“The stated mission of the so-called surge was to buy needed time and space for the Iraqi government to more toward reconciliation. This has not occurred and reconciliation seems further away than ever. In fact, according to the General Accounting Office, eleven of the eighteen legislative, security and economic benchmarks set down that would define the success of the surge’s mission have not been met. Key legislation has not been passed; violence remains high; and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds,”
“Instead, the military success stories we heard today from the Bush Administration, delivered by General Petraeus, were selective at best – and based on a massive concentration of American troops in those particular areas.”
“The test of success of this surge cannot be whether the U.S. military can exert concentrated force in order to pacify an area in Iraq. That has never been in doubt. The test is whether peace can be sustained by Iraqis. Relative calm in the Al-Anbar province is due to local Iraqi leaders deciding to take their country back and U.S. forces supporting that effort through reconstruction and other means. The U.S. role must be to encourage reconciliation and reconstruction that employs Iraqis. There’s no getting around that. Also, the U.S. must be in dialogue with surrounding nations like Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States to promote stability in Iraq and address the burgeoning refugee crisis in the region.”
“The fact of the matter is this has been the bloodiest summer of the war for U.S. soldiers. Every month in 2007 has seen more U.S. military casualties than the same month in 2006. Iraqi deaths due to sectarian violence have doubled this year; and there has been absolutely no political progress,” Ellison stated.
“I remain more convinced than ever that it is time to get our troops safely home from Iraq now. The longer we stay the more we become the focal point, and the al-Maliki government grows more dependent. The Iraqis themselves have got to want to bring stability back to their own country, with the support of countries from the region.”
“Americans believe it was a mistake to get into this war, and they were right. Americans believe the Iraqi government is not doing enough to bring stability to their own country, and they are even more right. The time has come to say enough is enough – enough young Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice, or been disabled, and the drain on our treasury must end. Contrary to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker’s testimony, there’s no end in sight. Congress must act to end this senseless war now.”