MONTPELIER -- In a statement issued Sept. 10, 2007, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy fiercely condemned the assessment of the current situation in Iraq that General David Petraeus presented to Congress last week.
The inescapable reality remains that the Iraqis are no closer today to any kind of political settlement to end this conflict, Mr. Leahy said. No surge of additional military force will change the situation when the Iraqis themselves are not willing to make these hard choices. In the meantime, our presence discourages the Iraqis from taking responsibility for their own future.
Mr. Leahys comments advance his long-held anti-war position. Since voting against the use of military force in Iraq in 2002, the senator has maintained a staunchly critical view of the war in Iraq and, indeed, of the Bush administration. In a statement issued on July 18 of this year, Senator Leahy exclaimed, The Presidents Iraq strategy has been a disaster. It was born of deception, fueled by incompetence, and pursued through arrogance and stubbornness.
Contradicting General Petraeus claim that the recent surge in U.S. troop levels has greatly benefited the military and security situation in Iraq, particularly in Anbar province, Senator Leahy argued that, As many predicted the security situation in Iraq has not appreciably improved despite the presidents surge strategy. The ongoing violence comes from a deadly brew of suicide bombings, intraethnic conflict, and out-of-control militiasall unleashed by the presidents poorly planned invasion and occupation of the country.
Despite Mr. Bushs insistence that U.S. troops must only, return on success, a catchphrase coined in his Sept. 13 address to the nation, Leahy crystallized the opposition viewpoint by advocating for a rapid and immediate withdraw from Iraq. With no light at the end of the tunnel after more than five years of war, the answer is not to keep lengthening the tunnel. The answer is to begin bringing our troops home from the middle of Iraqs civil war.