WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Bush Administration’s Benchmark Assessment Report, in which the Administration claims the Iraqi government is making “satisfactory” progress toward meeting nine of 18 key benchmarks:
“It is no surprise that the Bush White House is trying to paint a far rosier picture of Iraqi progress on key benchmarks than is justified by the reality on the ground. In fact, just this month, the independent Government Accountability Office reported that the Iraqi government is failing to meet 15 of 18 benchmarks, and political reconciliation is virtually non-existent. Underscoring those findings, just yesterday, a key Sunni tribal leader who was cooperating with American forces was assassinated and negotiations on Iraq’s draft oil revenue sharing law reportedly fell apart.
“Day after day, the American people see and hear evidence that the President’s policy is failing – despite incessant cheerleading by Administration officials. It is no wonder that the Administration’s credibility is in tatters and the President largely looked to his top General to sell his stay-the-course strategy. But, in disconcerting testimony, even General Petraeus testified this week that he does not know if the sacrifice our nation is making in Iraq will make us safer, and Ambassador Crocker could not offer real assurances that we will achieve success in Iraq.
“President Bush, in his address last night and this report today, offers no convincing reason to support staying the course. Democrats will continue to fight for a strategic redeployment of our troops, so that we can rebuild our strained military and focus on fighting the terrorists who threaten our security. We urge Congressional Republicans to join us in pursuing a new strategy that will make our nation safer.”