(Let’s keep our eyes on the ball here, people. – promoted by David Dayen)
It’s been another interesting week in Washington, with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker asking Congress to maintain current troops levels. Their plea comes despite the lack of security stabilization and political progress by the Iraqi government.
The conditions in Iraq continue to worsen. Newly released figures by the military indicate that the number of attacks against civilians and American and Iraqi security forces in Baghdad have more than doubled in March over the previous month. There has also been an increase of sectarian violence in other large cities and provinces. The Green Zone has become the target of a wave of increased violence and casualties. Our troops and our nation continue to make sacrifices for an Iraq that is unable to secure its people and unwilling to reach political reconciliation.
Meanwhile, the cost of staying the failed course in Iraq continues to take a toll on our troops, their families, the American taxpayers, our national security, and our homeland defense readiness. The war on Iraq has claimed the lives of nearly 4,017 and close to 30,000 servicemen and women have been injured or permanently disabled. More than half of those will not be able to lead a normal life because of the severity of their injuries impacting not only them but also their families. Yet, we continue to burden our troops and their families with the all too common multiple tours of duty and extended 15 month tours. Since the war in Iraq began, we have spent more than $500 billion, unnecessarily risking financial security and reducing needed domestic investments in priorities such as health care and education.
The American people are frustrated and want a new direction in Iraq and an end to the war. I agree. This grave situation requires a policy to secure and stabilize Iraq, one that constructively engages in diplomacy and partners with neighboring countries and the region to create a stable and peaceful nation, and one that supports our service men and women by redeploying them from Iraq – not a strategy to keep more of our men and women in harm’s way. I will continue to work with my colleagues to bring an end to this war and bring our troops home.