Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s remarks this afternoon:
“Once again, President Bush has tried to rally support for his failed strategy in Iraq by overstating the security situation. While the decrease in U.S. and Iraqi civilian deaths is welcome news, violence remains high in Iraq. Our primary goal – political reconciliation – is still out of reach, and Iraqi security forces have not met the responsibilities the President himself laid out for them when he announced his escalation strategy in January.
“President Bush refuses to listen to many of his generals who have warned that the war in Iraq makes us less safe and limits our ability to respond to other threats. Even the GAO has determined that the U.S. still lacks a clear strategy for our efforts in Iraq. It’s time for the President to work with Democrats to change direction in Iraq, stop policing a civil war and instead focus on confronting the very real threats we face around the world and make our country more secure.”
U.S. STILL LACKS A CLEAR STRATEGY IN IRAQ
GAO Report: U.S. Still Lacks Clear Strategy in Iraq. According to the report, “U.S. efforts lack strategies with clear purpose, scope, roles, and performance measures. The U.S. strategy for victory in Iraq partially identifies the agencies responsible for implementing key aspects of the strategy and does not fully address how the United States would integrate its goals with those of the Iraqis and the international community. U.S. efforts to develop Iraqi ministry capability lack an overall strategy, no lead agency provides overall direction, and U.S. priorities have been subject to numerous changes. The weaknesses in U.S. strategic planning are compounded by the Iraqi government’s lack of integrated strategic planning in its critical energy sector.” [GAO Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq, 10/30/07]
President Bush: “Slowly but surely the people of Iraq are reclaiming a normal society.”
- Despite Decreases, Civilian Deaths Ticked Up to 800 in October. According to unofficial Health Ministry statistics, civilian deaths have decreased since a high in January, but ticked up in from September to 800. [Washington Post, 11/2/07]
President Bush: “Many Iraqis are seeing growing cooperation between Shia and Sunnis.”
- According to the GAO, Sectarian Factions Within The Iraqi Government Continue to Undermine National Reconciliation. “Although State and Multinational Force-Iraq report progress in promoting reconciliation at local levels such as Anbar province, at the national level, sectarian factions within the Iraqi government ministries continue to undermine reconciliation efforts. For example, ministries within the Iraqi government continued to be controlled by sectarian factions and are used to maintain power and provide patronage to individuals and groups.” [GAO Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq, 10/30/07]
- According to the GAO, Iraq Has Still Not Met Key Legislative Goals. “Iraq has not yet advanced key legislation on equitably sharing oil revenues and holding provincial elections. In addition, sectarian influences within the Iraqi ministries continue while militia influences divide the loyalties of Iraqi security forces.” [GAO Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq, 10/30/07]
President Bush Touted that Iraqi Forces Have Taken Responsibility for Security in 8 of Iraq’s 18 Provinces.
- But When President Bush Outlined Surge Strategy, He Said Iraqi Forces Would Take Responsibility in ALL of Iraq’s Provinces by November. “To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November.” [President Bush, 1/10/07]
- According to the GAO, Less than One-Tenth of the Iraqi Security Forces Operate Independently. “[O]nly about 10 of 140 Iraqi army, national police, and special operations forces are operating independently as of September 2007.” [GAO Securing, Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq, 10/30/07]
President Bush: “Electricity production in September reached the highest level since the war began and higher than it was under Saddam Hussein.”
- After 4 and a Half Years and Billions Spent, Electricity Output Is Still Far Below U.S. Goals. “More than $100 billion has been devoted to rebuilding Iraq, mainly thanks to American taxpayers and Iraqi oil revenues, but nearly five years into the conflict, output in critical areas like water and electricity remain below United States goals, federal oversight officials reported to Congress on Tuesday… The amount of electricity on Iraq’s national grid, while still well below expectations, has made modest gains recently on the strength of some new generators and improved security.” [New York Times, 10/31/07]
President Bush: “I will make decisions about our troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan based upon the considered judgment of those who wear the uniform, not based upon the Gallup poll or political party considerations.”
But President Ignored Generals Who Said War Has Made Us Less Safe, Prevented U.S. from Responding to Other Threats.
- General Joseph Hoar Said War in Iraq Undercut Our Interests in the Middle East. “The war was never in our interest; that it actually was undercutting our interests in the region — regional stability — because by going in and knocking off Saddam, we ensured that this kind of conflict would eventually come about. And what we’ve been trying to do ever since is evade the inevitable.” [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, 1/18/07]
- General Colin Powell Said Iraq War Has Made Us Less Safe. “Well, I think we are a little less safe in the sense that we don’t have the same force structure available for other problems. I think we have been somewhat constrained in our ability to influence events elsewhere. But I think that’s all recoverable. [CBS News’ Face the Nation, 12/17/06]
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Said He Was Concerned That Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Are Taking a Toll on U.S. Ability to Respond to Other Threats. “I know the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on you and your families…They are taking a toll on our equipment, our systems, and our ability to train as well. I worry, quite frankly, that they are taking a toll on our readiness for other threats in other places.” [Open Letter from Admiral Mullen to Servicemembers, 10/1/07]
- General Casey Said Six Years of War Has Strained Our Forces And Demand for Forces Exceeds Supply. “As the chairman said, our nation has been at war for our six years. Our Army has been a leader on the front lines of this war and back here at home, and over time these operations have expanded in scope and duration. And as a result our all-volunteer force has been stretched and stressed… So, Mr. Chairman, as we look to that future, we do so with an Army that’s already stretched by the impacts of six years of war. And while we remain a resilient, committed, professional force, today’s Army, as Congressman Hunter said, is out of balance. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other contingencies. Our reserve components are performing an operational role for which they were neither originally designed, nor resourced. [House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 9/27/07]
- Even General Petraeus Said He Did Not Know If Continuing the Mission in Iraq Was making America More Safe.
Senator Warner: Are you able to say at this time if we continue what you have laid before the congress here, this strategy. Do you feel that that is making America safer?
General Petraeus: Sir, I believe this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.
Warner: Does that make America safer?
General Petraeus: Sir I don’t know actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my own mind. What I have focused on and what I have been riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the multinational force Iraq. [Testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to the Senate Armed Services Committee, 9/11/07]
President Bush Said Osama Bin Laden has to hide in caves because the U.S. is on his tail.
- Osama Bin Laden Has Been At Large for 2243 Days Since September 11, 2001.