Democratic Radio Address: New Democratic Member Chris Carney
Read the transcript:
"Good morning. This is Congressman Christopher Carney of Pennsylvania.
"This week, the House of Representatives passed an important resolution opposing President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. The resolution clearly states our disagreement with the surge in troops, but underscores our unwavering support for our troops.
"As a veteran, I was proud to join with Republicans and Democrats to support this important resolution. I believe the American people deserve to know where every Member of Congress stands on escalation of the war in Iraq. That is why it is my hope that Senate Republicans will stop blocking debate on this important issue and allow the full Senate to cast an up or down vote on the President's Iraq policy.
"American troops are serving honorably and their families, their communities, and this Congress are very proud of them. Democrats will continue to be staunch advocates for our brave men and women in uniform.
"But as I stated on the floor of the House this week, the time has come for Congress to insist on a new direction and pursue policies in Iraq worthy of our troops.
"On Election Day, Americans voted for a new Congress -- a Congress that would ask the Administration tough questions about the war in Iraq. Unfortunately those questions have been answered with an escalation policy that will not lead to greater success.
"The President's plan to send nearly 22,000 more Americans to Iraq won't end the violence or help us win the war. This strategy has been tried many times before, and each time it has failed. Those of us in Congress can no longer sit idly by as the President pursues the same failed strategy while he hopes for a different result, all the while losing more American men and women.
"As an intelligence and counterterrorism advisor in the U.S. Navy Reserves, I was proud to serve at the Pentagon after the September 11th attacks. But my experiences there have taught me that our troops deserve a better plan. After four years and over 3,000 lives lost, we have yet to see such a plan from the Bush Administration. And let us be clear: time is running out.
"In order to win the war in Iraq and bring our troops home, we know that we must embrace diplomatic and political solutions. We know that rather than sending more American troops into combat, we must redouble our efforts to train the Iraqis to handle the job themselves and take responsibility and control of their own country.
"The bipartisan resolution opposing the President's plan was just the beginning of our efforts to right this ship. In the past few weeks, this Congress has held more oversight hearings on the war than the previous Republican Congresses did in the past several years. Finally, we have a Congress that will insist on the truth and accountability from this administration -- about the costs of the war, about the realities of the war strategy, and about the impact of the war on our larger national security.
"As Congress exercises oversight on a war thousands of miles from our shores, Democrats will also continue our efforts to improve security here at home.
"While billions have been spent on schools and roads in Iraq, conditions here at home have suffered. Just one example is the status of our homeland security, and our Coast Guard in particular. Recent reports have indicated that key Coast Guard programs responsible for ensuring our safety and protecting America have been hampered by rampant waste, fraud, and abuse. We depend on our Coast Guard to protect our nation against those who would do us harm. But unbelievably, we now have fewer ships in the Coast Guard fleet to protect our shores than we did before the September 11th attacks.
"Ensuring that our country is prepared to defend itself is the top priority of Congress, and the current status of our homeland security is unacceptable. As Chairman of a Homeland Security Subcommittee, I plan to hold hearings on the Coast Guard, and will work with my colleagues on other committees with oversight responsibility to ensure this mismanagement is corrected. We must strengthen our Coast Guard and eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse that wastes taxpayer dollars and jeopardizes our security.
"Congress has a responsibility to stand up for our troops, to insist on a successful strategy in Iraq, and protect Americans here at home. Democrats will ensure we live up to these responsibilities and move our country forward into a new direction.
"This is Congressman Christopher Carney. Thank you for listening."
Watch his speech during this week's debate on escalation in Iraq: