SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 2--EXPRESSING THE BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION ON IRAQ -- (Senate - January 17, 2007)
Mr. BIDEN (for himself, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Levin, and Ms. Snowe) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:
S. Con. Res. 2
Whereas the United States strategy and presence on the ground in Iraq can only be sustained with the support of the American people and bipartisan support from Congress;
Whereas maximizing chances of success in Iraq should be our goal, and the best chance of success requires a change in current strategy;
Whereas the situation in Iraq is damaging the standing, influence, and interests of the United States in Iraq, the Middle East, and around the world;
Whereas more than 137,000 United States military personnel are bravely and honorably serving in Iraq and deserve the support of all Americans;
Whereas more than 3,000 United States military personnel have already lost their lives in Iraq, and more than 22,500 have been wounded in Iraq;
Whereas on January 10, 2007, President George W. Bush announced his plan to deepen the United States military involvement in Iraq by deploying approximately 21,000 additional United States combat forces to Iraq;
Whereas Iraq is witnessing widening sectarian and intra-sectarian violence;
Whereas Iraqis must reach a political settlement if there is going to be a reconciliation in Iraq, and the failure of the Iraqis to achieve such a settlement has led to the increase in violence in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated on November 27, 2006, that ``[t]he crisis is political, and the ones who can stop the cycle of aggravation and bloodletting of innocents are the politicians.';
Whereas an open-ended commitment of United States forces in Iraq is unsustainable and a deterrent to the Iraqis making the political compromises and providing the personnel and resources that are needed for violence to end and for stability and security to be achieved in Iraq;
Whereas the responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq must rest primarily with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces;
Whereas there have been repeated promises by the Government of Iraq to assume a greater share of security responsibilities, disband militias, consider amendments to the Iraq constitution, enact laws to reconcile sectarian differences, and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people, but those promises have not been kept;
Whereas a successful strategy in Iraq is dependent upon the Iraqi leaders fulfilling their promises;
Whereas the commander of the United States Central Command, General John Abizaid, testified to Congress on November 15, 2006, that ``[i]t's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon us to do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from taking more responsibility for their own future';
Whereas the Iraq Study Group suggested a comprehensive strategy to ``enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly' based on ``new and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts in Iraq and the region';
Whereas the United States Army and Marine Corps, including their Reserves and the Army National Guard, their personnel, and their families, are under enormous strain from multiple, extended deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas the majority of nondeployed Army and Marine Corps units are no longer combat ready due to a lack of equipment and insufficient time to train; and
Whereas the United States strategy in Iraq must not compromise the ability of the United States to address other vital national security priorities, in particular global terror networks, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional stability in the Middle East, the nuclear program of Iran, the nuclear weapons of North Korea, and stability and security in Afghanistan: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that--
(1) it is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq;
(2) the primary objective of United States strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Iraq;
(3) greater concerted regional, and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation;
(4) main elements of the mission of United States forces in Iraq should transition to helping ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, and accelerate training of Iraqi troops;
(5) the United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq to the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces; and
(6) the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, today, Senator Hagel, Senator Levin, and I are submitting a bipartisan resolution that opposes the President's plan to escalate the war in Iraq.
This resolution says what we and many of our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, are against: deepening America's military involvement in Iraq by escalating our troop presence.
Just as important, it says what we and many of our colleagues are for: a strategy that can produce a political settlement in Iraq.
That's the only way to stop Shiites and Sunnis from killing each other and allow our troops to leave Iraq without leaving chaos behind.
Last week, when Secretary of State Rice presented the President's plan to escalate our troop presence in Iraq to the Foreign Relations Committee, the reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike ranged from profound skepticism to outright opposition.
This resolution will give every Senator a chance to say where he or she stands on the President's plan.
I believe that when a President goes way off course on something as important as Iraq, the single most effective way to get him to change course is to demonstrate that his policy has waning or no support--from both parties.
The more we make Iraq a partisan issue, the more the President is likely to dig in. The more we show that Americans across the board don't want to go down the path of escalation, the better our chance to stop it.
Iraq is not a partisan issue. It's a challenge we must meet as Americans.
The very first sentence of our resolution says something the three of us believe profoundly: ``U.S. strategy and presence on the ground in Iraq can only be sustained with the support of the American people and the bipartisan support of Congress.'
This resolution will demonstrate that, right now, the support is not there for the President's policy in Iraq. The sooner he recognizes that reality and acts on it, the better off all of us will be.