Setting the Record Straight: The Senate Amendment On The Strategy For Victory In Iraq
Today, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Claimed That The Senate Voted To Send A Message "To Change The Course In Iraq." SEN. REID: "This week, Senate Democrats and Republicans right here in this Senate voted overwhelmingly to send the President this message - it's time to change course in Iraq." (Sen. Reid, Floor Speech, 11/17/05)
Senator Reid Said The Senate Amendment On Iraq Was A Vote Of "No Confidence." (Sen. Reid, Press Conference, 11/15/05)
But Chairman Of The Armed Services Committee Senator John Warner (R-VA), Sponsor Of The Amendment, Has Said: "I Think This Is Supportive Of The Strong Points The President Has Consistently Made. In No Way Is It To Be Construed, In My Judgment, As Critical. This Is A Forward-Looking Amendment." (Sen. Warner, Press Conference, 11/15/05)
The Fact Is That The Senate Amendment Reiterates The President's Strategy In Iraq.
The Senate Amendment Says Iraqi Security Forces Should Take The Lead In Securing Their Country. "Calendar year 2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq; United States military forces should not stay in Iraq any longer than required and the people of Iraq should be so advised." (S.Amdt. 2518 To S. 1042, CQ Vote #323: Adopted 79-19: R 41-13; D 37-6; I 1-0, 11/15/05)
The President Has Said Iraqi Security Forces Are Taking More And More Responsibility For Their Own Security.
President Bush Discussed The Strategy To Train Iraqi Forces To "Stand Up" So America Can "Stand Down." PRESIDENT BUSH: "As we pursue the terrorists, we have a strategy to go forward. Our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so they can defend their people and take the fight to the enemy. And we're making steady progress. With every passing month, more and more Iraqi forces are standing up, and the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence. At the time of our Fallujah operations just a year ago, there were only a few Iraqi army battalions in combat. Today, there are nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces. American and Iraqi troops are conducting major assaults to clear out enemy fighters in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Iraqi police and security forces are helping clear the terrorists from their strongholds, hold on to the areas we've cleared, and prevent the enemy from returning. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when our commanders on the ground tell me that the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned." (President Bush, Remarks On The War On Terror, Anchorage, AK, 11/14/05)
Lieutenant General David Petraeus: "Well, Here's The Bottom Line Up-Front For You. The Iraqi Security Forces Are In The Fight; They Are Fighting For Their Country. They Are, As This Notes, Increasingly Leading That Fight." (Lt. General David Petraeus, Remarks On "Iraq's Evolving Forces," Washington, D.C., 11/7/05)
After Returning From Iraq, CNN Military Analyst Retired Major General Don Shepperd Said Iraqi Forces Are Beginning To Take Charge. SHEPPERD: "The Iraqi forces are ready to protect the polling places. They're ready. They're starting to get ready in various areas. For instance, 20 percent of the territory of Baghdad has already been turned over to Iraqi forces. You're starting to see that spread slowly as they come up to speed. When they come up to speed, they are matched with U.S. forces, and then they are given their own territory. All of that appears to me to be working. It's slow, tough work, and we'll be there for a while helping them." (CNN's "Live From," 10/11/05)
The Senate Amendment Says Iraqis Should Achieve A "Broad-Based And Sustainable Political Settlement." "The Administration should tell the leaders of all groups and political parties in Iraq that they need to make the compromises necessary to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is essential for defeating the insurgency in Iraq, within the schedule they set for themselves." (S.Amdt. 2518 To S. 1042, CQ Vote #323: Adopted 79-19: R 41-13; D 37-6; I 1-0, 11/15/05)
The President Has Discussed The Incredible Progress Iraqis Are Making Toward Democracy Through A Broad-Based Political Process.
The President Discussed The Strategy To Build A Lasting Democracy In Iraq. PRESIDENT BUSH: "And the second part of our strategy is a political strategy. Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy. A month ago, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote for a constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for a lasting democracy. In a few weeks, Iraqis will vote again, to choose a fully constitutional government to lead them for the next four years. This country is making amazing progress from the days of being under the thumb of a brutal tyrant. In two-and-a-half years, they've gone from tyranny, to an election for a transitional government, to the ratification of a constitution, to the election of a free government. It's amazing progress when you think about it. The Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a future founded on democracy and peace. And the United States of America will help them succeed." (President Bush, Remarks On The War On Terror, Anchorage, AK, 11/14/05)
Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice Outlined America's Strategy For "A Political Transition To A Permanent, Constitutional Democracy." SEC. RICE: "In 2005, we emphasized transition: a security transition to greater reliance on Iraqi forces and a political transition to a permanent, constitutional democracy. The just-concluded referendum was a landmark in that process. And now we are preparing for 2006. First we must help Iraqis as they hold another vital election in December. Well over nine million Iraqis voted on Sunday. Whether Iraqis voted yes or no, they were voting for an Iraqi nation, and for Iraqi democracy. And all their voices, pro and con, will be heard again in December. If the referendum passes, those who voted no this time will realize that their chosen representatives can then participate in the review of the constitution that was agreed upon last week. This process will ultimately lead to Iraqis selecting a lasting government, for a four year term." (Sec. Rice, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 10/19/05)
The Senate Amendment Requires Reports On The Strategy For Victory. "Reports to Congress on United States Policy and Military Operations in Iraq. Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every three months thereafter until all United States combat brigades have redeployed from Iraq, the President shall submit to Congress an unclassified report on United States policy and military operations in Iraq." (S.Amdt. 2518 To S. 1042, CQ Vote #323: Adopted 79-19: R 41-13; D 37-6; I 1-0, 11/15/05)
The Administration Is Continually Working With Congress To Report On The Situation In Iraq.
President Bush Urged Members Of Congress To Attend Briefings By The Commanders In Iraq. PRESIDENT BUSH: "I urge the members of Congress to attend the briefings with Generals Abizaid and Casey. I urge them to ask questions about our efforts in Iraq and to listen carefully about the type of war we fight. The support of Congress for our troops and our mission is important, and Americans need to know about the gains we've made in recent weeks and months. They need to know the way we're adopting our tactics and the way we're changing our strategy to meet the needs on the ground. As members of Congress speak with Generals Abizaid and Casey, I'm confident they'll see what I see - our leaders, these two Generals are men of vision and determination, and it is their leadership that is helping bring victory in the war on terror." (President Bush, President Meets With Generals Abizaid And Casey, Discusses War On Terror, Washington, D.C., 9/28/05)
The Departments Of Defense And State Send "Literally Dozens Of Iraqi-Related Reports To Congress Each Year." SEC. RUMSFELD: "Just a piece of factual information. I'm told that the Department of Defense and the Department of State send literally dozens of Iraqi-related reports to Congress each year already. Seven are required reports. We have seven voluntary briefings. We have 28 I.G. reports, 52 GAO reports, and regular classified updates on the Iraqi security forces, which I believe go up there every month. Many of those things address what, as I recall, an earlier draft of that amendment may have covered. And that's fine. I mean, that's all part of the interaction between the executive and legislative branch. And they have every right to ask for reports. And we send - I don't know - it's something over 900 reports total every year from the Department of Defense to the Congress. I hope someone reads them." (Sec. Rumsfeld, Press Briefing, 11/15/05)