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It's past time for an Iraq exit strategy

By Rep Brad Miller
Tue Oct 25, 2005 at 03:32:03 PM PDT

I know I said when I posted my floor speech on Katrina relief that I would not make it a habit to post floor speeches here as diaries. Does twice a habit make?

This evening David Price, who represents an adjoining district in North Carolina, and I will introduce a resolution calling on the President to set forth what remains to be done before we can bring our folks home from Iraq, and to present a plan for withdrawing from Iraq, including "the expected time for completing the withdrawal." In other words, it calls for an exit strategy and a timeline.

Rep Brad Miller's diary :: ::
Here's what I plan to say this evening:

"Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of the Price-Miller resolution.

"Mr. Speaker, millions of Americans feel increasing frustration with the contrived reasons given for invading Iraq, with the lack of any realistic plan for the aftermath of our invasion, and with the Administration's failure to state clearly what has to happen for our military to come home. And I feel the same frustration. This Administration has said simply that we should 'stay the course,' but has failed to declare our port of destination. It is hard to believe that there is a course, that we are not simply drifting rudderless.

"Mr. Speaker, it has become painfully clear that most Iraqis now see our military, who have served admirably, as an occupying army. Iraqis believe that the United States intends to occupy Iraq on a long term basis, and they believe that our government intends to dominate the elected Iraqi government, rather than to respect that government as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign nation with control of its own natural resources, security, and public safety.

"Iraqis' suspicions about our intentions undermine the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, and fuel the insurgency that continues unabated.

"Mr. Speaker, if our presence in Iraq is truly not for Iraq's oil or for a permanent staging area for military operations in that part of the world, we need to say so. We need to state clearly that we do not intend a long term occupation of Iraq, and that Iraqis will decide their own future. We need to say out loud that we will transfer to Iraq's security forces the bases now used by our military and that we will maintain no permanent bases or long-term military presence in Iraq.

"The Price-Miller resolution calls for more than the platitudes that we 'stay the course' or 'finish the job.' We demand that the President state clearly the remaining mission of our military in Iraq, and to state the time period that the president believes will be required to accomplish that mission. What needs to happen for our men and women to come home, and when does the Bush Administration think that will happen.

"And Mr. Speaker, there is no better way to persuade the Iraqi people that we really intend to withdraw than to begin withdrawing. The Price-Miller resolution calls for a partial withdrawal as soon as possible.

"There is still work to be done to help the new Iraq government achieve stability and an enduring democracy, and we need to give new urgency to those efforts. We need to train Iraq's security forces and engage other nations in that effort. We need to help reconstruction efforts and provide diplomatic support to the new government.

"But the referendum approving the new constitution gives us the opportunity, an opportunity we must seize, to change fundamentally what we are fighting for and what Iraqi insurgents are fighting against. Mr. Speaker, we cannot do that unless we say credibly, out loud, that our military is not there to stay."

And here's the resolution itself:

I've read this site enough to know that this community is unanimously frustrated with our course in Iraq and angry about how we got there. So am I, and so are a lot of Democratic Members of Congress. There is less unanimity here about what to do now. This resolution and these remarks are where I am.



Washington, Oct 25 - Today, US Rep. David Price (NC-04) and US Rep. Brad Miller (NC-13), outspoken critics of the Bush Administration's handling of Iraq, have introduced a joint resolution, directing the President to submit a detailed plan to Congress for ending the occupation of that country, including a near-term initial drawdown of US troops.

Price and Miller will make remarks on the House floor tonight at 7:15PM, citing today’s ratification of the constitutional referendum as “an opportunity that [the United States] must seize.



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