Senate Democrats


Washington, DCSenate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today issued the following statement on reports that the Bush Administration is drafting a timetable for the Iraqi government to address sectarian divisions and to assume a larger role in securing the country.

“The apparent decision by the Bush Administration to draft a timetable for the Iraqis to assume a larger role in securing their country hopefully demonstrates the long-overdue recognition by the President that his strategy is a failure and that a change in course is needed.

“Given that this action comes just two weeks before the midterm elections, it appears the Administration is driven as much by the hope of heading off election-year defeats here at home as by ending the escalating violence in Iraq. Regardless, if this new course is to be effective, the plan must contain benchmarks tied directly to the drawdown of U.S. troops. All other measurements are of secondary importance.

“If the Administration is serious about pursuing this course, there is no legitimate reason why these benchmarks cannot be announced immediately. The safety and security of our troops and this nation are at stake. Time is of the essence, and the American and Iraqi people are entitled to know what the remaining tasks are that will lead to the drawdown of U.S. forces.”