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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning regarding President Bush’s speech at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis on the war in Iraq:
“The President’s address today was long-overdue and a clear reaction to public questioning of his Iraq policy. I believe he must regularly and candidly communicate with the American people if he is to maintain their support for this war.
“However, the President still seems to believe that he can win the hearts and minds of the American people with words rather than substance. Nearly three years into this war effort – and after numerous and serious mistakes by this Administration – it is clear that the American people are demanding much more than rhetoric.
“For example, the President today insisted that the ability of Iraqi troops to police and secure their country is improving. But the fact is, this Administration has made so many different statements on Iraqi troop strength over the last several years that it is difficult for the American people to determine with any certainty what is real and what is not.
“Furthermore, the President and officials within his Administration continue to say that plans for redeploying American forces from Iraq will be ‘conditions based.’ However, in his speech today, the President failed to specify what those conditions are or a timeline for achieving them.
“I believe that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation’s security and credibility. I still believe that we can – and that we must – achieve success in Iraq. And, I believe that the support of the American people is imperative to that success. Unfortunately, the President’s speech this morning will likely do little to bolster that support.”