Hoyer Calls the President's Speech on Iraq a Missed Opportunity

Whip Says Speech Will Do Little to Allay the Legitimate Concerns of the American People

For Immediate Release:

June 28, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement tonight after President Bush spoke at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, regarding the war in Iraq:

"I supported the decision to remove the brutal Hussein regime from power, and believe that we must do everything we can to ensure that our nation accomplishes its mission in Iraq.  It is imperative that we help the Iraqi people establish a viable, stable democratic government that can protect the citizens of that nation.

"However, I believe the President missed an important opportunity tonight to convince the American people that he has a clear and compelling strategy to accomplish our mission in Iraq.

"The President essentially offered no new policies, when the American people -- now more than ever -- are demanding a strategy that is calibrated to the reality on the ground in Iraq.

"We must seal Iraq's borders to prevent jihadists from entering the country.  We must pressure Iraq's neighbors to help us seal those borders.  We must stand up the Iraqi army at a quicker pace.  And we must make sure that the Iraqi government has assistance in drafting its constitution.

"However, instead of articulating specific benchmarks for American success, the President relied on rhetorical flourishes and justifications for past decisions -- many of which proved wrong.  It is inescapably true that we continue to be haunted today in Iraq because this Administration failed to put enough troops on the ground in the first place.

"I had hoped for a more candid assessment from the President on what has worked, what has not worked and what he intends to change.  Instead, he continues to justify his decisions and propose more of the same."

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