Pelosi: Six Months After Iraq Escalation, Still No End in Sight or a Clear Exit Strategy
'Six months after the President escalated the war in Iraq, American troops have plunged even deeper into that country's civil war, with no end in sight or a clear exit strategy. The President wants more of the same and he refuses to acknowledge the facts on the ground - violence remains high and political reconciliation is non-existent.
'And now, according to news reports, Administration officials are acknowledging that the July 15th report by the President that was mandated by Congress will show that the Iraqis have failed to meet any of the political, security and economic benchmarks that are critical for their country's future.
'Democrats will continue to hold the Bush Administration accountable by having votes in July to change course in Iraq; to responsibly redeploy our troops; and to refocus our effort on protecting Americans from terrorism. Democrats are leading the way; Republicans who are critical of the President's strategy should work in a bipartisan way and vote to change course in Iraq and bring our troops home.'
THE 'SURGE' AT SIX MONTHS: MORE VIOLENCE, MORE CASUALTIES
Six months ago today, President Bush renewed his failed policies for Iraq and announced to the nation that he would send more troops - more than 20,000 - into the war zone. This strategy has failed before and is failing now. In the face of mounting criticism from military leaders, experts, bipartisan members of Congress and the American people, the President continues to ask us to wait, be patient, give the surge a chance to work.
The truth of the matter is the President's escalation plan has utterly failed to quell the violence in Iraq or force Iraqis to meet political benchmarks critical for the country's future.
The time for a New Direction in Iraq is long past due.
SINCE THE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCED HIS 'SURGE' PLAN ON JANUARY 10TH:
Cost to U.S. Troops -
\xc2\xb7 590 U.S. soldiers have died and 3,575 have been wounded in Iraq since January 10, 2007. [icasualties.org]
\xc2\xb7 Of the wounded, 1,672 suffer injuries too severe to return to duty.
Cost to U.S. Taxpayers -
\xc2\xb7 The war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers an estimated $10 billion a month. [CRS, 6/28/07]
Cost to Iraqis -
\xc2\xb7 At least 13,463 civilians and members of the Iraqi Security Forces have died since January 2007, according to media reports. [icasualties.org]
Failure to Meet Political, Security and Economic Benchmarks:
\xc2\xb7 According to a draft of the Bush Administration's July 15th progress report on Iraq, the Iraqi government has not met 'any of its targets for political, economic or other reform.' [AP, 7/9/07]
\xc2\xb7 Iraq's largest Sunni political group pulled out of parliament over last month's vote to remove the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadan, a Sunni Arab. [AP, 6/24/07]
AMERICANS WANT A NEW DIRECTION IN IRAQ:
Democrats stand with the majority of the American people in demanding a New Direction in Iraq. To that end, the House will vote in July to redeploy our troops safely from Iraq and refocus our efforts on protecting Americans from terrorism.
More than seven in 10 Americans favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April 2008. [USA Today, 7/9/07]