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Udall Statement on Presiden't Iraq Speech

Location: Westminister, CO


(Westminster, CO) -- Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) released the following statement in reaction to President Bush's Iraq speech:

"After weeks of bad news from Iraq, the president had little choice but to explain how he thinks we can achieve a secure and stable government in Iraq and avoid a political and military quagmire that would undermine our efforts on terrorism.

"We have an awesome task ahead of us. We need to stay the goal-building a stable Iraqi democracy-but we need to steer a better course to achieve it. The president's announcement is a first step, but frankly his actions will speak louder than his words.

"Seeking a new U.N. resolution to formally transfer power in Iraq to a sovereign interim government by June 30 is a positive step, but we must be realistic about the future leadership of Iraq. We may never find an Iraqi version of Nelson Mandela, but we must work more proactively with native Iraqi leadership, and we may have to adjust our expectations about Iraq's capacity to adopt Western-style democratic institutions.

"Maintaining security during the power transition is critical to the success of the new government. We cannot allow Iraq to descend into civil war and become a safe haven for terrorists. The U.S. should seek an immediate commitment from our allies for additional troops to stabilize Iraq. We must make Iraq's stability the world's responsibility, not America's alone. This will take the diplomacy President Bush had so little patience for in his rush to war in order to build a new international consensus on Iraq.

"The president must address how much our involvement in Iraq will cost the American taxpayers. The administration should be honest about all the costs of nation-building in Iraq. Part of this cost should be a loan against Iraq's future oil revenues. It is important to spread the enormous cost in a way that does not hobble our own economy."

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