Setting the Record Straight: Sen. Biden Adopts Key Portions of Administration's Plan for Victory in Iraq
"There is a strong consensus building in Washington in favor of President Bush's strategy for victory in Iraq. As the Iraqi security forces gain strength and experience, we can lessen our troop presence in the country without losing our capability to effectively defeat the terrorists. Today, Sen. Biden described a plan remarkably similar to the Administration's plan to fight and win the war on terror. We welcome Sen. Biden's voice in the debate. We are pleased he shares our view that the way to a democratic and peaceful Iraq is through aggressively training Iraqi police and soldiers, rebuilding the country's infrastructure and forging political compromises between Iraqi factions."
-- Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary
Today, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) Wrote That "There Is A Broad Consensus On What Must Be Done" To Win In Iraq: "There is a broad consensus on what must be done to preserve our interests. Recently, 79 Democratic and Republican senators told President Bush we need a detailed, public plan for Iraq, with specific goals and a timetable for achieving each one." (Sen. Biden, Op-Ed, "Time For An Iraq Timetable," The Washington Post, 11/26/05)
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)
Sen. Biden Says "Iraqi Forces" Must Be Trained To "Act On Their Own Or Take The Lead With U.S. Help": "The president must set a schedule for getting Iraqi forces trained to the point that they can act on their own or take the lead with U.S. help. We should take up other countries on their offers to do more training, especially of officers. We should focus on getting the security ministries up to speed. Even well-trained troops need to be equipped, sustained and directed. (Sen. Biden, Op-Ed, "Time For An Iraq Timetable," The Washington Post, 11/26/05)
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 Taking 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)
Iraqi Army Is More And More In The Fight: "As of September, 120 Iraqi Police and Army battalions are in the fight. In addition to a fully independent battalion: 80 battalions are able to fight alongside Coalition troops. 36 battalions generally able to conduct independent operations. SNAPSHOT: Two brigades of the Iraqi 6th Division have their own battle space in Baghdad, including Haifa Street, once a haven for insurgents. As of September, one division, 5 brigades, and 36 battalions currently have the lead in their areas in Iraq. This summer, only one division and 11 battalions had the lead." (Department of Defense, Iraq Progress Update, 11/15/05 http://joewilson.house.gov/UploadedFiles/11.05Iraq%20Update.ppt)
Sen. Biden Says "We Must Forge...Political Compromise Between Iraqi Factions": "Over the next six months, we must forge a sustainable political compromise between Iraqi factions, strengthen the Iraqi government and bolster reconstruction efforts, and accelerate the training of Iraqi forces. First, we need to build political consensus, starting with the constitution. Sunnis must accept that they no longer rule Iraq. But unless Shiites and Kurds give them a stake in the new deal, they will continue to resist. We must help produce a constitution that will unite Iraq, not divide it." (Sen. Biden, Op-Ed, "Time For An Iraq Timetable," The Washington Post, 11/26/05)
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)
Sen. Biden Says Iraq Is "Barely Functional": "Second, we must build Iraq's governing capacity and overhaul the reconstruction program. Iraq's ministries are barely functional. Sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water and a lack of electricity are all too common. With 40 percent unemployment in Iraq, insurgents do not lack for fresh recruits."
Sen. Biden Ignores Real Progress In Iraq: "Infrastructure improvements up to September 2005: 3,404 Public Schools, 304 Water and Sewage Projects, 257 Fire and Police Stations, 149 Health Facilities, Total of 4,114 reconstruction projects completed with 921 ongoing." (Department of Defense, Iraq Progress Update, 11/15/05 http://joewilson.house.gov/UploadedFiles/11.05Iraq%20Update.ppt)