DECLARING THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL PREVAIL IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR
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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply concerned about the current situation in Iraq, as are the vast majority of Americans. We need an honest assessment from the civilian leadership at the Pentagon about what is working and what is not working, and what needs to change in terms of our strategy.
I strongly oppose efforts to weaken the position of our military by setting an arbitrary deadline for withdrawal of our military forces. We all want American troops to return home from Iraq as soon as possible. Some Members of Congress have called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq--I disagree with them.
As a longtime supporter of our military, I believe that a calendar-based date for withdrawal serves as a rallying point for insurgents. It also places a target on the backs of American troops. Finally, I am very concerned that the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops would leave a volatile vacuum of power in Iraq, which would rapidly be filled by insurgents. A better alternative is for Congress to clearly delineate the conditions that, if met, would permit a U.S. withdrawal.
Standing around arguing about why we're in this position doesn't serve a good purpose, in my opinion. Instead, I think today's debate is an opportunity to talk about how we can develop a strategy for success. Regardless of when the last American soldier leaves Iraq, I want to be able to look at him or her and be able to say that the service of our military achieved something greater than the political ends of a few here in Washington. I hope all of my colleagues share that desire. A strategy for success should be comprehensive--it should include not just a military role, but also a plan for political, diplomatic, and economic success.
In the next few weeks, a field artillery unit from my district--the 222nd--is heading home after a long year in Iraq. These soldiers have made immense sacrifices on behalf of our great Nation and I am so grateful that they're going to be back in Utah. We all have constituents serving overseas and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our military service members for their work on behalf of all Americans.
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