Senate Democrats

As Costs of War Mount, Americans Increasingly Believe We Must Redeploy Our Troops

Today’s Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that a majority of the American public believes success in Iraq is not integral to America’s anti-terrorism efforts and that the U.S. should withdraw military forces from Iraq to avoid further casualties. This comes on the news this week of the mounting human costs of this war on our soldiers and more evidence that Iraq’s security forces are not standing up. Meanwhile, the U.S. is not safer – global suicide bombings have surged since 2001 and America has failed to neutralize the terrorist safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Democrats believe we should redeploy our troops from Iraq in order to relieve the strain on our overburdened military and strengthen our national security.

The American public continues to sour on Iraq:

6 in 10 Americans Say Conflict in Iraq is Not Integral to Success of Anti-Terrorism Efforts. “Views of the Iraq war have dipped as well. Now, more than six in 10 say that the conflict is not integral to the success of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. That is the most people to reject what is one of the Bush administration’s central contentions and a core part of presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s stand on the issue.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

57 percent of Americans Believe U.S. Efforts in Iraq Have Stalled. “And for the first time since President Bush ordered additional troops to Iraq early last year, the number of Americans saying the United States is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order there has risen. Negative views of the war had eased steadily from late 2006 through early March of this year, but 57 percent in the new poll said efforts in Iraq have stalled, up six points.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

56 Percent of Americans Say U.S. Should Withdraw Military Forces From Iraq to Avoid Further Casualties. “Moreover, while Bush remains committed to keeping more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq through the rest of his presidency, 56 percent of Americans say the United States should withdraw its military forces to avoid further casualties. This has been the majority view since January 2007.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

The human cost of the war continues to mount:

300,000 Military Personnel Who Have Deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan Suffer from PTSD or Major Depression. “About 300,000 U.S. military personnel who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, a mental toll that will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion over two years, according to a Rand Corp. report released yesterday.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

20 Percent – 320,000 Military Personnel – Reported Suffering a Probable TBI During Their Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. “In addition, nearly 20 percent of the 1.64 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, or about 320,000 personnel, reported a probable traumatic brain injury (TBI) during deployment, the report notes, although it says their treatment needs have not been determined.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

Iraqi troops are not standing up:

Iraqi Government Dismissed 1,300 Soldiers and Police Who Deserted or Refused to Fight in Basra Operation. “The Iraqi government has dismissed 1,300 soldiers and policemen who deserted or refused to fight during last month’s Shiite-on-Shiite battles in Basra, it said Sunday. The announcement followed the admission that more than 1,000 members of the security forces had laid down their weapons during the fight, which Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki characterized as a campaign to restore law and order to Basra, a strategic and oil-rich southern city.” [New York Times, 4/14/08]

On Thursday Night, Iraqi Unit Abandoned Position Under Fire in Sadr City. “A company of Iraqi government troops in Sadr City retreated when they came under attack from Shiite militiamen who used the cover of a sandstorm, police said Friday. The clashes overnight killed two people and wounded nine, a police commander said. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release the information, said it was unclear whether there were any casualties among the soldiers.” [Associated Press, 4/18/08]

On Tuesday, Another Iraqi Unit Retreated from Its Position Leaving a Crucial Stretch of Road Undefended. “A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias. The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.” [New York Times, 4/16/08]

Violence in Iraq remains high:

Rising Number of Bombings in Iraq May Indicate Rising Sunni on Sunni Violence Between Awakening Councils and Al Qaeda. “A series of bombings this week in Sunni areas of Iraq – in some cases targeting the Awakening Councils, or sahwas, that have resisted the spread of militant Islamist extremism – is raising concerns that Al Qaeda in Iraq may be regrouping following recent defeats.” [Christian Science Monitor, 4/18/08]

There Were 542 Suicide Bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan Last Year, 920 in Iraq Since 2003 Invasion. “Suicide bombers conducted 658 attacks around the world last year, including 542 in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, according to data compiled by U.S. government experts… The data show more than 920 suicide bombings in Iraq and more than 260 in Afghanistan, including some that killed scores of U.S. troops. All occurred after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]

We are not safer and have not neutralized greatest threats to U.S. homeland:

GAO Report: U.S. Has Not Met National Security Goals in Pakistan’s FATA, Despite $10.5 Billion in Aid to Pakistan Since 2002. “The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy the terrorist threat and close the safe haven in the FATA, despite more than $10.5 billion in U.S. support to Pakistan since 2002.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]

  • Al-Qaeda Has Regenerated Its Attack Capability, Established Safe Haven in Pakistan’s FATA. “Notwithstanding State’s report to Congress, we found broad agreement that al Qaeda had established a safe haven in the FATA and reconstituted its attack capability. In particular, the unclassified versions of the 2007 NIE and 2008 Annual Threat Assessment state that al Qaeda has regenerated its attack capability and secured a safe haven in Pakistan’s FATA. These conclusions are supported by a broad array of sources, including Defense, State, and senior U.S. embassy officials in Pakistan.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]
  • FATA Serves As Staging Area for Al-Qaeda Attacks in Afghanistan, Training for Future Attacks in Pakistan, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States. “According to the assessment, the safe haven in the FATA serves as a staging area for al Qaeda’s attacks in support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Further, it serves as a location for training new terrorist operatives for attacks in Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States. U.S. government officials in Washington and Pakistan also acknowledge that al Qaeda has established a safe haven near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.” [GAO Report, 4/17/08]

86 Percent of Suicide Bombings Since 1983 Have Occurred Since 2001, Highest Annual Number of Attacks Have Occurred in the Last Four Years. “More than four-fifths of the suicide bombings over that period have occurred in the past seven years, the data show. The bombings have spread to dozens of countries on five continents, killed more than 21,350 people and injured about 50,000 since 1983, when a landmark attack blew up the U.S. Embassy in Beirut… Of 1,840 incidents in the past 25 years, more than 86 percent have occurred since 2001, and the highest annual numbers have occurred in the past four years. The sources who provided the data to The Washington Post asked that they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the tallies.” [Washington Post, 4/18/08]