WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning after American officials in Baghdad announced that the Iraqi government had agreed to a timetable for achieving a series of milestones:
“Today’s headlines on Iraq seem to be driven by the political calendar and Republican desperation.
“For more than a year, Democrats have urged the Bush Administration to establish concrete benchmarks for success in Iraq and insisted that 2006 be a year of transition, where Iraqis assume responsibility for establishing security and stability in their nation.
“Our views have repeatedly been dismissed by the Administration and Congressional Republicans who proclaimed that ‘stay the course’ was their policy and insisted that they had no intention of changing it – even as Iraq degenerated further into sectarian warfare and increasing violence and lawlessness.
“Today, it is no small irony that Republicans – who desperately fear the voters’ wrath in elections just two weeks from today – have excised ‘stay the course’ from their vocabulary and announced that the Iraqis have agreed to a timetable for achieving political and security benchmarks.
“The President’s policy in Iraq clearly is not succeeding, and Congressional Republicans bear responsibility for their failure to conduct oversight of that policy. Democrats believe that it is time for a new direction in Iraq.”