Thursday, September 13, 2007



Washington, D.C. – In anticipation of President Bush’s primetime speech this evening on the Iraq war, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today released the following statement:

“I was appalled to hear Minority Leader Boehner's statement yesterday that the loss of American blood is a ‘small price’ to pay in Iraq. The loss of American blood is never a small price. This war has stretched our military thin, and in order to be prepared for a new or unexpected conflict we must responsibly redeploy our troops. It’s time to refocus our efforts on fighting those responsible for 9/11—al Qaeda—restoring our military to peak readiness, and to protecting Americans from terrorism.

“After four and a half years, $565 billion, 3,759 U.S. troops killed, more than 27,770 U.S. troops wounded, and no exit strategy, I hope to hear the President tonight offer a plan for redeployment and a true New Direction for Iraq, rather than continued commitment to a failed policy in Iraq.

“I also think it’s important to put some perspective on the President’s speech this evening. As he prepares to ask the American people, our men and women in uniform and our military families for continued sacrifice and commitment to his war in Iraq, I think we should keep in mind his promises and declarations throughout the four and a half years of this war.

“The President started us on this rollercoaster in May 2003, when he declared the mission accomplished and the end of major combat operations. Fifty three months later, the combat rages on, with American soldiers stuck in the middle of a civil war.

“In April 2004, he promised we would stay the course and ‘complete the job’—a job that apparently wasn’t accomplished.

“In May 2005, Vice President Cheney infamously declared that the insurgency was in its ‘last throws.’ Seven months later, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld took a dramatically different view, reporting that the insurgency was gaining strength. Twenty eight months after the Vice President’s remarks, the insurgency continues to surge.

“In June 2005, the president assured us that as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.

“And in January of this year, when the President announced his surge plan, he said he was firm with Iraqi leaders that our commitment wasn’t open ended. He said, ‘If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people.’

“Here we are, nine months after the surge plan, and the Iraqi government has not delivered on its end of the deal.

“The Iraqi government has failed to deliver on 15 of 18 benchmarks outlined by the Bush Administration. While our military has made progress in giving the Iraqi government some breathing room to make political progress, the commitment and sacrifice made by our brave military has not been matched by the Iraqi government. The line has been blurred between assistance and dependence, and its time to match our deeds with our words.”