Reacts from Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr., Joe Biden, John Shimkus, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan Schakowsky, John Kerry, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Russ Feingold
I’m stringing several statements here from members of Congress….
COME TO GRIPS WITH REALITY AND REVERSE COURSE
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. today issued the following statement: “I’m vigorously opposed to President Bush’s plan to send additional troops into Iraq. His decision to escalate American involvement in the Iraq War goes against the interests of the United States and the will of the American people. Make no mistake — this is George W. Bush’s War.
“It’s illogical: This is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. This has been tried twice before and has not worked.
“It’s deceptive: This is not a “surge,” but rather an escalation of American troops and American involvement, which will tragically cause even more death and destruction — on top of the more than 3,000 American troops who have already died, and the many more who have been seriously wounded and permanently disabled.
“It’s backwards: This is an attempt to impose a half-baked, unworkable military solution, when Iraq needs a political one. Rather than a military escalation, the situation requires a diplomatic and political intensification. The American military must stand down so that the Iraqi people will stand up and assume responsibility for their own future.
“It’s a colossal failure: This ignores reality and plunges further down a dark and disastrous hole. As a result of the White House’s delusions and denial, Iraq is in Civil War; the Middle East is in crisis; our enemies are emboldened; the U.S. military has been strained; the U.S. treasury has been drained; our allies have been alienated; and the world is more dangerous.
“In the November Elections, the American people sent a clear message: DO NOT stay the course in Iraq, squandering billions of our tax dollars and recklessly putting our brave soldiers into harm’s way — smack in the middle of a bloody civil war. But, the White House refuses to listen. They reject the views of the Iraq Study Group, most of the nation’s top military officials, the American people and their elected representatives.
“As Democrats, we support our troops. But, we don’t support the commander-in-chief sending our bravest on a fool’s errand — to die for a lie in the desert.
Jackson concluded, “We must start to come to grips with reality, reverse course and withdraw our military forces from Iraq, now!”
SEN. JOE BIDEN REACTS PRESIDENT BUSH’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr (D-DE) offered the following reaction to President Bush’s address to the nation tonight on Iraq:
“I listened carefully to the President tonight. Sending more American troops to the epicenter of a vicious civil war is not the answer. Escalation wont solve the problem it will compound it.”
Senator Biden will offer additional reaction to President Bush’s remarks during tomorrow’s hearing on Iraq in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Washington, DC…..Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-19) reacted to the
by President George W. Bush in a White House speech Wednesday night for
greater Iraqi government responsibility for that country’s defense,
fortified by additional
American troops in support:
“No one is pleased with our current status in Iraq. Failure is not an
option, as a failed
state will be an additional breeding ground for insurrection in the region
and Al Queada
success. By supporting Iraqi troop engagement against sectarian violence,
presents the best last hope to accomplish the mission of a free and
state prepared to protect and defend its citizens. This plan is our best
hope for quicker
redeployment of our troops, eventually out of Iraq.”
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON REGARDING THE PRESIDENTS SPEECH ON IRAQ
Based on the Presidents speech tonight, I cannot support his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.
The Presidents Iraq policy has been marred by incompetence and arrogance as his Administration has refused to recognize the military and political reality on the ground. American troops continue to serve and sacrifice in Iraq, performing magnificently and bravely. But as our commanders have said repeatedly, Iraq requires a political solution, not a purely military one, and we did not hear such a proposed solution tonight.
The President simply has not gotten the message sent loudly and clearly by the American people, that we desperately need a new course. The President has not offered a new direction, instead he will continue to take us down the wrong road only faster. The Presidents speech failed to adequately address the political situation in Iraq, rising sectarian violence, mounting strain on our military, growing Iranian influence, and festering divides over how to distribute oil revenues.
As I have said, as the American people have demanded, and as the facts on the ground require, we need a new course and an end to the current failed policy. I continue to urge a strategy that places pressure on the Iraqi government to resolve the political crisis through phased redeployment of U.S. troops, establishes an Iraqi Oil Trust to end the stalemate over oil, and pursues an aggressive diplomatic strategy including an international conference of the regional parties to further the task of Iraqs stability.
Emanuel Statement on President Bush’s Plan to Escalate the War in Iraq
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) issued the following statement following President Bush’s address to the nation:
“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.”
SCHAKOWSKY: BUSH ESCALATION SUCKS U.S. TROOPS DEEPER INTO IRAQ CIVIL WAR WHEN MILITARY SOLUTION NOT POSSIBLE
Americans reject plan; await redeployment
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, a founding member of the Out-of-Iraq Caucus, today released the following statement on the President’s plans to escalate U.S. troop levels in Iraq:
“My office has been flooded with letters and calls from constituents who want the President to begin bringing our troops home from Iraq. According to a new poll, an overwhelming number of Americans 61 percent — are opposed to any escalation. Instead of a plan to begin redeployment, Americans heard a giant sucking sound from President Bush tonight, pulling our troops further into the civil war that has already taken the lives of so many of our brave sons and daughters.”
“The President is dealing with an Iraq that only exists in his imagination. I challenge the President to answer the questions: Who are our allies? Who are our enemies? What does winning mean? How long will American troops be there? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice? Escalation presumes that a military solution is still possible in Iraq. The catastrophe facing Iraq is political, and yet there is no evidence of a political process that has any hope of achieving reconciliation.”
“Escalation makes the grave error of invading Iraq even worse. I am cosponsoring H.R. 353, the Markey-Kennedy Bill, which would prevent the President from spending another taxpayer dollar to increase troop levels in Iraq without the consent of Congress.”
“Our military may be able to help one armed faction destroy another, but national reconciliation is not possible until Iraq’s ethnic groups demonstrate the will to unify the nation. Already, most of Iraq’s middle class has left and 50,000 people a month have fled their homes because of ethnic cleansing. The lines between the police, the armies, and the militias are blurred.”
“After 4 years, it is time for President Bush to wake up and realize that his policy in Iraq has failed. Now we must renew our military, work to restore our diplomatic credibility, and above all, begin redeploying our troops from Iraq.”
Kerry Responds to Bush Address on Iraq
Bush plan Is Neither New nor Forward Looking
Says Congress Must Stop Bush Escalation of War
WASHINGTON, DC Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) said today that he strongly opposes the Bush administrations plan for expanding the US troop presence in Iraq and urged the president to redouble his effort to find a political and international solution to the worsening civil war in Iraq. Kerry said there was little support in Congress for expanding the war in Iraq and said the president must ask lawmakers to vote on a new authorization of the war if he wants to expand the mission beyond the current one.
This plan is neither new nor forward looking. This is more of whats taken us backwards. Theres no military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution, and the President has no plan to achieve it. Were caught in a civil war in Iraq. Escalation is not the answer. The best answer is to set a deadline to bring our heroes home, force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq, and get Iraqs neighbors to start taking more responsibility for Iraqs security.
Tomorrow, Senator Kerry will ask Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the war in Iraq to say how this plan differs from a similar plan proposed by President Bush in 2005.
# # #
Boehner Statement on President’s New Strategy for Iraq
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement tonight after the President outlined his new strategy for the war in Iraq:
“Victory in Iraq is our only option. Leaving Iraq to the terrorists would be a direct threat to the safety and security of the American people. I commend the President for recognizing that recent strategies have often failed to meet our expectations. His plan deserves thorough consideration by the U.S. Congress. Republicans and Democrats must work together to stabilize the Iraqi democracy and bring our troops home. If Democrat leaders don’t support the President’s plan, it’s their responsibility to put forward a plan of their own for achieving victory.”
BLUNT STATEMENT ON
PRESIDENT’S IRAQ SPEECH
WASHINGTON-House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) today issued the following statement on President Bush’s Iraq speech:
“President Bush clearly and plainly articulated that he understands the consequences of failure in Iraq when he spoke to the American people tonight.
“The president knows there is no silver bullet to make our mission there easier, but he is committed to a new, better strategy that will move us toward a stable Iraq.
“I support the new steps that the president outlined. It is not the responsibility of Members of Congress to dictate strategy to the Commander-in-Chief, who is ultimately responsible, along with the commanders on the ground, for implementing a winning strategy.
“I was pleased to hear the president repeat what he has told the Iraqi leaders: the Iraqis must be principally responsible for Iraq’s future.”
Blunt, along with a bipartisan, bicameral group of Congressional leaders, met with President Bush today to discuss the president’s new strategy for the war.
# # #
Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On President Bushs Escalation Proposal for Iraq
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 Administrations 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.