Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Jim Webb today discussed Democrats’ efforts to change course in Iraq and to ensure that our military and National Guard units deploying for combat operations are supported properly. Following the three deadliest months of the war, Democrats are forcing President Bush and Iraqis to finally accept some measure of accountability for this war through the Defense Authorization bill this week. Starting off the debate, Webb will introduce an amendment to the bill that requires active-duty troops to have at least the same amount of time at home as the length of their previous tour overseas.
“The war is headed in a dangerous direction, and Americans are united in the belief that we cannot wait until the Administration’s September report before we change course in Iraq,” Reid said. “Attacks on U.S. forces are up, Iraqi political leaders are frozen in a dangerous stalemate and a change at every front is required if we are to succeed. We cannot ask our military to continue to fight without a strategy for success, and we certainly cannot ask them to fight before they are ready to do so.”
“Now in the fifth year of ground operations in Iraq, this deck of cards has come crashing down, and it’s landing heavily on the backs of soldiers and Marines who have been deployed again and again while the rest of the country sits back and debates Iraq as an intellectual or emotional exercise,” Webb said. “We’ve reached the point where we can no longer allow the ever-changing nature of this Administration’s operational policies to drive the way our troops are being deployed. In fact, the reverse is true. The availability of our troops should be the main determinant of how ground operations should be conducted.”