My office has been flooded with letters and calls from constituents who want the President to begin bringing our troops home from Iraq. According to a new poll, an overwhelming number of Americans - 61 percent -- are opposed to any escalation. Instead of a plan to begin redeployment, Americans heard a giant sucking sound from President Bush tonight, pulling our troops further into the civil war that has already taken the lives of so many of our brave sons and daughters.
The President is dealing with an Iraq that only exists in his imagination. I challenge the President to answer the questions: Who are our allies? Who are our enemies? What does winning mean? How long will American troops be there? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice? Escalation presumes that a military solution is still possible in Iraq. The catastrophe facing Iraq is political, and yet there is no evidence of a political process that has any hope of achieving reconciliation.
Escalation makes the grave error of invading Iraq even worse. I am cosponsoring H.R. 353, the Markey-Kennedy Bill, which would prevent the President from spending another taxpayer dollar to increase troop levels in Iraq without the consent of Congress.
Our military may be able to help one armed faction destroy another, but national reconciliation is not possible until Iraq's ethnic groups demonstrate the will to unify the nation. Already, most of Iraq's middle class has left and 50,000 people a month have fled their homes because of ethnic cleansing. The lines between the police, the armies, and the militias are blurred.
After 4 years, it is time for President Bush to wake up and realize that his policy in Iraq has failed. Now we must renew our military, work to restore our diplomatic credibility, and above all, begin redeploying our troops from Iraq.