Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter this afternoon to President Bush in advance of his speech to the nation tomorrow morning on the war in Iraq. In the letter, Pelosi urged the President to answer the following questions on the war and our nation's security:
- How do we address the unacceptable state of our military readiness?
- What conditions will factor in troop withdrawals beyond those schedule for completion in July?
- How will the United State address the threat in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan?
- What will be done to encourage the Iraqi government to spend more on reconstruction and security?
- How can the U.S. diplomatic efforts be made more effective to promote regional security?
The text of the letter follows:
April 9, 2008
The Honorable George W. Bush
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are six years into a war that has claimed more than 4,000 American lives, including 17 in recent days according to media reports, cost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to meet urgent needs at home, and damaged the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world. General Petraeus admitted on Tuesday that "we haven't turned any corners, we haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel " in Iraq. Tomorrow, you will give the American people your assessment of the situation in Iraq in light of the reports of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.
The American people are entitled to know when they will receive a more hopeful report than the one provided by General Petraeus, and what changes in policy you will make to achieve it before you leave office. In your speech to the nation tomorrow, I urge you to provide answers to the following questions:
- Senior military leaders have repeatedly warned that the unacceptable state of military readiness of our ground forces is a threat to our own security. How will that threat be reduced as long as more than 140,000 of our troops are deployed in Iraq?
- What are the conditions on which decisions for troop withdrawals beyond those scheduled to be completed in July will be based?
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our intelligence agencies have concluded that the most direct threat to the United States homeland is in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. How much longer will that threat be allowed to grow because our resource commitment in Iraq makes it impossible to respond adequately?
- What will be done to encourage the government of Iraq to devote more of its own growing resources to its own reconstruction and security so that the severe impact of the war on the American economy can be reduced?
- How can U.S. diplomatic efforts to encourage Iraq's neighbors to support political accommodation in Iraq, improve security, and promote regional stability be made more effective?
Improving the situation in Iraq so that the redeployment of our troops can occur more rapidly than described by General Petraeus cannot wait for the next Administration. I urge you to convey a sense of urgency on this matter in your speech that matches that felt by the American people.
Thank you for your consideration of these critical questions.
Speaker of the House