Obama Statement on the National Intelligence Estimate
Dillion, SC -- In response to the declassification of the National Intelligence Estimate today, Barack Obama released the following statement, and proposed immediate reforms the United States should undertake to begin the withdrawal of our troops to put pressure on Iraq's leaders to resolve the political impasse at the heart of this civil war, and to ease the growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
"This National Intelligence Estimate underscores the fundamental truth that we cannot continue to substitute the bravery of our troops for a true commitment from the Iraqi government to resolve the grievances at the heart of their civil war, and a true commitment from the Administration to aggressive diplomacy" said Obama.
Obama believes the only solution to this civil war is political, not military, which is why he proposed and continues to urge a withdrawal of American forces engaged in combat that puts pressure on the Iraqi government to reach the political accommodations that will prevent further disaster. He also proposed specific steps to alleviate the urgent humanitarian crisis created by this war and warned of in the NIE. More than four million Iraqis have already been displaced, some two million into neighboring countries. An additional 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes each month. This requires urgent action by the United States government and the international community, not a stay the course approach that puts the sole responsibility on our troops.
Obama proposes we:
* Responsibly redeploy our troops from Iraq by issuing a transparent time table for the planned withdrawal of our troops.
* Aggressively surge the diplomacy required to press for a political solution within Iraq, and to keep neighboring countries from fomenting instability in Iraq.
* Dramatically increase assistance to Iraq's two million displaced.
* Dramatically increase assistance for refugees, including the more than 2 million in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt.
* Fill the 7,000 asylum slots in the United States that the State Department pledged to fill earlier in the year. Political leadership will be required to expedite the department of homeland security's review of Iraqi asylum applicants. Thus far, this year, only 190 Iraqis have been allowed into the United States â" an embarrassing number given the scope of the problem, and the fact that many Iraqis have risked their lives working with American forces in Iraq.
* Appeal to those countries that were part of the Coalition in the Iraq war to expand their refugee quotas and to increase bilateral assistance to Iraq's neighbors who are carrying the refugee burden. Arab governments, especially US allies in the Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, should also be enlisted.
* Ensure that our military and financial assistance to Iraqâs government and security forces is not being diverted to sectarian militias.
* And make clear to the militia leaders and government officials in Iraq that the United States and the international community is going to catalogue and prepare to hold the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide accountable for their crimes.