Congressman Zach Wamp said Wednesday that additional troops are needed to secure Baghdad and lead to a turnover to the Iraqi forces.
Rep. Wamp said, following the Iraq policy speech by President Bush, "The great Vince Lombardi once said, 'Fatigue makes cowards of us all.' While football pales in comparison to war, the analogy is very true today as we consider our options and the future of the United States in Iraq and the global war against the Jihadists.
"America has come to a crossroads and we have difficult decisions to make where the stakes are high and the consequences are great. Senator Joe Lieberman, returning from a trip to Baghdad, called for the courage to take decisive action in Iraq, which will 'greatly advance the cause of moderation and freedom throughout the Middle East and protect our security at home.'
"We cannot afford to retreat into a 1990's-style complacency that will only invite more 9/11's.
"Violence in Iraq has escalated, many soldiers are preparing for their third tour of duty, and current U.S. policy is not working. One problem is that we never had enough troops to secure the area in and around Baghdad, where 80% of the violence occurs.
"The current number of soldiers cannot help the growing Iraqi army when and where they need it most. More battalions will help meet the security needs of the Iraqi reformers, allowing them to openly support Iraqi security forces without being vulnerable to radical groups. Baghdad needs to be safer for Iraqi forces to take the reins and for America to leave Iraq having achieved an important victory in the War on Terror.
"Sending more troops to Iraq will not help unless it is coupled with a concrete, feasible plan. There must be a new strategy in place that requires the active participation of Prime Minister Maliki and holds the Iraqi people responsible for the ongoing sectarian violence. It is imperative that we move forward with this goal in mind: an Iraq run by, secured by, and governed by the Iraqi people.
"There is no silver bullet, nor a quick fix, but now is the time to pave a new path. Frederick Kagan from the American Enterprise Institute said, "The real choice we face is this: is it better to accept defeat than to endure the pain of trying to succeed?"
"The families of fallen soldiers from my Congressional district have suffered great loss. But in their grief, they want our just cause to prevail. Without exception, I have heard from those families that we must gather the strength, the will, and the support to win against the terrorists.
"The President has a long way to go to restore the confidence of the American people in our strategy and his plan. But this cannot be George W. Bush's war. This must be America's fight and we must come together in the days and weeks ahead and agree to continue so that over the next two years, we can bring thousands of troops home in victory and send the Islamic extremists back into their caves, defeated or eliminated."
Sen. Bob Corker said,
“All of us want to see a stable Iraq. All of us want to see our men and woman in uniform come home as soon as possible. We all know that something different needs to occur.
"It is important that the Iraqi government is making a stronger commitment: with military and security forces, a commitment to spend $10 billion in a rebuilding and jobs creation program, to move more quickly to an oil revenue sharing agreement for Iraqi citizens, and by creating political reforms.
"It is also important that a timeframe of November is set for Iraq to take responsibility for securing all of its provinces. With that in mind, I look forward to hearing the plans more fully discussed in the Foreign Relations Committee on which I sit. We’ll hear from Condoleezza Rice this week and other expert witnesses in the coming weeks, and I look forward to hearing what they have to say.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said,
“Sending 20,000 more American troops into Iraq to try to stop sectarian violence is not by itself new or a strategy for success. If the President is finally putting Iraqi forces in the lead and American forces in support, this is different – and should allow us to start bringing troops home sooner.
"The United States will be in Iraq for a long time, but it ought to be in a limited, supporting role. At this point, that's the best way to defend United States interests and honor the sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands who have fought for us.”