Senate Democrats

Reid: Five Years Later, President Bush Offers More Of The Same Failed Ideas On Iraq

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s remarks this morning going into the sixth year of the war in Iraq:

“Even as we begin the sixth year of this war, all the President seems able to offer Americans is more of the same perpetual disregard for the costs and consequences of stubbornly staying the course in Iraq.

“Today the President should have laid out a plan for reconciling the political turmoil that delays the day when our troops can redeploy out of Iraq.  He should have discussed how to reduce the $12 billion monthly cost of this war, which we can hardly afford in a looming recession.  He should have told Americans how he plans to use his final months in office to find Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s senior leadership, who are not in Iraq; to win the war in Afghanistan; and to address our military’s readiness challenges that leave us unprepared for the next crisis.

“Instead, we again hear from the President a commitment to an endless war that has already taken nearly 4,000 American lives, wounded nearly 30,000 and made America less safe.  Meanwhile, Iraqi leaders show no interest in taking responsibility for their own country and the President’s Republican allies recklessly suggest staying in Iraq for 100 years.  Our military has done its job; it is long past time for this Administration and Iraq’s political leaders to do theirs.”

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After Five Years of War, President Bush and His Administration Have Little Credibility 

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S MISLEADING STATEMENTS OVER FIVE YEARS OF WAR HAVE CAUSED A MAJOR CREDIBILITY GAP

On Costs

THEN: White House Budget Director Estimated Cost of Iraq War at $50-$60 Billion. “The administration’s top budget official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion, a figure that is well below earlier estimates from White House officials… Mr. Daniels would not provide specific costs for either a long or a short military campaign against Saddam Hussein. But he said that the administration was budgeting for both, and that earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.” [New York Times, 12/31/02]

NOW: President Bush Said We’ve Heard Exaggerated Amounts of the Costs of this War. “In recent months we’ve heard exaggerated amounts of the costs of this war.” [President Bush Speech, 3/19/08]

On Security

THEN: Before the War, Vice President Cheney Said We’d Be Greeted As Liberators. “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” [Meet the Press, 3/16/03]

THEN: Vice President Cheney Said in 2005 that the Insurgency Was in Its ‘Last Throes.’ “The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” [CNN, 5/31/05]

NOW: Amidst Bombing in Baghdad, Vice President Cheney Touted “Phenemonal” Security Improvements in Iraq. “A bombing on Monday evening killed 43 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, penetrating one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq. Iraqi police officers at the scene and several witnesses said it had been carried out by a female suicide bomber, but the police chief later said the bomb had been hidden. The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as ”phenomenal” security improvements in the country.” [New York Times, 3/18/08]

On Weapons of Mass Destruction

THEN: President Bush Asserted Saddam Hussein Had Weapons of Mass Destruction. “If we see gathering threats which could harm the American people, we must deal with them. We’re dealing with Iraq because the dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He’s used weapons of mass destruction on his own people.” [Remarks by President Bush, 3/4/03]

NOW: President Bush Warns That Terrorists in Iraq Could Acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction. “With such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened with new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America. An emboldened Al Qaeda with access to Iraq’s oil resources, could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction and to attack America and other free nations.” [President Bush Speech, 3/19/08]

On Iraq and September 11th

THEN: Vice President Cheney Left the Door Open to Link Between Iraq and 9/11. Asked if there was a link between the Iraqi Government and 9/11, Vice President Cheney responded, “We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization… With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.” [Meet the Press, 9/14/03]

  • But In 2006, President Bush Did Admit that Iraq Had Nothing to Do With 9/11. Asked what Iraq had to do with the September 11th attacks, President Bush responded, “Nothing, except for it’s part of — and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.” [President Bush Press Conference, 8/21/06]

NOW: President Bush Claims Allowing Our Enemies to Prevail in Iraq Would Be to Ignore the Lessons of 9/11. “If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate and Iraq would descend into chaos. Al Qaida would regain its lost sanctuaries and establish new ones, fomenting violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq’s borders with serious consequences for the world’s economy.… To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and make it more likely that America would suffer another attack like the one we experienced that day, a day in which 19 armed men with box cutters killed nearly 3,000 people in our — on our soil — a day after which in the following of that attack more than a million Americans lost work, lost their jobs.” [President Bush Speech, 3/19/08]

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT TRUST PRESIDENT BUSH’S HANDLING OF THE WAR, SUPPORT CHANGING COURSE

Just 33 Percent of Americans Approve of the President’s Handling of the War in Iraq. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal conducted March 7-10 found that just 33 percent of Americans approve of the job President Bush is doing in handling the situation in Iraq, while 62 percent disapproved. [Polling Report]

Just 31 Percent of Americans Approve of the President’s Handling of the Situation in Iraq. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted February 20-24 found that 31 percent of Americans approve of President Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq, while 65 percent disapprove. [Polling Report]

52 Percent of Americans Support Withdrawing Most U.S. Troops by 2009. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal conducted March 7-10 found 52 percent of Americans believe the most responsible thing we can do is find a way to withdraw most of our troops from Iraq by the beginning of 2009, while 43 percent we should keep troops in Iraq until that country is stable. [Polling Report]

60 Percent of Americans Support Sticking to a Timetable for Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted February 21-24 found that 60 percent of Americans support sticking to a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. In contrast, 35 percent of Americans believe we should stay until the situation gets better. [Polling Report]

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