July 26, 2006
The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Mr. Secretary:
The plan announced by President Bush yesterday to deploy additional U.S. forces to Baghdad raises some important questions about the extended U.S. troop presence in Iraq. There is an increasingly widespread perception that the Administration is not being forthcoming with Congress or the American people about Iraq's escalating civil war and the fact that U.S. troops are clearly not standing down as Iraqi security forces stand up. Given the importance of being honest about the situation in Iraq, I urge you to provide clear answers to these questions as soon as possible.
The President said yesterday at his White House news conference with Prime Minister Maliki that the additional U.S. troops being deployed to Baghdad "will come from other areas of the country." Yet a CNN report on this plan yesterday stated that a "senior Defense Department official said that part of a backup force that had been stationed in Kuwait was heading into Iraq." There have been other conflicting reports, with some news reports today also indicating that additional U.S. troops will be sent to Baghdad from Kuwait as part of this plan.
It is essential that the Administration be completely straightforward about the situation in Iraq, particularly when it comes to U.S. troops being put in harm's way. In the interest of setting the record straight, please provide clear answers to the following questions:
1. Is it true that additional U.S. troops are currently being deployed to Iraq from Kuwait, and if so, how many?
2. Are troops from Kuwait now being sent to Baghdad, or will they be replacing troops from other areas that are being sent to Baghdad?
3. Is the deployment of additional troops from Kuwait part of the plan announced by the President yesterday?
4. Can you state unequivocally that this plan will not result in an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq?
5. Will this plan lengthen the deployments of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq?
6. How will you measure the security situation in Baghdad, and what conditions will allow for these additional U.S. troops to be removed?
7. What does this mean for the Pentagon's reported plan to begin withdrawing American troops from Iraq this year?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to receiving your responses to these questions as soon as possible.