The Occupation of Iraq
America must protect vital security interests, but we should set the standard for peace and restraint around the world.
I believe, as do many Americans, that President Bush's decision to invade Iraq was made hastily and without sufficient proof or provocation. Nonetheless, the president's actions leave our military and the Iraqi people in an extremely difficult situation.
Our men and women in uniform heroically met every objective decisively in the early weeks of the war in Iraq. Since that time, they have had to serve as an occupation force, a task they were not as fully trained or equipped to perform. They have served just as heroically in this new role, but without clearly defined objectives. We hear and see the sad results every week in the news.
My heart tells me it is wrong for our military to stay in Iraq indefinitely. My conversations with military families show me how high a cost we are paying to stay there. My survey of economics tells me that the occupation is far too costly to maintain. But I realize a responsibility that America has to protect the lives and safety of our troops, to provide security for the Iraqi people, and to leave a stable government when we depart.
* Our nation's leadership must be committed to a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in the near future rather than to an indefinite occupation.
* For our foreign policy to be successful, it must be formulated by both the President and Congress.
* Our political and military leaders must move aggressively to return responsibility for the security and stability of Iraq to the Iraqis. I believe the Iraqis must determine what the appropriate government for their country should be.
* Our troops must receive all of the equipment and the full body armor they need to perform their mission more safely, and I will demand it.
I further believe that America owes a debt of gratitude to the veterans who have sacrificed their time, their safety, in some cases their health and their lives in service to our country. I am committed to honoring their service by providing services for them as they return home.