Ryan Statement on General Petraeus' and Ambassador Crocker's Testimony
First District Congressman Paul Ryan attended yesterday's joint hearing of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees to listen to the testimony of General David Petraeus, Commanding General of the multi-national force in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. Today Congressman Ryan made the following statement regarding the assessments and recommendations that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have shared with Congress:
"First, I would like to commend and thank our troops for the significant progress they have made, working together with Iraqis, toward securing Iraq and defeating al Qaeda in Iraq. Without downplaying the enormous challenges ahead, General Petraeus cited concrete examples of how the security situation in Iraq has been improving since new strategies and the troop surge were enacted. Our military men and women and their leaders in the field deserve credit for these hard-won gains."
"I was also encouraged that General Petraeus spoke of reducing U.S. troop levels in Iraq over the months ahead - something all of us are very anxious to see happen. That is why it is key that we continue helping the Iraqis to prepare their security forces to take the lead in operations. We want to see this transition happen as soon as possible, so that our troops can come home. While I would prefer to see an accelerated timetable that brings our soldiers home sooner than the General outlined, I understand that drawing down our forces suddenly, without regard for the conditions on the ground or the ability of the Iraqis to defend themselves, would forfeit the progress our troops have made and have devastating consequences. This is why we can't overstate the importance of getting the Iraqi security forces ready to take charge of defending their country."
"Though General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker's testimony demonstrated forward momentum, I'm disappointed that political advances in Iraq haven't kept pace with the military progress we've seen in recent months. An August 26 communique issued by five prominent Iraqi national leaders about agreement on draft legislation shows promise, but we need to start seeing more cooperation and real results."
"It's clear the troops are succeeding, but it is unclear the Iraqi government is working. While there is reason for hope on a political breakthrough, we need to do more to pressure Iraqi politicians to bring political reconciliation so we can accelerate this transition to a stable Iraq so that we can bring our troops home as soon as possible."