Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a press conference in the Capitol this afternoon with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, senior House and Senate Democrats, and Iraq war veterans after the Senate passed the Accountability Act by a vote count of 51 to 46. Iraq
Below are Pelosi's opening remarks:
'Thank you very much, Mr. Leader.
'It is with great pride that I stand with you after the passage in the Senate today, and yesterday in the House, of this legislation that takes us in a new direction in . Iraq
'I have said that the war in is the greatest ethical challenge facing our nation. How ethical is it to send our troops into harm's way, into war without the training, the equipment and a plan for success? How ethical is it to place them in the middle of a civil war, undermining and straining our military? Iraq
'How ethical is it to do that, to diminish our capacity to fight the war on terrorism, to fight any threat to the interest of the wherever it may occur, at home or abroad? United States
'How ethical is it to destroy our reputation in the world, diminishing our ability to be a force against terrorism and a leader in the world?
'In the last election, the American people called for a new direction. Nowhere were they more firm in that new direction being necessary than in the war in . Iraq
'This legislation presents that new direction by supporting the troops; indeed, giving the president more than he asked for, for the troops; by honoring our commitments to our veterans.
'How ethical is it for us to dishonor our commitment to our veterans when they come from war, instead of treating them as the heroes they are?
'It holds the Iraqi government accountable. It holds the Administration accountable as well. And it helps to rebuild our military.
'It's a good bill. It's a bill for a new direction in . It is a bill that, hopefully, will wind down this war and bring our troops home safely and soon. Iraq
'And it is an honor for me to present one of those veterans of the war in Iraq, a person who is part of the initial invasion of Iraq and has been very outspoken in his opinion of what is happening there, John Bruhns.'