On Proposed Escalation of War in Iraq

Based on the President’s speech tonight, I cannot support his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.

The President’s Iraq policy has been marred by incompetence and arrogance as his Administration has refused to recognize the military and political reality on the ground. American troops continue to serve and sacrifice in Iraq, performing magnificently and bravely. But as our commanders have said repeatedly, Iraq requires a political solution, not a purely military one, and we did not hear such a proposed solution tonight.

The President simply has not gotten the message sent loudly and clearly by the American people, that we desperately need a new course. The President has not offered a new direction, instead he will continue to take us down the wrong road – only faster. The President’s speech failed to adequately address the political situation in Iraq, rising sectarian violence, mounting strain on our military, growing Iranian influence, and festering divides over how to distribute oil revenues.

As I have said, as the American people have demanded, and as the facts on the ground require, we need a new course and an end to the current failed policy. I continue to urge a strategy that places pressure on the Iraqi government to resolve the political crisis through phased redeployment of U.S. troops, establishes an Iraqi Oil Trust to end the stalemate over oil, and pursues an aggressive diplomatic strategy including an international conference of the regional parties to further the task of Iraq’s stability.”

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