Washington, DC – Chairman Tom Lantos of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the following statement in response to the Administration’s report today on Iraq, which confirmed that Iraqi government leaders have gained little new ground on key political and military goals:
“The escalation that the President announced in January has proven to be a strategic failure. It was intended to buy time for Prime Minister Maliki and the other Iraqi political leaders to find ways to move toward a political settlement to end this terrible civil conflict. As best we can see, that time has been utterly squandered. Instead of working to build national institutions - a truly Iraqi army, a competent bureaucracy, a non-sectarian police force - Maliki has gone the opposite way. Instead of acting as a leader for Iraq as a whole, he has functioned as the front man for Shiite partisans.
“In Iraq today, we are ruining our military, forcing their families to suffer needlessly and sacrificing the lives of American men and women in uniform. The enormous financial cost of this war limits our ability to address our global security interests and forces us to give short shrift to pressing domestic needs such as health care, crumbling infrastructure and public education.
“We all heard the President last night. Despite the failure to meet our goals in Iraq, demonstrated by this report today and even more dramatically by independent assessments during the past two weeks, we can expect the Administration to continue asking for more money, more patience, and more sacrifices from our troops - all in the belief that our continued intervention in Iraq will eventually bear fruit. But this approach is not a strategy. And dumping another country’s religious civil war in your successor’s lap is an appalling legacy. It is time to redeploy our troops in Iraq – not merely to reverse the so-called ‘surge’ over the next several months. The United States needs a new direction in Iraq policy, and we need it now.”