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Jan-11-2007 13:53printcomments

Oregon Lawmakers Sound Off on President's New Plan For Iraq

U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio said the President's new proposal is anything but - it's a status quo, more of the same, stay the course plan.

US soldiers in Iraq
US Soldiers in Iraq.
Photo: DOD

(SALEM) - "This is the President’s Hail Mary pass,” U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) said Wednesday night reacting to President Bush’s new plan for Iraq.

“Iraqis need to be their own street cops, not U.S. forces,” Senator Smith said, “This is the President’s Hail Mary pass. Now it is up to the Iraqi Army to catch the ball. We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Iraqis must be the ones to settle their own peace.”

“One thing remains certain, as long as the Commander in Chief orders our armed forces into harms way, the Congress should extend blue chip financing to our troops. De-funding their bullets is dishonorable and deadly.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement in response to President Bush’s remarks on the war in Iraq:

“I am not convinced that overstretching our military further is going to produce success in Iraq, and I oppose the President’s plan.

“When it comes to ending the violence in Iraq, only the Iraqis can make the tough choices necessary to stop the civil war. The Iraqis won’t make these tough choices until they see that U.S. troops won’t hold their hands forever. It’s time to start bringing our men and women in uniform home so that the Iraqis will do what it takes to promote stability and lasting peace.”

U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) issued the following statement about President Bush's proposal to escalate the war in Iraq by sending more combat troops to Iraq:

"Tonight, the president announced his latest strategy for victory in Iraq. This announcement comes just over a year after he released his last strategy for victory in Iraq, in November 2005.

"Tonight, the president was eager to appear to be changing course in Iraq in response to the concerns of the American people. However, his new proposal is anything but -- it's a status quo, more of the same, stay the course plan.

"This 'stay the course' strategy is clearly not working. In the last year, the violence in Iraq has intensified, the political situation is more volatile and deteriorates by the day, and the civil war is expanding. The president has proposed benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but since the Iraqi government has ignored past commitments and there are no consequences for failure, these benchmarks are meaningless.

"It is past time to end the open-ended commitment the president has made in Iraq.

"The U.S. military cannot impose freedom, security, and unity in Iraq. They cannot force the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds to put aside their 1,400-year-old conflict. Only the Iraqis can. The U.S. military should not be forced to remain in Iraq essentially as an army for one side of a civil war.

"Given the president's pledge of unlimited support, Iraqi politicians and security forces will continue to fail to take the necessary steps to solve their differences, establish an effective and inclusive government, end sectarian violence, and create a secure and prosperous society.

"The president and his allies justify the continuing U.S. presence in Iraq by claiming that if we don't fight there, we'll have to fight here at home. However, the Iraqi Sunni rejectionists, Saddamists, and nationalist Shias, who combined make up the vast bulk of the insurgents and militias committing violence in Iraq, just want U.S. military forces out of their own country. They have no interest in attacking the U.S. homeland.

"It is also misleading to say that if the U.S. leaves, Osama bin Laden will take control of Iraq. There is no chance that the Shias and the Kurds, who represent around 80 percent of Iraq's population, will allow foreign terrorist elements to take control of the country. Even the majority of the Sunnis have grown tired of foreign terrorists operating in Iraq.

"Even worse, the president will withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan to send to Iraq, despite a resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda, the true architects of 9/11.

"As I said a year ago, instead of an open-ended commitment, we should announce a timeline for bringing our troops home over the next six to 12 months. The Bush administration has always set timelines for political developments in Iraq, arguing they were necessary to focus the energy of Iraq's leaders and to force compromises. We need to do the same on the military side.

"In the interim, front-line combat positions in Iraqi cities and towns should be manned by Iraqis, not U.S. troops. The training and equipping of Iraqi security forces should be accelerated and the sectarian balance should be improved. The U.S. must renounce any interest in constructing permanent bases in Iraq, accelerate reconstruction spending and grant the bulk of reconstruction contracts to local companies employing Iraqis.

"The U.S. must also engage in robust diplomacy with all factions in Iraq, except the foreign terrorists and domestic al-Qaeda elements, and work with Iraq's neighbors in an effort to bring about political reconciliation among Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.

"Our troops have done all that has been asked of them in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is dead. His allies are on the run or in prison. The threat from WMDs in Iraq is non-existent. Arguably, the war that Congress authorized has been won. It is time to turn over control of the country to the Iraqis to build their own future, and bring our troops home.

"With the abject failure of the administration to formulate a new policy in Iraq, the responsibility falls to Congress to stop its ill-conceived escalation of the war."

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Water.... January 13, 2007 10:51 pm (Pacific time)

Anybody got some clean drinking water?

osotan January 13, 2007 10:28 pm (Pacific time)

Benjamin's the sustainable plan.

Henry Ruark January 13, 2007 9:26 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Both quotes-below come from our history...which do you now prefer ?? "We Americans have no commission from God to police the world"- Benjamin Harrison, address to Congress, 1888 "It's not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true." --Henry Kissinger

Henry Ruark January 13, 2007 9:01 pm (Pacific time)

S.LaM: Appreciate yours from world view we can't share from "inside". What will other nations see and say if we re-Nixonize this time ? IF Constitution has meaning, we should follow it --and it provides suitable protocol for this one, too.

S. LaMarche January 13, 2007 4:44 pm (Pacific time)

Henry, I wish I was wrong.,and the stories I hear as an expat from folks round the world is what convinced me to take a closer look, and the "truth" is quite plain to see. We.,as a nation and as individual Americans, have been lied to and continue to be lied to as long as they can get away with it, the Rove's and Libby's and rumsfeld et. al. are highly paid professional liars. I would not even conceive of this while safely ensconced within continental U.S., but now there is no denying it, our chosen leaders denials are now today's headlines. I am proud to be an American., I am ashamed of our leaders, whose version of America serves only themselves.

Henry Ruark January 13, 2007 3:41 pm (Pacific time)

Somehow remiscent of wracking other-times...oh,now I recall ! "Last days of Nixon" forcing Ford's famous deal, recently revealed by reporter wrecking Nixon by revealing "royalism".

Albert Marnell January 13, 2007 11:15 am (Pacific time)

Good Comments so far; there are a total of five as of this observation.

Henry Ruark January 13, 2007 10:21 am (Pacific time)

O-tan et al: Yours re oil-motivation "tells truth, terrible as it may be" --which is what Mother made sure my early-reporting always did...hopefully still does !!

Henry Ruark January 12, 2007 1:09 pm (Pacific time)

Len et al: For distorted/perverted Edit Page cartoon re that reality, seek out the SJ Page today... Someone is seeking to use cartoon-form for what they fear to state-in-print, open to rebuttal by piled-up tons of scientific study.

Leonardo January 12, 2007 11:17 am (Pacific time)

It won't be long before our wars will be over water.

Henry Ruark January 12, 2007 11:12 am (Pacific time)

Perhaps by pointing out we have Constitutional process by which to set things right in our own house --if we have guts and wisdom/will left to do so. That seems to me far less "dishonorable and deadly" than in passively passing-the-ammo again --and again, and again.

Henry Ruark January 12, 2007 5:32 am (Pacific time)

How could I say more ?

Osotan January 11, 2007 5:22 pm (Pacific time)

In my view the war has not and cannot be "won", and the weapons of mass destruction did not exist in the first place. Why don't they bomb N.Korea? Israel? They have plenty of WMD's! The truth is OIL. a formidible weapon of mass destruction in itself! So I am thankful the Oregon representatives are in unison, it's time to bring them home and reconstruct America.

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