There is no question that the invasion of Iraq was and continues to be one of our greatest foreign policy mistakes, based on false and misleading intelligence. I believe we must begin to disengage our military from Iraq immediately. In general, we must get out of the business of nation-building and get back into the business of rebuilding alliances with our friends and international institutions. Congress must also begin to fill its constitutional duty by conducting meaningful and effective oversight of the administration's policies in Iraq.
The United States recently marked the third year of its military presence in Iraq. On Thursday, March 16, 2006, the House of Representatives approved a $75 billion supplemental spending bill, most of it for Iraq. The request will bring total U.S. spending in Iraq to approximately $250 billion.
To date, over 2,300 U.S. servicemen and women have lost their lives in Iraq, and 17,000 Americans are casualties of war. Estimates put the number of Iraqi dead at 30,000. We are witnessing rising levels of sectarian violence within Iraq and right next door a resurgent Iran, which is threatening to renounce outright its commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ironically, the greatest winner in Iraq has been Iran. Because Iraq is an albatross around our neck, we're having trouble stopping Iran's nuclear program, which is a larger threat to the United States than Iraq ever was.
The United States is losing its credibility around the world in large part due to its continued military presence in Iraq. Our nation had been viewed by the rest of the world as a beacon of fairness and truth. Now a large part of the world no longer sees the United States as the shining city on the hill, as the standard bearer of decency, truth, and fairness. Sadly, our nation has squandered its upper hand in the world of ideas, which is really what the struggle against extremism and terrorism is all about.
I believe we must disengage militarily from Iraq in 2006. We must get out of the business of nation-building and get back into the business of rebuilding alliances with our friends and international institutions. Congress must also begin to fill its constitutional duty by conducting meaningful and effective oversight of the administration's policies in Iraq.