WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the elections in Iraq this Sunday:
“I want to extend my best wishes to the Iraqi people for a safe and successful election this Sunday. We must also extend our deepest gratitude to our men and women in uniform who are putting their lives on the line to give Iraqis this opportunity to determine their own destiny after decades of terror and tyranny.
“The President has said that the fact that this election is being held, in and of itself, makes it successful. I disagree. With all due respect to the President, this election will be judged successful if – and only if – the Iraqi people believe that it is a credible expression of their will.
“Today, I visited the out-of-country voting station in New Carrollton, Maryland, and it was exciting to watch Iraqis participate in an historic initial step on the path to democracy. But none of us can delude ourselves. The truly difficult work that remains in establishing a viable, stable democracy that is capable of establishing internal order has only just begun in Iraq and is in no sense a certainty.
“After this election, it is imperative that we assist the new Iraqi government take control of its security and build a free, independent nation. The painfully slow pace of progress to date is the direct result of the Bush Administration’s naïve assumptions in launching this action and what can only be characterized as an utter disregard for realistic, responsible post-war planning. We must not allow the incompetent execution of an ineffective post-war strategy by this Administration undo the brilliance of our military effort there. The stakes are too great, not only for our interests in Iraq but also for our interests in the entire Middle East. I hope that this Administration will finally begin to examine its performance, acknowledge its mistakes and adjust its strategy accordingly.”