Senate Democrats

REID: GIVE OUR TROOPS A STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS NOT AN ATTACK CAMPAIGN

Washington, DC – While President Bush and Vice President Cheney continue their ruthless political campaign about the war in Iraq to distract from their failure to lay out a strategy for success, Senate Democrats remain focused on pressing our leaders to provide our troops that plan. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the United States Senate to call on the president to stop the political attacks and lay out his plan.

“We’re at war. We need a Commander in Chief, not a Campaigner in Chief. We need leadership from the White House, not more white-washing of the very serious issues confronting us in Iraq,” said Senator Reid. “Instead of giving our troops a plan for success or answering the serious questions of the American people, they’ve decided to start up the Rove/Cheney attack machine in an effort to restore their diminishing credibility and raise their sinking poll numbers.”

Democrats will continue to ask the hard questions of this administration. Democrats know that standing with our troops means more than delivering a rhetorical attack, it means providing our troops and their families a strategy with benchmarks by which our progress in Iraq can be measured. Like Senator Hagel said some days ago:

“Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy, nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years….To question your government is not unpatriotic – to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”

Democrats know that together, America can do better.

The full text of Senator Reid’s remarks follow below:

“Last night – on the heels of two very bloody days in Iraq where 11 Americans were killed – the President and Vice President shamelessly decided to play politics.

“It was another political ploy from an Administration that is growing more desperate and disconnected. The American people and our brave soldiers deserve better.

“It seems the President and Vice President have decided to treat the war likes it’s a political campaign.

“Instead of giving our troops a plan for success or answering the serious questions of the American people, they’ve decided to start up the Rove/Cheney attack machine.

“We’re at war. We need a Commander in Chief, not a Campaigner in Chief. We need leadership from the White House, not more white-washing of the very serious issues confronting us in Iraq.

“This week, Senate Democrats and Republicans voted overwhelming to send the President this message: it’s time to change course in Iraq.

“Instead of heeding that call, the White House continues to dodge and duck the questions of Americans and to smear their opponents.

“That’s not leadership, and our troops and the American people deserve better.

“Here’s what Senator Hagel – a decorated veteran and a senior Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee – had to say about this Administration’s tactics:

“Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy, nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years….To question your government is not unpatriotic – to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”

“Senator Hagel is right. The deceiving, dividing and distorting must end. Of course, this is the same move we’ve seen from Karl Rove and Dick Cheney time and again over the last five years. Whenever their poll numbers sink, they go on the attack.

“This time stakes are too high to let them get away with it. There’s more than poll numbers or votes at stake. The lives of our brave soldiers in Iraq depend on this president coming clean and coming forward with a plan for Iraq.

“President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove must stop the orchestrated attack campaign they launched on Veterans Day. It’s a weak, spineless display of politics at a time of war.

“It’s easy to attack, Mr. President. The hard part is leading, coming clean with the American people and giving our troops a strategy for success.”

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