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Location: Washington, DC

IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - December 13, 2005)

Mr. DeFAZIO. Well, with great fanfare last week and very belatedly, the President unveiled a document called A Plan For Victory in Iraq, and he said that this was a declassified version of the longstanding military strategy in Iraq.

Now, help to review that strategy: The initial strategy based on unrealistic assumptions by Mr. Wolfowitz, Mr. Rumsfeld, and others was that our troops would be welcomed as liberators, we would be drawn down to 40,000 troops within a few months, and that the Iraqis would be able to pay for their rebuilding themselves. Of course, all these things were horribly, horribly wrong. A number of us have called to remove Mr. Rumsfeld for more than a couple of years now, but he is still there. So we would assume that the President condones the incredible mistakes that he has made which have caused many, many American lives.

Now, with his support slumping into the 30s on his execution of the war in Iraq, the President has decided to shift gears. Now, that would be good if this was really a declassified version of a credible military plan for victory and return of our troops home from Iraq. Unfortunately, the White House and its folks do not quite understand high technology and the Internet, and by clicking on this, you could find out who really wrote it. It was not written by a military strategist, it was not written at the Pentagon; it was written by a political science professor named Peter D. Feaver from Duke University, and his specialty is polling and public opinion on military conflicts. He has a theory that Vietnam could have continued if only the American people had been given a vision that we were headed toward victory, and he is now testing that theory by writing this document which the President presented as an actual declassified version of a military document. It is not. It is a political construct based on a theory of a political science professor from Duke University who the President has named to the National Security Council. So the dissembling continues here for the American people.

We want a real plan on how we are going to bring our troops home from Iraq. We do not want any more dissembling, we do not want any more Pollyannas. The President seems in his recent speeches to be admitting to the numerous mistakes that were made, but if we look at this document and the way it has been presented, they just made another grievous mistake for the American people. In fact, the general in charge in Iraq, Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey, top military official in charge of training Iraqi troops, he surprised some reporters by saying that the first time he saw our strategy for victory in Iraq was the day it was released to the press. So this administration is still failing to create a clear vision.

I and others have proposed that the President should negotiate with the newly elected Iraqi government after the elections on a withdrawal, or enhance their credibility, their legitimacy. I think it would also begin to remove a crutch which they are using, which is the U.S. forces in Iraq. They are not settling their differences legitimately between the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Kurds, and of course many predicted that before the war, but the administration also glossed over that. And they will not as long as the U.S. is there, and the Sunnis in particular resent the U.S. presence. So if we negotiated that sort of an agreement with them and had a timeline to draw down and remove our troops and stand up the Iraqis, I believe that then the insurgency would abate, as do many others, including others in the military who have said that in fact it is our forces that are the kindling for many, other than the foreign fighters who are there, and then soon the Iraqis would turn on the foreign fighters and hopefully then reclaim their own country. So I am very saddened to learn that this is yet one more deception by this administration in this sorry chapter in American history.

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