Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Yesterday we reached another tragic milestone in Iraq. With the death of five young Americans, 2007 has now been the deadliest year for our troops of the entire war. Our thoughts are with the families of these five latest American victims of the Iraqi civil war. Our hearts go out to the families of all 3,854 young men and women who have lost their lives and to the tens of thousands more who have been gravely wounded.
“This war has caused so much suffering here in America where our losses continue to rise, where our treasury has been depleted for generations to come, and where our military is battered, scarred and stretched to the limit. And let us not forget the suffering in Iraq – where we learned today that 2.3 million civilians are now displaced, fleeing from their homes, their neighborhoods, their schools and places of worship.
“Two-thirds of the displaced are young children, under the age of 12. This humanitarian crisis rages on with no end in sight. By any of the most critical benchmarks, President Bush’s flawed strategy on Iraq is not making America more secure. We are seeing no signs of meaningful progress on political reconciliation, which is the key to success in Iraq.
“Our brave troops – more than 160,000 of them – are giving everything they have to this war. Far too many of them have been buried. Far too many face lives forever marked by physical and psychological wounds. Yet for all of our troops’ sacrifice and suffering, the Iraqi politicians are not doing their part. President Bush has said as they step up, we will stand down. They have not stepped up.
“What better reminder do we need than the crisis in Pakistan that the world can change over night? It is time to rebuild our military to refocus on the war on terror and the grave challenges that face us throughout the globe.
“We must repair the readiness of our Army and Marine Corps, the finest fighting force in the world, but a force which is under great strain. We must be prepared to respond to new challenges. We must have the strength and flexibility to promote freedom and defend human rights when they are attacked. We must refocus our efforts on Bin Laden, on Al Qaeda, on the terrorists who threaten our safety. And it is long past time for us to give our troops the hero’s welcome home they have so bravely earned.
“We need to provide wounded warriors and veterans with the care they deserve. After years of Republicans under-funding veterans care, Democrats have provided nearly $4 billion above the President’s request to make this failure right.
“President Bush remains obstinate. His Republican allies in Congress have remained loyal. They have blocked our efforts so far. But we will continue fighting to give our troops and all Americans the new course in Iraq that they deserve.”