Washington, DC – As the Senate resumes debate on the Department of Defense Authorization Bill, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Ranking Member Carl Levin joined together to address how we can do better to protect Americans and to get answers about the war in Iraq. After months of failure by the Republicans to bring this key piece of legislation to the Senate floor, the Democratic leaders expressed relief that the Senate is finally taking up this important piece of legislation, but cautioned that there are still key questions that must be answered about how the Bush administration took the nation to war.
“At a time of war – when over 150,000 of our troops remain in harms way – the Senate needs to have an open, honest debate about our national security,” said Senator Reid. “Together, we can do better than refusing to ask and answer the tough questions about how we went into the war in Iraq and what it will take to bring our troops home.”
“The defense bill being considered by the Senate this week provides much-needed funding for ongoing military operations, it continues the modernization of our armed forces, and improves the quality of life for our servicemen and women and their families. I’m pleased the Senate is considering my amendment to create an independent commission, modeled after the 9/11 commission, to look into the circumstances surrounding the treatment of detainees both within and without the Department of Defense and to assess accountability for any abuses,” said Senator Levin.
The leaders discussed their continued effort to force the Bush administration to answer the American people’s questions about the war in Iraq and the need for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to complete its investigation into the use of intelligence before the war. The Senators stressed three key questions:
- How did the Bush administration build its flawed case for war?
- How did the Bush administration sell its case for war?
- How did the Bush administration coordinate and carry out its strategy to question and criticize its critics?
While the American people have seen continued evidence that they were misled about the war in Iraq and that intelligence information was manipulated, the Congress has still not gotten to the bottom of what happened and why. Be it the discredited allegations that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa or recent revelations that the administration used an unreliable source for claims about Iraq’s connections with al-Qaeda, the American people deserve to know the full story about how the nation made the most serious decision a country can make – to go to war. The leaders today outlined how they would continue to press ahead to get these answers.