Washington, DC—Senators Frank Lautenberg, Robert Menendez and Jim Webb held a press conference today to discuss the five-year anniversary of the speech President Bush delivered on board the USS Abraham Lincoln while standing beneath the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Yet five years later, after our troops have done their job, Iraqis still fail to take responsibility for their own country, the grave costs and consequences of this war continue to grow, and the Bush Administration offers no policy other than to stay the course. Our mission will not be accomplished until we redeploy our troops from an open-ended civil war.
“Five years ago, President Bush declared an end to major fighting for U.S. troops and an end of America’s role as the major player in Iraq’s future,” Lautenberg said. “That claim has become a symbol for his reckless handling of the Iraq war. Since that time, America has lost more than 3,900 troops and is now spending $3 billion a week on the war. This is not ‘mission accomplished.’ This is a mission gone awry. I will continue to fight in the Senate to bring an end to the war in Iraq, and I urge the White House to start listening to the American people and do the same.”
Said Menendez: “We’ve already marked the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq. Today marks the fifth anniversary of a day almost as tragic—the day when our President, who had already told us something untrue to go to war, told us that the war was won, told us the war was over and spread the word that the bloodshed would be short lived. We want to draw attention to this dubious anniversary and the President’s false promises not to revel in the incompetence of his Administration or the foolishness of his war plan, but because it is incredibly important to remind everyone in this country—from our colleagues to the media to the public—that this war rages on and the Bush Administration has no plans or intentions to end it. Simply put, Iraq is at the heart of many of our biggest challenges. It can never be an afterthought.”
“In an ironic way, the Iraq War was over five years ago, and what began was a very contentious occupation,” Webb said. “Our military has been placed in a holding position, totally dependent on the political process to reach a solution that allows this occupation to come to an end. Decapitating a government in a country that was not directly threatening us has created an enormous amount of post-war instability that has decreased the United States’ ability to address our strategic interests around the world and economic interests here at home.”