The lack of independent, accurate assessments about our progress in Iraq has stymied our efforts to secure the country and assist in its reconstruction. We have the world's most powerful military. If military might alone could succeed in Iraq, our mission would be complete by now.
We need more than a military strategy for Iraq--we need a plan for political, diplomatic and economic success. The President received such a strategy a year ago in the form of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG) report. Unfortunately, he did not adopt it.
Going forward, in trying to establish a new Iraq strategy, I am guided by a set of principles that 14 Democrats and 14 Republicans support, including:
* We need a clearly defined and measurable mission for military involvement
* The government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future and must make progress on political, security and economic benchmarks
* Our soldiers, including Guard and Reserves, must have adequate rest and recuperation time between deployments
* A safe and responsible redeployment of our Armed Forces is necessary to transfer the combat mission to the Iraqi forces
* Any ongoing mission must involve counterterrorism operations, force protection, equipping Iraqis, helping refugees and preventing genocide
It is immoral to play politics with the needs of the men and women who protect the ideals we hold so dear. Our troops have performed heroically. We owe them a new approach and a thoughtful approach to the situation in Iraq. We owe them a comprehensive strategy for success.
Our intelligence community tells us Al Qaeda--the number one threat to Americans--is strengthening. We must not weaken our capability to combat that threat. I will continue to look for responsible ways to change course in Iraq without engaging in political games that would compromise the safety of our soldiers.
2nd District of Utah
It's sad that Matheson is so far behind the Democratic platform when it comes to so many important issues.
Seriously, he's "pushing for" this "principle" to guide us?
We need a clearly defined and measurable mission for military involvement
We needed this years ago, and now we just need out.
Oh, and is Matheson still part of the group who thinks al Qaeda is a threat to us in Iraq? They're kicking our asses over in Afghanistan, but there's not enough oil there for us to really care.
Get with it, Matheson!