IRAQ WAR RESOLUTION -- (House of Representatives - February 15, 2007)
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Mr. HOLDEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Concurrent Resolution 63. I
also rise in strong support of the brave men and women who have served or are serving in Iraq and around the world.
I represent thousands of men and women on Active Duty and in the National Guard and in the Reserves. I have visited our wounded and injured troops at both Walter Reed and Landstuhl Regional Center in Germany. My commitment to our brave men and women is unwavering. However, I disagree with deploying more than 20,000 more U.S. combat troops to Iraq.
The President has consistently said that the size of the force would be determined by military leaders on the ground. Yet the two previous leading commanders on the ground do not support the addition of more troops. General George Casey, the former commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq and current chief of staff of the Army, advocated transferring security duties to Iraqi soldiers.
General Casey said, ``The longer we and the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq's security, it lengthens the time that the Government of Iraq has to make the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias.'' He goes on to say, ``And the other thing is that they continue to blame us for all of Iraq's problems, which at face are their problems. It has always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq in the long run.''
Additionally, General John P. Abizaid, the former commander of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, has said that he did not believe that adding more American troops right now is the solution to the problem, and also advocated transferring responsibility to the Iraqis.
General Abizaid said, ``I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps Commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more. It is easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us to do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.''
During the course of the war, I visited Iraq twice, in 2003 and 2005. While I was there, the main goal, other than achieving victory, was developing Iraq's infrastructure. Yet after 4 years and hundreds of billions of dollars, we have not had much success in improving infrastructure and still face serious problems. Oil production is one-half of the prewar level, while conditions of basic services, such as water, power and sewage, are below that. In Baghdad, electricity levels are at an all-time low. And while we have spent billions of dollars on these problems, $9 billion is lost and unaccounted for.
That is why I also rise today in support of the Blue Dog resolution which provides cost accountability for Operation Iraqi Freedom. This resolution will directly address the infrastructure and security failures in Iraq. More specifically, the resolution requires the Department of Defense Inspector General and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction to report to Congress every 90 days with:
One, a detailed accounting of how military and reconstruction funds in Iraq have been spent;
Two, a detailed accounting of the types and terms of contracts awarded on behalf of the United States;
Three, a description of efforts to obtain support and assistance from other countries toward the rehabilitation of Iraq; and, finally,
Four, an assessment of what additional funding is needed to complete military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, including a plan for the security of Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, our troops have done their job and performed with great courage and honor. The solution in Iraq can no longer be resolved militarily. We must win both politically and diplomatically. We must ask Iraq's six neighbors to use influence that is consistent with our own objectives, and we must convince them that stability in the region is in their best interests.
In closing, I want to offer my utmost gratitude and appreciation for our troops. Our thoughts are with these brave men and women and also with their families as we pray for them to return safely.
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