Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement this afternoon on President Bush’s remarks today to the American Legion in Reno, Nevada. Below her statement is a fact sheet on Iraq:
“The President’s assertion that his escalation has been fully operational for two and a half months misses the point. American men and women have been fighting and dying in Iraq for nearly four and a half years. After all that time, and despite the 30,000 additional troops the President added this year, the new National Intelligence Estimate concludes that security improvements have been ‘uneven’ and that the level of overall violence in Iraq ‘remains high.’ In fact, the death toll from sectarian attacks is double last year’s level, according to news reports. The purpose of the surge was to provide the Iraqis ‘breathing room’ for political reconciliation – and the Maliki government has utterly failed.
“Rather than reducing the threat of terrorism and promoting stability in the Middle East, the President’s Iraq policy is making each worse. Until that policy is changed, the dire risks described by the President will not diminish.
“The President’s speech comes on a day when thousands of Americans are participating in town hall meetings and candlelight vigils across the country to demand a new direction in Iraq. It is time to begin a responsible redeployment to bring our troops home safely.”
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Since January of this year, we have lost 729 brave servicemen and women to the war in Iraq. As U.S. casualties continue to mount, so too does the impatience and frustration of the American people. It is time for a new direction – with tough accountability – not more excuses from the Bush Administration.
U.S. TROOP CASUALTIES RISING
· June, July and August 2007 marked the bloodiest summer so far for U.S. troops in Iraq. [icasualties.org]
· U.S. casualties in Iraq are 65 percent higher this year than at this time in 2006. [icasualties.org]
· As of August 27th, 3,728 U.S. troops have been killed and more than 27,500 have been wounded in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003. [Department of Defense, 8/27/07]
SUPPORT SLIPPING AMONG BUSH ALLIES FOR PRESIDENT’S FAILED IRAQ STRATEGY
· On August 23rd, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John Warner said: “We must start an orderly, carefully-planned, thought-out redeployment” Later in the weekend, Sen. Warner described the Iraqi government as having “totally failed” to deliver on security and reconciliation.
[Fox News, 8/24/07; MSNBC, 8/26/07]
· According to a recent bipartisan survey produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress, 64 percent of conservative experts say the troop “surge” is having a negative or no impact on the war in Iraq. [Foreign Policy, 8/20/07]
· Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described Iraq as still “pretty much a disaster” as recently as Sunday August 26th on “Fox News Sunday.” [Fox News, 8/26/07]
GRIM PICTURE FOR IRAQIS
· The level of sectarian violence in Iraq has failed to subside – in fact the death toll from such violence is “running nearly double” what it was one year ago. [Associated Press, 8/26/07]
· In the worst single incident of violence in Iraq since the war began, more than 500 Yazidis – an ethic minority group – were killed and more than 1,500 wounded in a series of coordinated bomb attacks in the Sinjar district of Iraq. [International Herald Tribune, 8/21/07]
· Recent reports indicate Iraq’s insurgent groups have “financed their war against the U.S. troops” in part by extorting money from contractors with U.S.-sponsored reconstruction and rebuilding funding. [McClatchy Newspapers, 8/27/07]
· “Iraq’s political process remains all but completely stalled.” [New York Times, 8/27/07]
AMERICANS WANT A NEW DIRECTION IN IRAQ
· 66 percent of Americans support withdrawing all of U.S. troops from Iraq by April 2008. [Gallup/USA Today Poll, 8/8/07]