Statement on Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act

i thank the chairman for yielding. we have no more serious matter to debate than war and peace. TimeCode: 16:37:30.0 i thank the gentleman for his leadership and for bringing this bill to the floor. i must remark how different i think the debate would be if not one of the facts were changed but one. TimeCode: 16:37:45.7 that if there were bill clinton in the presidency and all the other facts were the same, i ask my friends on the other side of the aisle what would their comments reflect? TimeCode: 16:38:03.6 i have said it many times on this floor and will say it again today. every member of this great body who swears an oath to fight enemies foreign and domestic is TimeCode: 16:38:19.4 committed to fighting terrorism. we must not lose sight in this debate that terrorism is a real threat to our people and our country. we do not lose sight of that on this side of the aisle. we are committed to defeating terrorists and protecting TimeCode: 16:38:36.9 america. any suggestion otherwise demeans our discourse and is beneath the dignity of this institution and the american people. after nearly 4 1/2 years in iraq, a war that has been, i think, superbly peopled by our TimeCode: 16:38:56.1 men and women in uniform, but they have been trying to pursue an incompetently planned policy. this is what our nation has to TimeCode: 16:39:09.0 show for its efforts. more than 3,600 brave service men and women have been killed in action. more than 26,000 others have been maimed and jr.ed. the american taxpayer has spent $450 billion on this war with a TimeCode: 16:39:24.7 pending request by this administration for an additional $147 billion. and yet the president's policy in iraq is not succeeding. just today the administration released the assessment report TimeCode: 16:39:42.2 on iraq demanded by this democratic congress. the bottom line is the iraqi government has failed to meet a single one of the security, political, and economic mile stones for surfing. TimeCode: 16:39:58.7 perhaps -- for success. perhaps most jarring the administration rates as quote, unsatisfactory, unquote, the number of iraqi security units capel of operating independently. TimeCode: 16:40:13.4 that is over 50 months later. the report states and i quote again, there has been a slight reduction in yupets assessed as capable of independent operations since january 2007. TimeCode: 16:40:29.7 in other words the administration says we are going backwards in terms of the capability of the iraqi forces. while the administration and congressional republicans try to put a positive spin on the so-called progress in iraq other respected voices are not TimeCode: 16:40:47.0 so optimistic. yesterday thomas bengar the TimeCode: 16:40:53.5 deputy director told the house armed services committee that there have been and i quote few appreciable gains in iraq's political progress. even general david petraeus our top commander in iraq, a gentleman that all of us TimeCode: 16:41:07.4 respect as a military leader told "the new york times" and again, i quote, while some measures of violence showed a downward trend it was too early to suggest there has been a lasting turn around in the war. that is over 50 months later. TimeCode: 16:41:27.6 mr. speaker, last january in an address to the nation president bush stated and again i quote, america will hold the iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. we have not done so. TimeCode: 16:41:45.6 we said we would do that. we have not done so. the president shows no intention of changing course even as the iraqis fail to meet those benchmarks. our fight against terrorism must and will be tough. TimeCode: 16:41:57.8 but it also must be smart. it's a long past time that we recognize the following, the president's stay the course strategy is not working. the iraqis must take TimeCode: 16:42:16.9 responsibility for their own country. this war has diminished our military readiness and diverted our attention in the war on terror. if that were not the case, osama bin laden could still not TimeCode: 16:42:33.6 be at large. and al qaeda would not be reported as being back at the strength that it had on september 11, 2001. after $450 billion and precious TimeCode: 16:42:56.6 blood being spilled by our american troops and others we must change course. by voting for this legislation which calls for a responsible redeployment of american forces in iraq and a comprehensive TimeCode: 16:43:11.8 plan in u.s. policy in iraq and the broader region. mr. speaker, we must have a specific strategy for missions our remaining forces will undertake as well as engaging TimeCode: 16:43:26.4 iraq's neighboring states and located al qaeda and networks which seek to destabilize the united states and other democracies. jonathan alter in "newsweek" week -- "newsweek" just a week ago called this a TimeCode: 16:43:45.0 pull-and-strike strategy. redeploy so our forces are able to focus on the terrorists. not on the civil war they find themselves embroiled. mr. speaker, our friends on the TimeCode: 16:44:00.1 other side of the aisle have lost confidence of the president's iraq strategy because we have yet to see demon strabble, sustainable progress in that effort -- demonstrateable, sustainable TimeCode: 16:44:15.4 progress in that effort. we are so proud of those of you who served in the armed forces of the united states. i'm so proud of patrick murphy's statement he gave here on the floor today. i'm so proud of americans in every theater of conflict. TimeCode: 16:44:34.9 as senator domenici said yesterday, one of the senior members of the united states senate and a leader in the republican party he said this, there is no reason to wait. i am trying to tell the TimeCode: 16:44:52.8 president we must change his way because there is nothing positive happening. that is not a democratic member of the senate speaking. that is a senior republican leader saying there is no reason to wait. this bill is on this floor this TimeCode: 16:45:10.6 day because there is no reason to wait. hopefully this body will overwhelmingly respond to the will and focus of the american people which are pleading for a TimeCode: 16:45:25.2 change in strategy. a new direction. a policy of success against terrorists. and ensuring the safety of our nation and its people. let's change our strategy and demand that the iraqis step up TimeCode: 16:45:42.6 and be responsible for their country. our presence there, general casey observed, has been undermining their taking TimeCode: 16:45:51.7 responsibility, not enhancing it. let's be responsibly redeploying our troops and let's focus our resources and efforts on disrupting and destroying the terrorist networks that threaten our national security. this legislation allows to TimeCode: 16:46:07.4 accomplish that mission. . i urge my colleagues for this body, for their constituents, for this country and for our troops, pass this legislation.