| Responsible Plan for 10-Year War in Iraq
By Speaker Nancy Pelosi Oct 15, 2007
After more than four years of a war in Iraq that has cost the lives of thousands of brave men and women in uniform, weakened our military, and cost American taxpayers billions of dollars, President Bush continues to offer a failed policy that is a path to 10 more years of war in Iraq. This plan for the continued occupation of Iraq sends the wrong signal to an Iraqi government that has failed to implement the needed reforms for national reconciliation, and it is against the will of the American people, who want to end this war.
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The American people long ago lost faith in the Presidentís leadership of the war in Iraq ó his rhetoric never matched the reality on the ground. Last month, numerous reports brought to light the realities in Iraq Ė that the surge had failed and that the Iraqi government has not met critical political benchmarks that are necessary for political and military progress. A report by the independent, non-partisan General Accounting Office showed that Iraq failed to meet all but three of the 18 benchmarks laid out by President Bush himself in January. A report from retired military officers led by retired Marine General James Jones found that Iraq is still far from being able to take over security responsibilities in the country. A new National Intelligence Estimate in August provided more evidence that the Iraqi government has not taken the necessary steps to reach political reconciliation, while al Qaeda is regaining strength while our focus is on Iraq instead of combating the real threats of terrorism around the world.
Last November, the American people voted for a New Direction in Iraq, but the President chose instead to escalate the war by pursuing a surge strategy that had failed four times before. The President promised the American people that this surge would be a short-term effort to provide space for political reform and national reconciliation in Iraq. But despite overwhelming evidence that neither goal has been achieved, President Bush continues to pursue a failed strategy that will keep our troops in Iraq for at least another 10 years.
It is long past time to change the mission in Iraq so that the numbers of our brave men and women in uniform can be reduced on a much more aggressive timetable that the one outlined by President Bush. Under the Presidentís plan, at least130,000 Americans will remain in harmís way in Iraq at a cost of hundreds of billions of additional taxpayer dollars.
While President Bush offers a stay-the-course strategy that puts us on a path for 10 years of war in Iraq, Democrats continue to fight for a New Direction and a plan for responsible redeployment so we can begin to address the readiness of a military that is stretched thin and refocus on fighting terrorism around the world. Only then can we make the American people as safe as they should be.
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