttal to this.
As for the lastest from Nancy, vacuous as always and offering nothing.
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