A year ago, I said this was a failed policy wrapped in an illusion. The President has finally acknowledged this.
Five months ago, we put an additional 10,000 troops in Baghdad. Attacks increased and a record number of Americans and Iraqis were killed. I see no difference between this and the President's plan to "stay the course."
I am particularly disappointed that there are no credible benchmarks and no way to measure the military and economic progress of this operation. There is no incentive for the Iraqis to take over.
All of us want stability in the Middle East, and Iraq is an important element in achieving that stability. But the military and their families deserve an achievable mission. It is unacceptable to me that we are sending troops back to Iraq who have not completed their training cycle and that we are extending troops who are battle-weary from the intensive combat in Iraq.
A year ago, I called for a redeployment of our forces and predicted that this "stay the course" policy would adversely affect our military readiness. The Defense Subcommittee will begin holding extensive hearings on January 17th to determine how we can best restore the readiness and strategic reserve of our military.