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U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, And Iraq Accountability Act, 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


U.S. TROOP READINESS, VETERANS' HEALTH, AND IRAQ ACCOUNTABILITY ACT, 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2007)

* Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this conference report because it recognizes the reality on the ground in Iraq. It's past time for the President to recognize that reality and to change course in Iraq.

* As events in Iraq have shown repeatedly over the last 4 years, we are fighting an insurgency that retains the support of the Iraqi people. Every previous troop increase the President has implemented has failed to achieve its stated end: to reduce the violence and buy time for Iraq's government to work out a political solution to end the insurgency. So far, the President's latest troop surge has produced the same result: The insurgents have adapted, our casualties are rising, and Iraq's leaders are no closer to a political settlement that will end the fighting than they were before the ``surge'' began.

* This week, the Government Accountability Office provided fresh evidence that events in Iraq are spiraling out of control.

* GAO Comptroller General David Walker testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on April 23 that ``Despite U.S. and Iraqi efforts to shift a greater share of the country's defense on Iraqi forces, the security situation continues to deteriorate.'' Mr. Walker further noted that ``in November 2006, the State Department reported that corruption and infiltration by militias and others loyal to parties other than the Iraqi government have resulted in the Iraqi security forces being part of the problem in many areas instead of the solution.'' So despite multiple changes in our approach to training Iraq's security forces over the past 4 years, they remain just as sectarianly fragmented, undermanned and infiltrated by insurgents as when we began the process in 2003.

* Additionally, Iraq's civilian government shows no signs of reforming itself. Indeed, as Mr. Walker noted in his testimony, ``Some Iraqi ministries, including the Ministries of Interior, Agriculture, Health, Transportation, and Tourism, are led by ministers whose allegiance is to political parties hostile to U.S. goals. These ministers use their positions to pursue partisan agendas that conflict with the goal of building a government that represents all ethnic groups.''

* The Iraqi population continues to support the insurgents. Iraq's security forces remain ineffective, corrupt, and infiltrated by insurgents. Iraq's sectarian civil war rages. Key Iraqi Government ministers are actively working against stated American aims in Iraq. And the President of the United States wants this Congress to write him a blank check to continue funding this failed policy.

* Fortunately, the conference report before us rejects the President's failed approach and holds him and the Iraqi Government accountable for events on the ground in this civil war-ravaged country. Passing this bill will send a clear message to Iraq's leaders that the patience of the American people has limits. Passing this bill is the best way to pressure Iraq's leaders to do what is necessary to end their civil war, because this Congress will not leave American troops in the crossfire between Iraq's sectarian factions year after year. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for this bill.


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