PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2863, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 16, 2005)
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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the rule for the FY06 Defense Appropriations Bill. This rule, unfortunately, does not allow consideration of the Pelosi Amendment--an amendment critical to our current and future efforts in Iraq.
We consider the situation in Iraq this week in the midst of growing public concern over the way this administration has, and continues, to execute the war. For the first time since the war in Iraq began, more than half of the public believes that our campaign there has not made the United States safer. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the number of casualties in Iraq is unacceptable and two-thirds say the U.S. military is ``bogged down.'' Nearly six in ten say the war is not worth fighting.
To date, the lives of nearly 1,700 men and women in uniform have been lost, and another 12,000 have been injured. Close to 200 billion in taxpayer dollars have been spent without a clear plan for success. And today, we are no closer to true success in Iraq than we were since the days of ``Shock and Awe.''
The Democratic Leader's amendment is simple--it asks that this administration report to Congress within 30 days with their ``Strategy for Success'' in Iraq. The Pelosi amendment requires the President to explain how he will ensure that there are well-trained Iraqi military, border and police forces that can ensure the security of Iraq and that there is political stability in the country.
This amendment isn't about setting a hard date for withdrawal, or leaving Iraq before we finish what we started. This amendment, rather, simply ensures that Congress--and the American people--know what milestones and criteria by which our Nation will judge success in Iraq. Without such a guide, we will continue to be left with an open-ended military commitment with no end in sight.
Our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less than clear milestones that lead us to the day when we can bring them home. To get to that day, we need to know how we are going to assess the capabilities and readiness of Iraqi security forces and when we can expect them to take over vital security missions in their country. We need to know the number of U.S. and coalition advisors needed to support Iraqi security forces. And, finally, we need to know the benchmarks by which we will measure the political stability of Iraq.
The fog of war is thick in Iraq, and this administration has only added to it by sticking to their vague notions of success and stability. But the President can cut through the fog by providing clear and demonstrable criteria by which we can judge our progress and, hopefully, success in Iraq.
Since the start of this war, I and many of my colleagues have implored the President to level with the American people and our troops over the true cost and end strategy for the war. It is time for the administration and Congress to be honest with us about a path forward in Iraq--a path towards a success that brings our men and women home and restores our credibility at home and abroad.
I urge my colleagues to oppose the rule, and allow consideration of a critical amendment that will give our Nation a clear path forward in Iraq.
The material previously referred to by Mr. McGovern is as follows:
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