WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today, in the fourth in a series of speeches he has given on our nation’s national security and the Administration’s flawed policy in Iraq, spoke from the Senate floor on the need to develop a flexible timetable and strategy to finish the military mission in Iraq.
In June, Feingold introduced a resolution, the first of its kind in the Senate, that calls for the President to clarify the military mission in Iraq, lay out a plan and timeframe for accomplishing that mission, and publicly articulate a plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq. In August, Feingold again jumpstarted the discussion about Iraq by becoming the first member of the U.S. Senate to propose a target date to finish the military mission in Iraq – December 31, 2006. Because of the Administration’s conflicting signals about the duration of U.S. troop deployments, Feingold said he felt obligated to propose a specific goal for bringing U.S. forces home from Iraq.
“The President is one of an ever-narrowing group of people who believe that a timetable works against our goals in Iraq, Feingold said. “Military experts, people I talked to in Iraq, the American people increasingly agree that the Administration’s refusal to even suggest a timetable for meeting our military goals in Iraq is feeding the insurgency. And not only does the lack of a timetable feed the insurgency, it also discourages Iraqi ownership of their own political process. By making it clear that the U.S. will not be there indefinitely, we will help the Iraqis move toward the real political independence they need and dispel some of the cynicism about American intentions that empowers some of the more extreme elements of Iraqi society.”
Today’s remarks by Feingold
His July 27 speech, “The Lack of a Coherent Policy in Iraq,” can be found at: http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/05/07/2005728344.html.
The transcript of his August 23 speech, “American National Security and Finishing the Mission in Iraq,” is available at: http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/05/08/2005823.html.
His September 29 speech, “The President’s Policies in Iraq are Breaking the U.S. Army,” is available here: http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/05/09/2005928.html.
Feingold has also debunked several myths the Administration and others have put forth about U.S. policy in Iraq. That is available here: http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/releases/05/09/2005909346.html.
“A timetable is important because it enables us to devote more resources to the other national security issues that demand our attention,” Feingold said. “To fight the global terrorist networks that threaten the U.S., we need to focus energy and resources on countering emerging terrorist tactics, dealing with the threat of “loose nukes,” and repairing the damage to our Army, to name just a few urgent priorities. Drawing down U.S. troops in Iraq will allow us to focus on these priorities. It’s time to make sure that our Iraq policy is advancing, not undermining, our national security goals.”