Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS MARK THIRD IRAQ ANNIVERSARY WITH SOBERING CALL FOR CHANGE

Washington, DC — Marking the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to assess the progress of the war and the President’s handling of it.

President Bush is facing a crisis of confidence because the American people recognize that, after misleading them to war based on cherry-picked intelligence, he has yet to present a strategy for victory. Biden and Podesta offered a sobering appraisal of the Bush Administration’s performance.

“Today marks the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. It’s a milestone moment to ask where we are – and, more important, where we are going,” said Senator Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. “We got rid of a brutal dictator. And that’s good. But we may be on the verge of trading him for chaos and a new terror haven in the Middle East. That’s a bad bargain for America’s security.”

“That outcome looks increasingly likely because of the dangerous incompetence of this administration. We went to war without letting the weapons inspectors finish their job, without the support of our major allies, without enough troops to prevent a security vacuum, and without a plan to win the peace,” continued Biden. “None of this was inevitable. At every critical juncture, many of us predicted the problems we would face. Many of us–including the Center for American Progress–offered constructive ideas for overcoming them. The administration failed to listen.”

The Center for American Progress also released a report on “Progress in Iraq: 2006 1st Quarter Report Card” which details the dangerously incompetent Administration policies that are failing to make 2006 the year of transition to Iraqi sovereignty that Congress called for last year.

“The report card highlights the failure of leadership by President Bush and his top advisors who spend more time developing empty slogans and politicizing national security when they should be setting policies that keep Americans safe,” said Podesta. “The report also serves as a reminder that the Bush administration has failed to implement key components of its own programs for reconstructing Iraq and that billions of American taxpayers’ dollars allocated for Iraq’s reconstruction will run out without hundreds of water and electricity projects being completed – all because of incompetence, corruption, and a lack of stability.”

The American people have grown tired of rosy rhetoric and public relations campaigns aimed only at boosting approval ratings at home. Democrats believe America can do better, and are calling on President Bush to use this sobering anniversary to change course and offer new leadership and a plan for victory.

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