print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > February 2007

For Immediate Release
February 21, 2007

Setting the Record Straight: Sen. Reid On British Transfer Of Basra Responsibilities To Iraqis

     Fact sheet In Focus: Iraq
     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

"The fact that they have made some progress on the ground is going to enable them to move some of the forces out, and that's ultimately the kind of thing that we want to be able to see throughout Iraq. As the President said all along, the idea is to build greater Iraqi capability, and when the time comes, to be able to move folks out."

- White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, 2/21/07

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Calls British Decision To Transfer More Responsibilities To The Iraqis An Acknowledgement Of "A Reality That President Bush Still Stubbornly Refuses To Accept." (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Statement, 2/21/07)

  • In Announcing His Decision, Prime Minister Blair Notes That The British Action Is Based On Conditions On The Ground, Not An Artificial Timeline: "The speed at which this happens depends, of course, in part on what we do, what the Iraqi authorities themselves do; but also on the attitude of those we are, together, fighting. Their claim to be fighting for the liberation of their country is a palpable lie. They know perfectly well that if they stopped the terror, agreed to let the UN democratic process work and allowed the natural talent and wealth of the country to emerge, Iraq would prosper. We would be able to leave. It is precisely their intent to eliminate such a possibility." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, Statement On Iraq And The Middle East, 2/21/07)
  • Prime Minister Blair: Transferring Responsibility Will Not "Mean A Diminution In The [UK's] Combat Capability." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, Statement On Iraq And The Middle East, 2/21/07)
  • Prime Minister Blair: It Is Important To Show "That However Long It Takes, The Legitimate Iraqi Government ... Will Prevail." "The aim of the additional US forces announced by President Bush is precisely to demonstrate that determination. If the Plan succeeds, then, of course, the requirement for the MNF reduces including in Baghdad." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, Statement On Iraq And The Middle East, 2/21/07)
    • Prime Minister Blair: "It Is Important To Show The Iraqi People That We Do Not Desire Our Forces To Remain Any Longer Than They Are Needed; But Whilst They Are Needed, We Will Be At Their Side."
    • Prime Minister Blair: "In This Context, What Is Happening In Basra Is Of Huge Importance." "Over the past months, we have been conducting an operation in Basra, with the 10th Division of the Iraqi Army, to reach the stage where Basra can be secured by the Iraqis themselves. The situation in Basra is very different from Baghdad. ... As a result of this operation [in Basra], which is now complete, the Iraqi Forces now have the primary role for security in most parts of the city."
  • Prime Minister Blair: "But What Nobody Should Doubt Is That Whatever The Debates About Tactics, The Strategy Is Clear: To Bring About Enduring Change In The Middle East As An Indispensable Part Of Our Own Enduring Security." "The poisonous ideology that erupted after 9/11 has its roots there, and is still nurtured and supported there. It has chosen Iraq as the battleground. Defeating it is essential." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, Statement On Iraq And The Middle East, 2/21/07)

Sen. Reid Misrepresents The New Way Forward In Iraq

Sen. Reid Misrepresents The President's New Iraq Strategy: "Instead of escalating against the express will of Congress and the American people, the President should follow the advice of military leaders and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and change course in Iraq." (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Statement, 2/21/07)

  • President Bush: "People Are Prejudging The Outcome" Of The New Iraq Strategy "Before It Has A Chance To Work." "I concluded that to step back from the fight in Baghdad would have disastrous consequences for people in America. That's the conclusion I came to. It's the conclusion members of my staff came to. It's the conclusion that a lot in the military came to." (President Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 2/14/07)
    • The President: "[The House Iraq resolution] may become the first time in the history of the United States Congress that it has voted to send a new commander into battle and then voted to oppose his plan that is necessary to succeed in that battle." (President Bush, Remarks To The American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, 2/15/07)
  • Gen. David Petraeus: Additional Troops Are Necessary To Get The Job Done. SEN. MCCAIN: "Suppose we send you over to your new job, General, only we tell you that we can't have - you can't have any additional troops. Can you get your job done?" GEN. PETRAEUS: "No, sir." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/23/07)
  • Iraq Study Group Co-Chair And Former Secretary Of State James A. Baker, III: "Both Of" The Iraq Study Group's "Conditions" For Additional Troops To Secure Baghdad "Have Been Met." (Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/30/07)
    • Sec. Baker: "There Are Some Very Important Points Of Similarity Between The Study Group's Report And The President's Plan For Security." (Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/30/07)

# # #