Senate Democrats

Fact Check: President Bush And Iraq

Seven years into his term, President Bush is still spinning Americans on Iraq.  The truth is after four years of a flawed strategy and six months into the President’s misguided escalation, Iraqi security forces cannot stand up, violence is increasing, and more damage is being done to America’s national security.   Below are the facts behind the President’s spin:

FICTION: President Bush Implies Al-Qaeda is Main Cause of Violence and Instability in Iraq:   

  • “So on my orders, good men and women are now fighting the terrorists on the front lines in Iraq.”  [President Bush, 7/12/07]
  • "It [escalation] is focused on applying sustained military pressure to root out terrorist networks in Baghdad and surrounding areas.”  [President Bush, 7/12/07]

FACT: Pentagon Says Bulk of Violence is Sectarian. “It [DOD Quarterly Report] attributes the bulk of the violence to ‘sectarian friction’ that reaches deep into Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government and security forces.” [Washington Post, 6/14/07]

FACT: Intelligence and Military Say Sectarian Violence Makes up Vast Majority of Violence, is Responsible for Insecurity.  “U.S. intelligence agencies and military commanders say the Sunni-Shiite conflict is the greatest source of violence and insecurity in Iraq.  ‘Extremists — most notably the Sunni jihadist group al Qaida in Iraq and Shia oppositionist Jaysh al-Mahdi — continue to act as very effective accelerators for what has become a self-sustaining struggle between Shia and Sunnis,’ the National Intelligence Council wrote in the unclassified key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq published in January.” [McClatchy, 6/28/07]

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda Gaining Strength, Has Sanctuary on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border.  “Six years after the Bush administration declared war on al-Qaeda, the terrorist network is gaining strength and has established a safe haven in remote tribal areas of western Pakistan for training and planning attacks, according to a new Bush administration intelligence report to be discussed today at a White House meeting.” [Washington Post, 7/11/07]

….And National Intelligence Director McConnell Says Al Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan is Much More Likely to Plan Next Attack on U.S. Than Terrorists in Iraq:

  • Senator Jack Reed: “Well, the question would be: If you had to establish a probability of a successful attack being organized and directed against the United States, would it emanate from Pakistan, with this newly revised Al Qaida leadership, or would it come out of Iraq?”
  • National Intelligence Director McConnell: “My belief is the attack most likely would be planned and come out of the leadership in Pakistan.” [Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 2/27/07]

FICTION: Bush Implies Escalation is Helping Iraq’s Security Forces. “For example, Iraqis have provided the three brigades they promised for operations in and around Baghdad.  And the Iraqi government is spending nearly $7.3 billion from its own funds this year to train, equip and modernize its forces.” [President Bush, 7/12/07]

FACT: After More Than Four Years of War and Six Months into Escalation, Iraqi Forces Still Not Standing Up.  “Iraq faced more troubles on the military and political fronts on Sunday: some American commanders expressed doubts about the ability of Iraqi troops to hold the gains made in areas north of the capital last week, and two Sunni Arab blocs boycotted a Parliament session, demanding the reinstatement of the speaker. …The American commander in Baquba, Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, and his counterpart south of Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, pointed to a variety of problems with the Iraqi forces, including a shortage of trained troops and a lack of basic supplies like ammunition, radios and trucks.  ‘They’re not quite up to the job yet,’ General Bednarek said in an interview with The Associated Press in Baquba.”  [New York Times, 6/25/07]

FICTION: Bush Says Iraqi Government Has “Taken Hold.” “I find it interesting that, as this young democracy has taken hold, radicals and extremists kill innocent people to stop its advance.” [President Bush, 7/12/07]

FACT: Experts Say Iraqi Government Has Little Sway Outside Green Zone. “But even if the unruly Iraqi parliament were to pass laws the United States is seeking, analysts and Iraqis say, they would have little impact outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.” [Washington Times, 7/12/07]

FACT: Iraqi Government Barely Functioning.  “At least 12 ministers from the 38-member cabinet are no longer attending cabinet meetings. There has been little progress on benchmark legislation, including oil revenue-sharing and a law to set a date for provincial elections. Seventy-four members of Parliament are boycotting the 275-member body, which, when combined with the members who rarely attend anyway, means that Parliament often lacks a quorum and cannot do any official business.” [New York Times, 6/6/07]

FACT: Shiites Beset by Infighting – Maliki’s Cabinet is “Teetering on the Edge.” “Iraq’s government is teetering on the edge. Maliki’s Cabinet is filled with officials who are deeply estranged from one another and more loyal to their parties than to the government as a whole. Some are jostling to unseat the prime minister.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/6/07]