In announcing the so called 'surge,' President Bush said it was intended to give Iraq's government 'the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas,' specifically political reconciliation. [1/10/07]
Iraqi Government Fails to Make Political Progress
Eleven months later, the Iraqi government has failed to take advantage of the reduced levels of violence achieved as a result of the additional American troops sent into Iraq.
- The Washington Post recently reported that 'senior military commanders now portray the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite dominated government as the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq' above al-Qaida, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias. [Washington Post, 11/15/07]
- On Sunday November 25th, the Parliament was reduced to shouts, fist pounding and finger-pointing when a draft of the de-Baathification bill, a key benchmark for the country's progress, was read on the floor. [Los Angeles Times, 11/26/07]
- A national oil and gas law is similarly gridlocked. Officials in Iraq's Kurdish region have continued to contract with international oil companies despite protests from Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain Shahristani that any contracts made without a national oil law are null and void. [Agence France-Presse, 11/26/07]
Bush Administration and Republican Congress on the Surge - 11 Months Ago
Since January, President Bush has repeatedly defended his strategy to send tens of thousands more American troops into Iraq. Many of his fellow Republicans fell into line behind him. Underlying their argument was the premise that Iraq's government would stand up and take responsibility for the fate of their own country. Here's what Republicans said earlier this year...
'[T]he government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace -- and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.' [1/10/07]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
'The security plan is designed to have Iraqi forces lead a campaign, with our forces in support, to protect the population of Baghdad from intimidation and violence instigated by Sunni and Shia extremist groups, and to enable the Iraqi government to take the difficult steps necessary to address that nation's underlying issues.' [1/11/07]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
'It is the Iraqis who are responsible for what kind of country Iraq will be; it is they who must decide whether Iraq will be characterized by national unity or sectarian conflict. The President has conveyed to the Iraqi leadership that we will support their good decisions, but that Americans' patience is limited.' [1/11/07]
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)
'The President has my support for his new strategy in Iraq, but in order for this effort to be successful the Iraqi government must step up to the plate.' [1/22/07]
Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Florida)
'Our focus must be to support the efforts Iraqis themselves are making to end the sectarian strife. I appreciate Prime Minister Maliki's commitment to send more Iraqi units to the fight in Baghdad. More Iraqi boots on the ground arresting insurgents and keeping them off the streets is necessary to stopping the violence. That is ultimately the Iraqis' responsibility. Ours is not an open-ended commitment.' [1/10/07]
The American People Want U.S. Troops Home
The majority of the American people still want U.S. troops brought home. [Pew, 11/27/07, PDF] But President Bush and Republicans in Congress continue to block any plan that would bring our troops home. Senate Republicans are now holding hostage a $50 billion funding bill for our troops that passed the House because the additional funding is tied to a strategy that winds down the war.
Democrats are committed to a New Direction in Iraq that holds the President accountable, provides real support to our men and women in uniform and will bring our troops home safely, honorably, and soon.
It is time for the President and Congressional Republicans to listen to the American people and wind down this war.