Congressman Green comments on the Iraq progress report
Despite your efforts, and relentless work by our military, the overall picture in Iraq remains one of instability and of a government not willing to make the necessary political to move its country forward. For more than four years the Administration has had the flexibility to conduct this war as it has seen fit, and I have continued to support funding to ensure our troops have the equipment and resources necessary to carry out their mission, but through no fault of their own, they are carrying out a flawed mission and receiving inconsistent help, at best, from Iraqi security forces. Despite Administration statements otherwise, it seems the empirical evidence, what we read and hear in the news, all point toward a cycle of continued violence and sectarian fighting in Iraq.
This indefinite, open-ended commitment of our resources and troops cannot continue. The Administration must accept binding benchmarks for the Iraqi government to hold their feet to the fire, force them to make progress, or start redeploying our troops. Instead, the President vetoed legislation that would have done this earlier this year, and will soon be sending us a request for another $50 billion to continue funding the same war strategy we have seen for the last four and half years.
I understand some progress is being made, but it does not appear to be widespread, and there are many accounts of other areas, that appeared stable two or three years ago, to be backsliding into violent, unstable areas.
Our highest priority is our responsibility to continue to protect our nation from terrorists. While American troops and resources remain in Iraq, the National Intelligence Estimate reports that Al Qaeda is regaining strength and reconstituting in Afghanistan. Last week in front of these two committees, General John Batiste testified that “our all-volunteer military cannot continue the current cycle of deployments for much longer and certainly not much beyond April of 2008. Our Army and Marine Corps are at a breaking point…We have no strategic reserve.” We cannot continue to police a civil war that is depleting our military resource and hampering our ability to recruit and maintain experienced military personnel.
I look forward to the testimony from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker today, but as we heard from multiple witnesses last week, the situation in Iraq appears to be continued violence with political and sectarian infighting. Again, I thank the chairmen for holding this hearing.