U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today released the following statement on President Obama's Oval office address regarding next steps in Iraq:
"Last night President Obama fulfilled our commitment to end the war in Iraq, withdraw combat troops, and give the Iraqi people a chance to determine their future.
"This is an important milestone for which many Americans, including myself, have long advocated. From my initial vote against authorizing the Iraq war, to my repeated support for bringing our troops back home, I have consistently argued that this was an ill-advised, ill-conceived, ill-timed war of choice that diverted our attention from Osama bin Laden and those who executed the 9-11 attacks on our homeland. But I have always remained steadfast in my support for our troops who have served in Iraq. It's because of their bravery and their sacrifice -- and the sacrifice of their families -- that Iraqis now have the opportunity to pursue a new future."
"The lessons of our engagement in Iraq, however, cannot be forgotten in our ongoing efforts to combat terrorist organizations and I still believe today that we must finish the job by capturing bin Laden and dismantling al Qaeda. That is why I support a forceful, targeted military offensive to attack and destroy Taliban and al Qaeda groups along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. But it is also why I believe that we should resist engaging our troops in a broader, indefinite effort to act as Afghanistan's de facto national police force."