'Enough is enough'; Democrats blast Bush speech
Wednesday January 10, 2007
The following are statements by Democratic Congressional members sent to RAW STORY shortly after President Bush's speech. More will be added as we receive them.
Senator Russ Feingold's statement:
"Tonight, the President ignored the recommendations of members of both parties, military leaders, foreign policy experts, and the will of the American people by announcing that he intends to escalate our involvement in Iraq by sending more troops there. Congress must bring an end to what has been one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation. The President continues to deny the devastating impact that keeping our brave troops in Iraq is having on our national security. The American people have rejected the Administration’s Iraq-centric foreign policy. It is time to bring our troops out of Iraq and refocus on defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten this country."
Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) tonight also responded to President Bush’s Iraq policy address:
"Nearly four years old, President Bush’s War in Iraq has been an abysmal failure,” said Stark. “The war has cost more than $400 billion and taken the lives of more than 3,000 brave American troops and countless Iraqis. Time and time again, President Bush and Republicans in Congress made false claims about our supposed progress, only to have the situation on the ground get worse and worse. Today, our troops remain in harms way, even as Iraq has spiraled into civil war."
"In his address, President Bush committed to more of the same – more troops, more wishful thinking, and more empty slogans," Stark continued.
"Bush didn’t offer a new strategy, he offered new spin. Republicans have repeatedly promised the Iraqis would soon take control of their own security. But the presence of American troops has made and will continue to make such an outcome less likely."
"Enough is enough. It is past time Congress takes America’s best interests into its own hands. I oppose escalation and, given the opportunity, will vote against providing billions in funding to deploy thousands of additional troops. Rather than send more servicemen and women to die in Iraq, we should serve the will of the American people and bring all of our troops home," Stark concluded.
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Richard Durbin released the following statement tonight on President Bush's address to the nation on the war in Iraq:
"Last November, the American people delivered a strong message of no confidence in the President's Iraq policy and clearly expressed their desire for a new direction. The President had an opportunity tonight to demonstrate that he understood the depth of the concern in the country, make a long overdue course correction, and articulate a clear mission for our engagement in Iraq. Instead, he chose to escalate our involvement in Iraq's civil war by proposing a substantial increase in the number of our forces there. This proposal endangers our national security by placing additional burdens on our already over-extended military thereby making it even more difficult to respond to other crises.
"While we all want to see a stable and peaceful Iraq, many current and former senior military leaders have made clear that sending more American combat troops does not advance that goal. Our troops have performed the difficult missions given to them in Iraq with great courage. The Congress and the American people will continue to support them and provide them with every resource they need. But our military forces deserve a policy commensurate with the sacrifices they have been asked to make. Regrettably, the President has not provided that tonight.
"Rather than escalating our involvement in Iraq by sending additional troops, we believe that a plan for the way forward in Iraq requires these elements:
- Shifting greater responsibility to the Iraqis for their security and transitioning the principal mission of our forces from combat to training, logistics, force protection, and counter terrorism operations;
- Beginning the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months; and
- Implementing an aggressive diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, which reflects the continuing obligation of the international community to help stabilize Iraq and which assists the Iraqis in achieving a sustainable political settlement, including by amending their constitution.
"Iraqi political leaders will not take the necessary steps to achieve a political resolution to the sectarian problems in their country until they understand that the U.S. commitment is not open-ended. Escalating our military involvement in Iraq sends precisely the wrong message and we oppose it.
"In the days ahead, Congress will exercise its Constitutional responsibilities by giving the President's latest proposal the scrutiny our troops and the American people expect. We will demand answers to the tough questions that have not been asked or answered to date. The American people want a change of course in Iraq. We intend to keep pressing President Bush to provide it."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) issued the following statement:
"Americans turned to the president this evening hoping to hear a new strategy and a real plan to win the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. But while the country listened for a plan, all they heard was more of the same.
"Yesterday, I urged the President to answer five questions regarding his plans to escalate the war in Iraq:
1) What is the specific mission of these additional troops?
2) What is the cost associated with sending additional troops to secure Iraq?
3) How long will these additional troops remain in Iraq?
4) What are the benchmarks for success of these troops and the mission?
5) What steps will the President take to ensure that increasing the troops in Iraq will not hinder our ability to fight the war on terror and ensure our safety at home?
"Tonight, the President failed to answer these questions fully, and he failed to offer a real plan for success in Iraq. After three years, more than 3,000 lives lost, and 300 billion dollars spent, Congress and the American people will not support the President's plan to risk more lives and commit more dollars to support a failed strategy."