WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today:
“One year ago tomorrow, President Bush landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln amid great fanfare and proudly proclaimed – under a banner reading ‘Mission Accomplished’ – that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.
“Today, it is clear that this assessment by the President of the United States was wishful thinking and painfully wrong. America’s mission in Iraq, the removal of Hussein’s brutal regime and the stabilization and democratization of Iraq, is far from accomplished.
“It is also clear that the President did not adequately prepare our nation, in terms of the human cost and the cost to American taxpayers, of the more difficult part of this mission: securing and reconstructing Iraq.
“The last 30 days have been the deadliest for American troops since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with 134 brave men and women in uniform making the ultimate sacrifice. In all, 724 American servicemen and women have fallen in this war, and the great majority of those deaths – 586 – have come since the President’s bold pronouncement aboard the Lincoln one year ago.
“The hard truth is, our troops’ bravery and sacrifice has not been matched with a competent, effective reconstruction plan. The Administration said it had enough troops on the ground. It did not. The Administration said that Iraq would fund its own reconstruction. It is not. The Administration said that our troops would be greeted as liberators. The death toll demonstrates they were not.
“The American people have every right and every reason to question this Administration’s pre-war assessments and its continued failure to articulate a plan to establish a sovereign, independent and democratic government. All of us share the same goal: a democratic and free Iraq. Failure is not an option. Our nation must complete what it has begun. But it is long past time that the Administration acknowledges that our mission has not, in fact, been accomplished.”