Iowa congressmen, senators react to Iraq Study Group report

Four of the seven current members of Iowa’s congressional delegation issued statements today after the Iraq Study Group issued its report (Reuters story on that report).  Here are the statements issued by Congressman Steve King (R-KIron), Senators Tom Harkin (D-Cumming) and Charles Grassley (R-New Hartford) & Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines).:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Steve King (IA-05) today issued the following statement regarding the report released by the Iraq Study Group (ISG):

"The Iraq Study Group was authorized by Congress without direction, simply by an appropriation to the United States Institute of Peace. If a legitimate analysis was sought, why would we go to the United States Institute of Peace for advice on how to win a war? If you want to win a war, you go to the people who know how to win wars.

"Last year, most of Iraq was consumed in intermittent violence. Today, the bloodshed is largely confined to Baghdad. We now have Baghdad surrounded with stability. Recently in Iraq, I sat down with General Abizaid, Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Casey, Commanding General of the Multi-National Force – Iraq, Lt. Gen. Chiarelli, Commander of military operations in Iraq, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and with many officers and enlisted men and women. They all believe in their mission. They know they are winning every day, because every day more Iraqi troops are stepping up to serve their country.

"The Commanders in the field know that the most treacherous terrain in their battle is American public opinion. Every day the mainstream media seeks to shift American public opinion against this war, and since the leaks of their apparent sympathizers within the ISG were published last week, they have seized upon the findings of this unelected, unaccountable and autonomous committee to usher in a full-scale retreat from Iraq and from the front lines of the War on Terror.

"In the words of General McAuliffe at the Battle of the Bulge, ‘Nuts’ to surrender. We are nuts to let the news media stampede our national confidence into a position of pacifism. If we allow the mainstream media and the surrender lobby to surrender slowly to an arbitrary timetable, Al Qaeda will declare victory. They will rebuild by the thousands and be renewed in their confidence. They will be victorious across the Middle East and will follow us back to America."

WASHINGTON D.C. —- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement regarding the new report released by the Iraq Study Group:

“I am pleased that the United States Institute of Peace hosted the Iraq Study Group. The ISG spent nine months delving into the hard questions of our policy in Iraq and the group’s report reflects many of the points the Senate Democrats stated in a letter to President Bush in late June 2006. It is my sincere hope that this is the end of failed stay-the-course rhetoric and the beginning of a real solution to bringing our troops home.

“The findings are an indictment of the President’s failed policies in the Middle East. The report clearly acknowledges that the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. The report rightfully calls for a new and enhanced diplomatic effort in the region to include dialogue with Iran and Syria, additional focus on Afghanistan, and a renewed and sustained commitment by the U.S. to a comprehensive approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Additionally, the ISG reinforces the vital need for the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own political destiny.

Unfortunately the President has previously rejected talking to Iran and Syria. He has resisted linking the Iraq war to the Palestinian issue. He has also resisted punishing Iraqis for not making progress on the issue of security. The President has shown his talk of new ideas is simply that. It’s my sincere hope that this report can persuade the President that a dramatic change is needed in our approach to Iraq.

“The President owes it to the brave members of the military to find a way out of the mess he’s made. Our troops have preformed brilliantly and accomplished their task. Our troops achieved their goals despite a series of disastrous decisions by their civilian leaders here in Washington. But there is little left our military can do. It is time to bring the troops home and concentrate on finding a political solution to the crisis in Iraq.”

Senator Chuck Grassley today issued the following comment after the Iraq Study Group released its final report.

   “The Iraq Study Group Report is yet another source of information on what to do about Iraq.   Over the last few weeks we’ve seen the President and the Defense Department already put in motion an attitude that there needs to be a change of direction.  Consequently, I think with this new attitude, there will be change, and the report will have some impact on it.”

Washington, DC – Congressman Leonard Boswell released the following statement today on the release of the Iraq Study Group report regarding the future of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"I want to applaud the bipartisan Iraq Study Group for their thorough and realistic assessment of future U.S. involvement in Iraq.  I deeply appreciate all their hard work and dedication.  For months, the president and his administration have failed to provide the American people with an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq."

"Almost a year ago today, I attended a meeting at the White House with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the status of the war.  When we were told that over 200,000 Iraqi police and troops were trained and ready to defend their country, I suggested that we should start planning to bring our troops home.  Unfortunately, I was met with silence.  We are still waiting for a plan, even though it’s now being reported that there are more than 300,000 Iraqi police and soldiers trained and equipped." 

"A plan is long overdue.  In light of the sectarian violence and tremendous increase in casualties, we need to engage leaders in the region and begin the redeployment of troops from the area.  I look forward to the congressional hearings and working with my colleagues on this very important matter."    

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.