DNC: When Will Bush Listen?
Washington, DC - While President Bush continues to distance himself from the important recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Commission, both the American people and our military commanders are supporting the work of the bipartisan group. A recent Newsweek poll found that Americans back the study group's "recommendations by a two-to-one margin," and that sixty-two percent of Americans "want the Bush administration to set a timetable for withdrawal." [Newsweek, 12/9/06]
At the same time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff "are recommending that the United States change its main military mission in Iraq from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists," according to the Washington Post. Among the Joint Chiefs, there is also "growing concern about the erosion of the U.S. military's ability to deal with other crises around the world because of the heavy commitment in Iraq and the stress on troops and equipment." [Washington Post, 12/14/06] Democrats have argued for some time that the President's disastrous handling of the Iraq War has hurt our military readiness. Regardless of these facts, President Bush refuses to change course and has even delayed his announcement of a "new way forward."
"It is now clear that our military commanders agree with the Iraq Study Group's bipartisan findings that we must place more responsibility on Iraqis to protect their country and end sectarian violence," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. "When will President Bush keep his promise to listen to military commanders who are now finding common ground with the Baker-Hamilton Commission?
"After almost four years in Iraq, President Bush still seems disconnected from the realities on the ground and is unwilling to change course. Democrats are offering a new direction in Iraq and are united behind a plan of phased redeployment that places more responsibility on Iraqis to protect their country and stop sectarian violence."
Bush: I Listen To Commanders On The Ground. "As the Iraqis are able to take more of the fight to the enemy, our commanders on the ground will be able to make a different assessment about the troop strength. And I'm going to continue to rely upon those commanders, such as General Casey, who is doing a fabulous job and whose judgment I trust ..." [President Bush, 1/1/06]
* "And I have given our commanders all the flexibility they need to adjust tactics to be able to help the Iraqi government defeat those who want to thwart the ambitions of the people." [President Bush, 8/21/06]
* "And I have said to our commanders on the ground, you achieve that goal and we'll give you the tools necessary to do it. I have faith in John Abizaid with whom I have constant - he is the head of CENTCOM - and George Casey who is the general on the ground. We have got fine people there, all who are working with a sovereign government in Iraq to achieve a common objective which is a country which can govern itself and sustain itself." [President Bush, 10/20/06]
* "Our commanders on the ground have got the authorities necessary to take action to help the Iraqi people realize a free and peaceful society." [President Bush, 4/28/04]
January 2006: Democrats Issue Report Saying That Iraq War Has Left Our Military Stretched Thin. "Leading Democrats accused President George W. Bush on Wednesday of allowing the armed forces to be stretched near to breaking point at a time of war and repeated calls to increase the size of the army. Madeline Albright, the former secretary of state, William Perry, the former secretary of defence, and Jack Reed, a member of the Senate armed services committee, released a report that said the administration had not adequately planned, or sent enough troops, for post-conflict operations in Iraq. 'We owe the American military better, and we owe the American people better,' said Ms Albright." [Financial Times, 1/25/06]