Senate Majority Leader calls on President, Republicans in Congress to join Democrats, codify 12-month deployments into law
Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s remarks this morning on the Iraq war:
“This week’s hearings gave the Bush Administration a chance to answer two fundamental questions that would indicate whether we are succeeding in Iraq: Has this war made us any safer? and Are our troops any closer to being able to redeploy out of Iraq? On both counts, the answer is no.
“In the sixth year of this conflict, our troops remain in an endless civil war, our military is badly strained, and we are unable to respond to threats around the world. Further, American taxpayers are spending $12 billion each month in Iraq at the expense of priorities here at home.
“Today’s announcement by the President can only be described as one step forward, two steps back. After almost one year, the Administration is finally heeding the call of Congressional Democrats and military leaders to decrease troop deployments to 12 months. Democrats have been fighting hard for more rational troop deployments and rest time back at home, but have found our efforts blocked twice by President Bush and Senate Republicans.
“If the President is genuine about providing our troops with the rest, recuperation and training they need, then I call on him and his allies in Congress to support Democratic efforts to codify his announcement into law and also ensure that our troops have sufficient time here at home. In the coming weeks I plan to bring the dwell-time bill to the floor for a vote, and it is my hope Republicans will not block this crucial legislation for a third time.
“But while the President has finally followed Congressional Democrat’s lead and taken a partial step forward in announcing more rational troop deployments, he has taken two steps back by his insistence on indefinitely keeping 142,000 troops in Iraq. This decision further damages our national security and our military readiness.
“The President still doesn’t understand that America’s limited resources cannot support his limitless war. Let me be clear: this is not a so-called troop pause. With today’s announcement, the President has signaled to the American people that he has no intention of bringing home any more troops. Instead he is leaving all the tough decisions to the next Administration. President Bush has an exit strategy for only one man – himself on January 20, 2009.”