Senate Democrats

Five Years On, The Mission Is Not Accomplished

On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared, “My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” Unfortunately for our troops, veterans and nation, five years later the war still rages and the costs continue to grow. Our troops have done their job, but the Iraqis have failed to take responsibility for their own country and the Bush Administration has no other policy than to stay the course. Our brave men and women are still being killed and wounded amidst the ongoing violence in Iraq. The burden on American taxpayers to pay for the war continues to mount while needs at home go unmet. The war continues to erode our military readiness making America less safe and continues to divert focus and resources from the global terrorist threat. Democrats believe we must redeploy from Iraq so we can rebuild our strained military, refocus on the terrorist threat and focus our resources here at home.

Iraqis are not standing up – violence in Iraq continues:

General Petraeus Said Iraq Has Not Made Sufficient Progress in the Area of National Reconciliation. “Iraqi leaders haven’t taken advantage of a reduction in violence to progress in resolving political differences, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said. The top U.S. commander in Iraq said in a The Washington Post interview that ‘no one’ in the Iraqi or U.S. governments ‘feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation,’ or in providing basic public service.” [UPI, 3/14/08]

Iraqi Government Dismissed 1,300 Soldiers and Police Who Deserted or Refused to Fight in Basra Operation. “The Iraqi government has dismissed 1,300 soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month’s Shiite-on-Shiite battles in Basra, it said Sunday. The announcement followed the admission that more than 1,000 members of the security forces had laid down their weapons during the fight, which Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki characterized as a campaign to restore law and order to Basra, a strategic and oil-rich southern city.” [New York Times, 4/14/08]

Iraqi Officials Foresee No Ebb in Shiite Violence in Iraq. “When Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker brief Congress this week, they will be hard-pressed to depict Iraq as moving toward stability in the wake of recent violence that sent deaths soaring to their highest level in seven months… ‘We are now locked in a battle,’ said a high-ranking Iraqi government official, who predicted more confrontations in the coming months. ‘I think this will be a hot summer in Iraq.’” [Los Angeles Times,4/7/08]

Victims of Terrorist Attacks in Iraq Rose in 2007. According to State Department data, 38,863 people were killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of terrorist attacks in Iraq in 2006. In 2007, this figure rose to 44,008. [State Department, Country Reports on Terrorism, 4/30/07]

  • More Than 60 Percent of Victims of Terror Attacks Worldwide Were in Iraq. According to State Department data, more than 60 percent of all people killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of terrorist attacks were in Iraq. There were 72,066 victims of terrorism worldwide, 44,008 in Iraq. [State Department, Country Reports on Terrorism, 4/30/07]

The war has taken a great toll on our troops and the people of Iraq:

April Was the Deadliest Month for U.S. Troops Since September 2007. “The death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq reached a seven-month high in April, with the reported deaths of three more soldiers on Wednesday bringing the monthly total to 47, the highest since last September. U.S. and Iraqi forces have been engaged in intense fighting over the past month with Shi’ite militia fighters in Baghdad’s tightly packed Sadr City slum.” According to icasualties.org, the final toll of U.S. troop fatalites for the month was 51. [Reuters, 4/30/08; www.icasualties.org]

  • 4,058 American Troops and Civilian Personnel Have Been Killed in Iraq – 97 Percent of Whom Were Killed After President Bush Declared Mission Accomplished. According to Department of Defense statistics, 4,058 American troops have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war. Of those, 3,919 were killed after President Bush declared major combat operations over. [Department of Defense, 4/30/08]  
  • American Servicemen in Iraq Faced the Deadliest Year of War in 2007, 5 Years In.  “The year 2007 would prove to be especially hard on American service members; more of them died last year than in any other since the war began. Many of those deaths came in the midst of the 30,000-troop buildup known as “the surge,” the linchpin of President Bush’s strategy to tamp down widespread violence between Islamic Sunnis and Shiites, much of it in the country’s capital, Baghdad. In April, May and June alone, 331 American service members died, making it the deadliest three-month period since the war began.”  [New York Times, 3/25/08]

29,911 American Troops Have Been Wounded in Iraq. According to Department of Defense statistics, 29,911 American troops have been wounded in Iraq, 29,366 after May 1, 2003. [Department of Defense, 4/30/08]  

  • 300,000 Military Personnel Who Have Deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan Suffer from PTSD or Major Depression. “About 300,000 U.S. military personnel who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, a mental toll that will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion over two years, according to a Rand Corp. report released yesterday.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]
  • 20 Percent – 320,000 Military Personnel – Reported Suffering a Probable TBI During Their Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. “In addition, nearly 20 percent of the 1.64 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, or about 320,000 personnel, reported a probable traumatic brain injury (TBI) during deployment, the report notes, although it says their treatment needs have not been determined.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

Reports Estimate the Number of Iraqi Civilian Casualties at 82,000-89,000, Others Claim Much Higher Figures.  Estimates of Iraqi civilian casualties due to violence and calculated from the beginning of the Iraq War are difficult to conduct. However, based on news accounts, Iraq Body Count has estimated that between 82,000 and 89,000 Iraq civilians have been killed during the Iraq War. [Iraq Body Count]

The economic costs of the war haves soared, while Iraqis fail to spend their massive oil revenues

U.S. Has Spent $526 Billion on the War in Iraq. “With enactment of the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764/P.L. 110-161 on December 26, 2007, Congress has approved a total of about $700 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)… Of that total, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $526 billion (75%), OEF about $140 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $28 billion (4%), with about $5 billion that CRS cannot allocate (1%). [CRS, 2/22/08]

  • Bush Administration Estimated Iraq War Would Cost a Total of $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]

U.S. Is Currently Spending $12 Billion Per Month in Iraq. “Why doesn’t the public understand the staggering scale of our expenditures? In part because the administration talks only about the upfront costs, which are mostly handled by emergency appropriations. (Iraq funding is apparently still an emergency five years after the war began.) These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month — $16 billion if you include Afghanistan.” [Washington Post, Bilmes and Stiglitz Op-Ed, 3/9/08

Economists Estimate Cost of Iraq War Will Exceed $3 Trillion. “Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the invasion, a Nobel laureate now estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than $3 trillion.” [McClatchy, 2/27/08]

Iraq’s Oil Revenue Is Soaring, But Iraqis Are Failing to Spend It on Reconstruction. “A new U.S. government report projects Iraq’s oil revenue will top a record $70 billion this year, adding fuel to a congressional push to force the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for rebuilding the country… It is far from clear that the Iraqi government will be able to overcome the structural problems that have long hampered its ability to spend its oil money. Iraq has no system for electronically transferring cash and few officials trained in basic budget procedures. Many Iraqi officials are afraid of authorizing large expenditures and then being accused of corruption. The report noted Iraqi ministries in Baghdad spent 51% of their capital budgets for 2007, or about $4 billion. The figures were even lower at the provincial level, where local officials spent an average of 31% of their capital budgets.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/30/08]

The war has greatly harmed America’s ability to respond to other threats:

The Military’s Ability to Respond to Crises Around the World Has Been Severely Compromised. “The U.S. military is so overextended it has no available reserve of ground troops to respond to potential crises in Pakistan, North Korea, or Darfur. The reduction of pre/positioned equipment stocks to meet equipment shortfalls in Iraq and Afghanistan severely limits our ability to deal with unforeseen contingencies around the world.”  [CRS Report, 6/15/07]

  • Army Operated With Just One Ready Brigade For Much of 2007.  “Additionally, the Army’s rapid respond division, the 82nd Airborne, operated for much of 2007 with only one ‘ready brigade’ designed to respond instantly to threats around the globe.” [CRS Report, 6/15/07]

General Colin Powell Said Military Would Be Hard Pressed to Respond to Another Crisis If It Was Like Iraq or Afghanistan. “Powell said the nation’s ability to fight the next war or respond to the next crisis depends on where the incident occurred and its scope. He said the military was being stretched and a lot was being asked of the all-volunteer force at a time when the entire country isn’t committed to war. ‘I think it would be hard to respond to another crisis if it was like these two,’ Powell said.” [Associated Press, 4/30/008]

Joint Chiefs of Staff Are Concerned That Strain on the Military Is Compromising Its Ability to Respond to Other Threats. “The Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, expressed their concerns about the accumulating strains caused by a war that has forced the Army and Marine Corps, in particular, to keep troops in combat longer and on more frequent tours than officials believe can be sustained in the long term. The chiefs also said that senior commanders in Iraq should make more frequent assessments of security conditions – an idea that appeared aimed at increasing pressure for more rapid troop reductions. The chiefs’ concern is that U.S. forces are being worn thin in a war that has entered its sixth year, compromising the Pentagon’s ability to handle crises elsewhere in the world.” [Associated Press, 3/27/08]

Army Vice Chief of Staff General Cody Said Army’s Readiness Is Being Consumed As Fast As It Can Be Built. “But today our Army is out of balance. The current demand for forces in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds our sustainable supply of soldiers, of units and equipment, and limits our ability to provide ready forces for other contingencies. Our readiness, quite frankly, is being consumed as fast as we can build it.” [Testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Readiness, 4/1/08]

Iraq War Put Great Stress on Troops and Equipment. “The U.S. military has been stretched dangerously thin by the Iraq war, according to almost 90 percent of retired and current military officers polled on the state of America’s armed forces…The findings reflect concerns expressed publicly, although usually in less stark terms, by top U.S. military officers, who say frequent long deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have put great stress on both troops and equipment. ‘We are putting more strains on the all-volunteer force than it was ever designed to bear,’ Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, a prominent counterinsurgency expert, said at a panel discussion in Washington on Tuesday to announce the results of the survey.” [Reuters, 2/19/08]

The Iraq war has made America less secure:

Afghanistan Experienced More Violence in 2007 Than Any Year Since 2001 – General Predicts Violence Could Worsen in 2008. “Afghanistan saw the worst bloodshed last year since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001, with around 6,000 people killed, about a third of them civilians, and some 140 Taliban suicide bombs across the country. ‘This year won’t be different,’ said Major General Jeffrey Schloesser, the new commander of international forces in eastern Afghanistan. ‘I would predict that we will see some level of increasing incidences of violence just as there has been every year and they may well reach a higher level than they did in 2007,’ he told a news conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul.” [Reuters, 4/24/08]

Terrorists Incidents in Afghanistan Increased from 2006 to 2007. According to state department data, the number of terrorist incidents in Afghanistan rose from 969 in 2006 to 1,127 in 2007. People killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of terrorism also rose from 3,557 to 4,673.  [State Department, Country Reports on Terrorism, 4/30/07]

  • Admiral Mullen Said There Are Force Requirements in Afghanistan that We Cannot Meet Because of Our High Force Level in Iraq. Asked during a Pentagon press briefing what the military cannot do because of high force levels in Iraq, Admiral Mullen responded, “Well, what immediately comes to mind is additional forces for Afghanistan.  And I’ve said Afghanistan is an economy-of-force campaign.  And there are force requirements there that we can’t currently meet. So having forces in Iraq don’t — at the level they’re at don’t allow us to fill the need that we have in Afghanistan.” [Pentagon Press Briefing, 4/2/08]

Terrorist Attacks Against Noncombatants More Than Doubled From 2006 to 2007. “Terrorist attacks against noncombatants more than doubled in Pakistan from 2006 to 2007, reflecting the growing violence in the country’s turbulent tribal areas and new bombings against Pakistani government officials and security services, according to a report released Wednesday by the State Department. The report also said the number of deaths from the attacks in Pakistan quadrupled in that time period, to 1,335 fatalities, casting doubt on the American-backed counterterrorism policies of President Pervez Musharraf that the new government in Islamabad is now reshaping.” [New York Times, 5/1/08]

GAO Report: U.S. Has Not Met National Security Goals in Pakistan’s FATA, Despite $10.5 Billion in Aid to Pakistan Since 2002. “The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy the terrorist threat and close the safe haven in the FATA, despite more than $10.5 billion in U.S. support to Pakistan since 2002.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]

  • Al-Qaeda Has Regenerated Its Attack Capability, Established Safe Haven in Pakistan’s FATA. “Notwithstanding State’s report to Congress, we found broad agreement that al Qaeda had established a safe haven in the FATA and reconstituted its attack capability. In particular, the unclassified versions of the 2007 NIE and 2008 Annual Threat Assessment state that al Qaeda has regenerated its attack capability and secured a safe haven in Pakistan’s FATA. These conclusions are supported by a broad array of sources, including Defense, State, and senior U.S. embassy officials in Pakistan.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]
  • FATA Serves As Staging Area for Al-Qaeda Attacks in Afghanistan, Training for Future Attacks in Pakistan, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States. “According to the assessment, the safe haven in the FATA serves as a staging area for al Qaeda’s attacks in support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Further, it serves as a location for training new terrorist operatives for attacks in Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States. U.S. government officials in Washington and Pakistan also acknowledge that al Qaeda has established a safe haven near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]

State Department Report: Al Qaeda Has Reconstituted Some of Its Pre-9/11 Attack Capability. “Al-Qa’ida (AQ) and associated networks remained the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners in 2007. It has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities through the exploitation of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), replacement of captured or killed operational lieutenants, and the restoration of some central control by its top leadership, in particular Ayman al-Zawahiri. Although Usama bin Ladin remained the group’s ideological figurehead, Zawahiri has emerged as AQ’s strategic and operational planner.” [State Department, Country Reports on Terrorism, 4/30/07]

Iraq War Has Enhanced Iran’s Influence in the Middle East. According to Iran expert Ray Takeyh, Iran has “not only survived the U.S. onslaught but also managed to enhance Iran’s influence in the region. Iran now lies at the center of the Middle East’s major problems — from the civil wars unfolding in Iraq and Lebanon to the security challenge of the Persian Gulf — and it is hard to imagine any of them being resolved without Tehran’s cooperation.” [Ray Takeyh, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007]

86 Percent of Suicide Bombings Since 1983 Have Occurred Since 2001, Highest Annual Number of Attacks Have Occurred in the Last Four Years. “More than four-fifths of the suicide bombings over that period have occurred in the past seven years, the data show. The bombings have spread to dozens of countries on five continents, killed more than 21,350 people and injured about 50,000 since 1983, when a landmark attack blew up the U.S. Embassy in Beirut… Of 1,840 incidents in the past 25 years, more than 86 percent have occurred since 2001, and the highest annual numbers have occurred in the past four years. The sources who provided the data to The Washington Post asked that they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the tallies.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

Bookmark and Share