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Biden Counters GOP and Emphasizes the Need for a Political Solution in Iraq


Location: Clarion, IA


Speaking in Iowa today, Sen. Joe Biden issued the following statement on Republican efforts to defend President Bush's surge strategy. He emphasized the continued need for a political solution in Iraq:

"Yesterday's attempt by John McCain and Rudy Giuliani to defend the Bush-Cheney troop surge in Iraq totally misses the point - and is misleading to the American people. Security in Iraq is better, thanks in no small measure to our troops. But there is no evidence - none - that the surge is succeeding in achieving its stated objective: to allow Iraqis to come together politically. There is no chance it will succeed so long as the Bush administration sticks to its failed strategy of trying to build a strong central government in Baghdad that wins the support of all Iraqis. There is no trust within the central government, no trust of the government by the people and no capacity on the part of the government to deliver basic security and services. Absent an occupation we cannot sustain or the return of a dictator we cannot want, Iraq cannot be governed from the center at this point in its history.

"There's only one possible path to a durable political settlement in Iraq and it's the one I proposed and that 74 other Senators endorsed: decentralize power and give Iraqis local control over their daily lives. The administration has a huge opportunity to use this relative decrease in violence to abandon the failed policy of strong central government and to bring the international community into the effort to push for a federal system, while starting to draw down our combat forces. But, President Bush and his supporters remain wedded to his failed strategy, which is prolonging the war and the bloodshed, with no end in sight. They are using American soldiers to keep a lid on the violence, but they lack a political plan to prevent chaos from returning as soon as our forces leave. This "stop gap strategy" means that more American lives will be lost, more American treasure will be spent and more harm will be done to our military without any chance for lasting success. That is unconscionable.

"The overwhelming majority of Americans believe we should leave Iraq without leaving chaos behind. The administration and its supporters have no strategy to achieve that objective. I do.

"Until we solve the problems in Iraq, the United States will have absolutely no credibility to solve problems that pose even greater threats around the world. Successfully dealing with Iraq will help restore America's global leadership."


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