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Administration Must Level with American People About War in Iraq

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Location: Washington, DC


ADMINISTRATION MUST LEVEL WITH AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT WAR IN IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - June 14, 2005)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, either the Bush administration refuses to see the reality on the ground in Iraq or they are deceiving the American people as to the continued war in Iraq. During a Memorial Day interview on CNN's Larry King, Vice President Cheney said he believed the insurgency was in its ``last throes.''

Where exactly is the Vice President getting his information? It certainly is not coming from the generals on the ground. According to a report from Knight-Ridder, a growing number of senior American military officers in Iraq have concluded there is no longer a military solution to the insurgency in Iraq, an insurgency that military leaders on the ground say is not running out of recruits. In the news report, Lt. Colonel Frederick Wellman said, ``We can't kill them all. When I kill one I create three.''

That certainly does not sound like we have the insurgency under control, and, as the Vice President suggests, that they are in their ``last throes.''

Things are really getting so bad in Iraq, Mr. Speaker, that we are beginning finally to hear Republican Congressmen step forward and question some of the outrageous claims made by the Bush administration in regard to their policy in Iraq. This past weekend, my Republican friend, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones), came forward and said that the Bush administration needs to have a deadline for its war in Iraq.

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) and I have been next-door neighbors in the Cannon House Office Building for years. As visitors to our wing of the fourth floor walk down the hallway, they see the faces of the fallen. Since the beginning of the war, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) has been hanging up the pictures of the brave American soldiers who have died in Iraq. It started right outside his door and spread so quickly that the faces are outside each of the Members' doors of our wing of the Cannon Building.

Another one of our Republican colleagues, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), criticized the Bush administration for not leveling with the American people about the real number of Iraqi troops that have been trained to date.

On Sunday's ``Meet the Press,'' the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) said, ``We can't come back to America and have our people be convinced that the Iraqi troops are prepared to take over when they are not.'' Weldon went on to say that the administration needs to come to grips with the rising insurgency, again an insurgency that Vice President Cheney refuses to acknowledge.

Mr. Speaker, these are the kinds of statements we have heard for the last year from a large group of my Democratic colleagues. We have been calling on House Republican leaders to hold this administration responsible for its faulty intelligence. We have called on the House Republican leadership to hold this administration accountable for the 20-plus billion dollars spent in Iraq. We have called on the House Republican leadership to call the war leaders at the Pentagon up to Capitol Hill to explain their war strategy. And to this date, the House Republican leadership simply refuses to hold the Bush administration responsible for the way it is conducting the war in Iraq.

It is refreshing to finally hear several Republican colleagues questioning the actions of this administration. However, it simply is not enough. At a time when the Army and Marines are having a difficult time reaching their recruitment goals for the military of the future, at a time when the Bush administration is painting a far rosier picture of the number of Iraqi troops that have been trained, at a time when the Bush administration refuses to admit that the insurgency in Iraq is getting bigger and more difficult to deal with by the day, the House Republican leadership cannot continue to ignore a growing number of Members of this Chamber, of both parties, who are demanding that the administration level with the American people about the Iraq war.

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