PALLONE DENOUNCES PRESIDENT BUSH'S STRATEGY OF STATUS QUO IN IRAQ
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement tonight in response to President Bush's address to the nation regarding the continuing war in Iraq.
"President Bush offered no new ideas tonight on how to end the war in Iraq so we can concentrate on making America more secure. Instead, he offered ten more months of the status quo. It is clear that President Bush has no intention of reducing our presence in Iraq before he leaves office in 2009. Instead, he plans to leave the tough decisions about how to end the war in Iraq to his successor.
"While the president contends violence is dramatically down in parts of Iraq, he ignores the fact that this summer was the deadliest summer for American soldiers in Iraq since the war began. The overall security situation in Iraq has not changed since the troop escalation plan began, and yet he plans to continue with the same plan until next summer.
"At the beginning of the year, President Bush said the main point of his troop escalation plan was to create the stability to allow the Iraqi government to meet the 18 benchmarks he himself outlined. However, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), only three of the 18 benchmarks have been met.
"The status quo is simply not working, and a dramatic change is needed in Iraq. We should set a definite date for withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the spring of 2008. The Iraqi government is not going to make any tough decisions until it is blatantly clear that the American troop presence there is coming to an end soon. We should begin bringing our troops home now, and finish the process by next spring."