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Issue Position: The War in Iraq

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Issue Position: The War in Iraq

America continues to pay an enormous price in lives, financial resources, and respect in the world, for the war in Iraq.

• Nearly 2,700 American service men and women have been lost.

• Nearly 20,000 servicemen and woman have been wounded.

• Since the war began, we've lost an average of two soldiers each day.

• More than 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. As a percentage of population, that is the equivalent of 345,000 Americans.

• More than $320 billion has already been spent, and a recent estimate by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz suggests the total cost will exceed $1 trillion.

America is in a continuing quagmire in Iraq because President Bush has ignored or fired those who dared to speak the truth and rewarded those who arrogantly and incompetently managed the war. The record is clear and long.

• Troop Levels - On the eve of the war in 2003, the Bush Administration sidelined the Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, because he said we would need more than 200,000 troops. After the fall of Baghdad, the Administration ignored the Coalition Provisional Authority Director, Paul Bremer, when he said America would need more troops.

• Troop strain - The Administration forced three-star General John Riggs, who was responsible for modernizing the Army, to retire as a two-star general when he said in 2004 he'd never seen the military as strained in 39 years.

• Intelligence - The Administration tried to force International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei from renewing his term because he disagreed with the administration's intelligence assessment. CIA covert agent Valerie Plame was "outed" when her husband disagreed the with intelligence. After the highly respected national security expert, General Brent Scowcroft, who served under the first President Bush, published an article, "Don't Attack Saddam," in August 2002, President Bush declined to reappoint him as Chair of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board when his term expired.

• Cost - The Administration sacked Economic Advisor Larry Lindsay when he predicted the war would cost $100-$200 billion.

• Torture - The Administration ignored the advice of military lawyers that torture and other harsh interrogation that violated long-standing laws and treaty obligations.

• Contracting - The Bush Administration demoted a senior contracting official who challenged the first $7 billion sweetheart deal for Halliburton

For the sake of our troops in Iraq and our standing in the world, it's time for the President to listen more carefully to the advice of those who disagree with his misguided policy.

America's overwhelming military presence has inflamed the insurgency, and Generals Casey and Abizaid have said a smaller American presence would contribute to a reduction in the violence.

Iraqis must begin to take responsibility for their own future, so that we can begin to reduce our military presence in the country.

We need to give greater priority to rebuilding Iraq, and promoting reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis. We need to recognize the importance of Iran in stabilizing Iraq. Additionally, we need to promote diplomacy between Iraq and her neighborhoods to reduce outside interference. Ironically, by going to war to prevent WMD in Iraq, the Bush Administration may well have made it easier for Iran to acquire WMD.


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