Remarks On The Feingold-Reid-Leahy Legislation On The War In Iraq

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Senate once again is debating a bill by Senator Feingold, Senator Reid, myself and others to change course in Iraq.  And once again, I urge the Senate to act.

This is a war started under false pretenses, waged with incompetent political policymaking that disserved the bravery and sacrifice of our fighting men and women.  This is a war that now slogs on – week after week, year after year -- with nothing but a “pause” on the horizon, and still no end in sight.  The toll of American casualties rolls on, and so does the drain on the nation’s resources, heading inexorably past the hundreds of billions of dollars toward an unfathomable trillion dollars. 

The war has sapped our credibility, strained our alliances and complicated our security challenges. 

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large and Al Qaeda has been given the opportunity to regenerate.  The Northwestern Frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a lawless extremist haven.

A redeployment of American forces along the lines of the Feingold-Reid measure would force the Iraqis to realize that our presence is finite.  If they want to step away from the abyss, it will take real reconciliation and the will to get it done.

The Bush Administration’s failed policy in Iraq has stretched our military to the breaking point, diluted and diverted our efforts to counter al Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and roiled the Middle East with instability.  The sooner we change course the sooner we can implement a sound, sensible and sustainable policy that truly advances our security interests.

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