Washington, Aug 31 - Congressman Marsha Blackburn made the following statement on the end of combat operations in Iraq and in anticipation of the President's remarks today.
"Today what it means to be Iraqi changes. Iraqis are no longer the subjects, targets, and pawns of a despotic madman. They are now a free and truly sovereign people. By many measures, they are the most free people in the Middle East. I cannot deny the challenges and continued instability of every day life in Iraq, nor should any of us deny the potential of the great people and nation of Iraq. As our mission shifts, so does much of freedom's obligation. Iraqis now bear a burden, not just for their own children, but for all those who suffer under totalitarian regimes in the region. They have within their power to be a beacon of freedom and prosperity in the Middle East and I am confident they will reach that potential."
"We cannot forget the sacrifices that have brought us to this point. Too many Tennesseans paid the last full measure of devotion to make Iraq free and America safe. They have my deepest gratitude. Without a bold surge strategy and the resolute service of the Tennessee Guard and 101st Airborne over multiple deployments, this would not be possible. While I regret that this transition is based more on arbitrary political desires than conditions on the ground, I am confident that the progress Tennessee's heroes made in the last seven years will not be rolled back."
"As we listen to the President tonight, we must keep in mind that he is reaping the benefits of a strategy he, the Vice President, and Secretary of State, all assessed with incredulity and distain. We must remember that the generals, soldiers and diplomats who we now credit with success were alternately called liars and traitors by the very people who now seek to share an achievement many prematurely called a failure. Then Senator Obama himself said "I am not persuaded that twenty thousand additional troops in Iraq is gonna solve the sectarian violence there, in fact I think it will do the reverse.' Tonight, the President should be humble in the face of the tremendous Iraqi and Coalition sacrifice made for Freedom."