Today marks the two year anniversary of my public call for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
Two years ago, I was convinced that the President's lack of strategy in Iraq was harming our military, our international credibility, and the strength of our nation.
Two years later, the President remains without a plan and I remain convinced that we must begin an orderly redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as practicable.
All Americans want stability in the Middle East. But while our military is bogged down in Iraq, instability is spreading throughout the region. Pakistan is in political turmoil, Iran continues development of its nuclear technology, Turkey is pressing towards an invasion of Northern Iraq, and attacks against American and NATO troops in Afghanistan have increased substantially.
As a nation, we can either continue along the President's path, one that has fostered instability, or we can listen to the demands of the American people and forge a new direction in Iraq and the region.
Political reconciliation and reform in Iraq is the responsibility of the Iraqi Government, not the U.S. military. I believe that the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq will give the Iraqi Government the incentive to take over their own country.
This week the House of Representatives passed legislation that provides the President, our troops, and our nation with a responsible plan for bringing our troops home.
It requires the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq to begin within 30 days, with a target for completion of December 15, 2008. It ensures that our troops are fully trained and equipped before they are sent to Iraq. It extends the Army Field Manual to all personnel, making torture not only unacceptable but also unlawful. And it transitions our forces from a combat roll to specifically supporting and training Iraqi Security Forces and counterterrorism operations.
Unfortunately Senate Republicans today chose to stand by the President instead of the American people's call for a new direction.
For two years I have publicly fought for the redeployment of our troops from Iraq. Congressional Democrats will not stop championing the will of the American people until our troops come home.
The following illustrates what has transpired over the past two years:
In Iraq: November 17, 2005 | Now
American Troop Fatalities: 2,081 | 3,865
American Troops Wounded: 15,900+ | 28,400+
Cost to American Taxpayers: $213.6 billion | $448.6 billion
Cost per Month: $6.5 billion | $9.6 billion
# of Trained Iraqi Security Forces: 211,700 | 359,700
# of Multi-National Forces: 23,000 | 11,604
Electricity Available in Baghdad: 10.9 hours per day | 9.3 hours per day
Electricity Available Nation-wide: 14.3 hours per day | 12.9 hours per day
Crude Oil Production (per day) : 1.96 million barrels | 2.46 million barrels
Here at Home: November 17, 2005 | Now
Crude Oil Prices: $49.46 per barrel | $86.02 per barrel
Price of Gas at the Pump: $2.20 per gallon | $3.11 per gallon
U.S. Government Debt: $8.083 trillion | $9.110 trillion