Senate Democrats

Senate Leadership: Pentagon Quarterly Report A Call For Change In Iraq

Washington, DC — With the Pentagon’s new quarterly report further underlining the need for change in Iraq, the incoming Senate Leadership today repeated their call for President Bush to follow the roadmap set down by Democrats and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and bring an end to America’s open-ended commitment in Iraq. The new report makes clear the extent of the failure of President Bush’s stay-the-course Iraq strategy. According to the Pentagon, attacks have reached an all-time high, Prime Minister Maliki’s National Reconciliation Project has made little progress in halting the sectarian violence, oil production remains below pre-war levels, inflation continues to threaten economic progress, and a full sixty percent of Iraqis think the situation in their country is worsening. And while published reports suggest divisions between the White House and the Joint Chiefs over troop levels, the Pentagon’s own report states that a timetable to give Iraqis responsibility for their own security could help speed the transition process without risking any gains made so far. “This report makes clear that conditions in Iraq have gone from bad to worse, and there is no military solution ahead,” said incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The President must understand that there can only be a political solution in Iraq, and he must end our nation’s open-ended commitment to that country. Democrats have given the President a roadmap for change in the Reed/Levin plan. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has called for the withdrawal of American combat forces by 2008. President Bush is Commander-in-Chief, and only he can make the decisions necessary. With our troops still stuck in the middle of a worsening crisis, it is critical that he change course in Iraq.” "On Election Day, the American people overwhelmingly said they want a change in policy in Iraq. This report confirms that judgment. It is no longer acceptable to lose so many of our best and bravest soldiers; no longer acceptable to be bringing these brave soldiers home for communities to grieve and to pray over," said incoming Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin. "We have done a great deed for the Iraqi people in removing their dictator and giving them a chance to have their own constitution and their own government. Now it is time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation." “With attacks at an all-time high and political progress moving slowly, this report underscores yet again that the President needs a new direction in Iraq,” said incoming Democratic Conference Vice-Chairman Charles Schumer. “We know the brave troops already in Iraq are doing all they can in an almost impossible situation, but sending more troops over to Iraq is just a short term fix at best, not a long term strategy. The American people, the Baker-Hamilton Report and even Bob Gates have called for a change of course. All eyes are on the President now for a true change and a long term strategy.” “This report once again proves that what the Administration is doing today in Iraq is not working and that the violence in Iraq continues to escalate,” said Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray. “The Iraq Study Group has given the President options for a new direction, and the American people have made it clear that they want a change. Our service members have made tremendous sacrifices in Iraq, including being without with their loved ones during this time of the year. We all support them. It is time for the President to provide them a real plan that delivers real change and allows our troops to complete their mission successfully and come home safely.”