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Dick Durbin: Delivers official Democratic response to Bush.

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Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) just delivered a statement in the Senate Radio-TV gallery and then took some questions.

Durbin's notable quote: Iraqis "must know that every time they call 9-1-1 we are not going to send 20,000 more American soldiers.''

Congress, as a practical matter will not be able to stop President Bush from sending more than 20,000 troops to Iraq. Durbin said soldiers may be deployed immediately. "The thought that we can stop this in its track is a big mistake," Durbin said in reply to a question.

click below for Durbin rebuttal.

Good evening.

At the end of October, President Bush told the American people, "Absolutely, we're winning the war in Iraq." He spoke those words near the end of the bloodiest month of 2006 for U.S. troops.

Tonight, President Bush acknowledged what most Americans know: We are not winning in Iraq, despite the courage and immense sacrifice of our military; indeed, the situation is grave and deteriorating.

The president's response to the challenge of Iraq is to send more American soldiers into the crossfire of the civil war that has engulfed that nation. Escalation of this war is not the change the American people called for in the last election. Instead of a new direction, the president's plan moves the American commitment in Iraq in the wrong direction. In ordering more troops to Iraq, the president is ignoring the strong advice of most of his own top generals. General John Abizaid, until recently the commanding general in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, and I quote, "More American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future."

Twenty thousand American soldiers are too few to end this civil war in Iraq, and too many American lives to risk on top of those we've already lost.

It's time for President Bush to face the reality of Iraq, and the reality is this: America has paid a heavy price. We have paid with the lives of more than 3,000 of our soldiers. We have paid with the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and we've paid with the hard-earned tax dollars of the families of America. And we have given the Iraqis so much. We have deposed their dictator. We dug him out of a hole in the ground and forced him to face the courts of his own people. We've given the Iraqi people a chance to draft their own constitution, hold their own free elections and establish their own government. We Americans and a few allies have protected Iraq when no one else would.

Now, in the fourth year of this war, it is time for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own nation. The government of Iraq must now prove that it will make the hard political decisions which will bring an end to this bloody civil war, disband the militias and death squads, create an environment of safety and opportunity for every Iraqi and begin to restore the basics of electricity and water and health care that define the quality of life.

The Iraqis must understand that they alone can lead their nation to freedom. They alone must meet the challenges that lie ahead. And they must know that every time they call 911, we are not going to send 20,000 more American soldiers.

As Congress considers our future course in Iraq, we remain committed on a bipartisan basis to providing our soldiers every resource they need to fight effectively and come home safely.

But it's time to begin the orderly redeployment of our troops so that they can begin coming home soon.

When the Iraqis understand that America is not giving an open- ended commitment of support, when they understand that our troops, indeed, are coming home, then they will understand the day has come to face their own responsibility to protect and defend their nation.

Thank you.

Q Senator Durbin?

Durbin. Sure.

Q When you were at the White House today talking with President Bush, did you actually use the term "civil war" with him? And if so, did he react to using that term?

Durbin.: I used the term. I talked to him about -- I said exactly what I said here. I think 20,000 troops are not enough to end this civil war in Iraq, and there are too many lives to put at risk. He didn't address that particular issue. I don't think very many people dispute the fact that this is a civil war, one that finds its roots in 14 centuries of sectarian strife.

Q Senator, what can you do though -- what can --

Q If the House and the Senate both vote to condemn this idea, do you think that the White House might actually change its position on it or scale it back?

Durbin.: I don't know. But I'll tell you this. I think that's important that we finally have a voice. It's been four years since we voted on the use of force resolution. If you look at the purpose of our invasion of Iraq, frankly every single element is unnecessary today. There is no Saddam Hussein. There are no weapons of mass destruction.

What we're talking about now is to really bring Congress into the debate, the American debate, about what's going to happen next in Iraq. And we believe that if we can bring forward a resolution that really brings the president's policy before Congress, ask for bipartisan support, that's a debate that's long overdue.

Q But Senator, isn't the argument that Democrats -- that you guys are making over and over again that the American people voted in November to send you here not just to debate, not just to talk, but actually to do something? And you have the power now, in some ways, to actually do something. So how will you use that, not just talk, not just debate, not just have a sense of the Congress or Senate resolution, but actually use your power?

Durbin.: There are limited opportunities for Congress to act. A commander in chief has extraordinary authority to move troops to certain places in the world, and the president's going to use that authority.

First we're going to bring before the Congress this question about the policy and try to have a bipartisan debate and a conclusion as to whether this policy is supported by Congress, and then watch for the reaction from the American people and from the president.

In the meantime there will be oversight by our committees. I won't rule out further action by Congress. I hope I've made it clear here and all of us have made clear that whatever action we take will not be at the expense of the safety of our troops that are in the field. But there may be a way to engage the White House on a policy debate at a new level past the first resolution.

Q But as a practical point, these brigades could be dispatched without -- (off mike).

Durbin.: Oh, yes. Yes.

Q And that's probably what's going to happen.

Durbin: That's right. And it probably will happen right away. Jack Reed, who, of course has some background on this, says it's likely that several thousand troops are going to move in a few days, and in maybe a week or two another thousand troops will move. So that's going to happen even while Congress is in the midst of this debate. The thought that we could stop this in its tracks I don't believe is practical.

Q In addition to -- the Iraq Study Group had said that the U.S. should talk to Iran and Syria, you know, bring them into the fold with Iraq, and President Bush said -- he basically refused that recommendation as well.

Any response to that?

Durbin: I think that's a mistake. If there's any surge that we need, it's a surge in diplomacy. We need to have countries in that region, in the Middle East, who are interested in the stability, ultimate stability of Iraq, to get involved in its future. We can't do this alone.

The Iraqis, as I said in this statement, have to really resolve that they're going to make their own nation strong and defend it. But for its long-term future and the stability of its borders, we really need to engage other countries. I don't know how we can boycott countries in that region. We need to at least sit at a table and find out if there is some common ground. That's the only way that I think we're going to find any long-term stability.

Q Senator, was there any part of the plan that you thought was useful for the --

Durbin Well, the best part of the plan is that now finally Maliki is engaged, according to the president. Now, finally, he is making a commitment. That's long overdue. Many of us, for a long period of time, said to the White House, you can't keep telling this man we're going to stand with him regardless of what he does. And I sensed today in my meeting with the president, as well as in his statement now, that they are getting a little impatient with Maliki. I think it's about time.

Thank you, everybody.


21 Comments

Lynn,

Did you see Sen. Obama's response to Pres. Bush on MSNBC?

Once again, he proved himself to be a top notch thinker and speaker.

-- SCAM

Dick Durbin & Barack Obama have already demonstrated that if we follow the Democratic way regarding Iraq, we''l be doomed to indefinite terrorist attacks.
Pulling out of Iraq will send a message of weakness and will make the United States look like a loser.
America is the strongest nation in the world & thanks to George Bush, we will not retreat with our tails between our legs.
Obama in '08?
No way!
That guy's unrealistic and inexperienced decisions will just make us all sitting ducks.
God bless the military service men and women and may he save us from weak-kneed liberals like Durbin & Obama.
America is the greatest nation in the world & must demonstrate its power without hesitation.
Any threat to the United Stes should be treated as such without any mercy!

The “quagmire” in Iraq, as the liberals like to refer to it, is not a “quagmire”... IT IS A WAR!

The President’s plan to increase troops in Iraq will further demonstrate to the world that we mean business. A retreat now (which is the only thing cowards like Dick Durbin & Barack Hussein Obama can think of) would send a message not only to Al Qaeda, but to terrorists and renegade governments around the world that the United States is weak and doesn’t have what it takes to win a war.

War is hell and lives will be lost. What does some inexperienced junior senator think war means? Of course there is death and destruction, but without the pains necessary to achieve the goals of democracy that the United States so greatly knows and embraces, there is no growth.

I congratulate our Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush in standing by his principles and demonstrating what it is to be an American at war, not only with the enemies outside our borders, but the enemies within…the liberal democratic cowards.

God bless our military service men and women, may he protect them and may he also continue to guide our President in his decisions as the leader of the free world.

How many failures? Lets count the ways. The NAFTA free trade agreement, the response to national disasters, national health care policies, no child left behind, non-competitive bids. With this new approach to Iraq, it seems destined to failure from the standpoint of this administrations poor performance. Viet Nam? Intel is investing billions. Were not the terrorist Saudi's? Are we not still buying Saudi oil at the expense of American lives? It seems obvious that as long as there are pockets to pick the public will be fleased and that low gas prices will bring about no change in behavior or spending. That the world will go on no matter how crazy it gets, and China will polute more of the earth than all of the former industrialized nations combined. God help us all.

Rey - While we're on the topic of cowards, YOUR president is of the A-1 variety, complete with a huge yellow streak down his back. Whatever happened to him releasing his military records? Show me proof he showed up in Alabama. Have you seen the video of the former Lt. Governor of TX saying he regrets allowing GW to go in the Texas National Guard because of his connections? You Tube has it, check it out. How can someone transfer from the TX National Guard to the National Guard of another state? Magic, connections, and bibbledy-bobblety-do! By the way I ACTUALLY completed my committment with the third ID. My brothers are on their 3rd tour, all finer men than YOUR president. It sickens me that this chicken hawk poseur has this kind of power. Remember that his grandpappy, Prescott, helped the nazis during WWII. How many GIs died so he could make a buck. GW is in this for the dollar, his one and true god.

Rey-
What experience did GW have to become president? Desertion, running several companies into the ground, and governing the Republic of Texas make him more qualified than Obama? Oops, I left out his affection and loyalty to the House of Saud. You sound scared, Rey. That's because deep down you know Osama will be your next president. He has more class in his pinkie than the entire Bush crime family.

There was NO Al-Quaida in Iraq until we got there. Just like there was no WMD's.

Where's Osama?

Bush comes up with a lame, unsubstantiated claim that an arbitrary 21,000 more soldiers will "win" the war.

The best thing the dems can come up with is that the Iraqis are being pussies.

I HATE politician. They are evil and completely oversimply everything so I have to repress reality.

Rey, way to tell the truth. Don't let these terrorist appeasing, America hating liberals tell you any different. BTW Greg Mantey, why does Hussein Obama have so much class? Because he's half black and you feel it's the "tolerant" thing to say. If the pinko Obama becomes President American blood will flow in the streets of this country because the terrorists will have free reign to wreak havoc on our streets.

Doesn't this Rey guy EVER shut up with his stupid papist ramblings?

"We need to have countries in that region....who are interested in the...ultimate stability of Iraq, to get involved in its future."
What's Iran's interest? Have our troops leave so they can easily continue their quest for a nuclear arrsenal? Gain concessions from the U.S. to show their friends how easily we frighten? Yes, let's talk and talk while terrorists continue to incite around the globe.

Jerry-
If I am an American-hating liberal, than I'm a decorated one. Thanks for the name-calling! That's one of the expected and best GOP arguments; question an individual's patriotism. But you forgot to blame Bill or Hillary! I served honorably and received 3 accomodations. I carried a M-60 machine gun in a heavy infantry squad on the W. German border. I would love you to call me names to my face, but I have a feeling that's not your style. I like the way you called Obama by his middle name, like he was named after Saddam. His father's name was Hussein, just like his grandfather's. Is he a pinko because his middle name's Hussein? Now that's impeccable logic! I trust Obama because he actually thinks; his actions aren't based on unexplainable ideologies or questionable loyalties. Bush is morally and ethically bankrupt. He wants to make sure he saddles the next President(Obama)with Iraq. Will all the terrorists get on planes and come here when Obama is elected? How will they have free reign? How does an individual like yourself come to such a conclusion? Once again, your logic or lack thereof is amazing! How did Osama get away at Tora Bora? Why don't you shine your light on that one and use your awesome powers of deduction. Good news Jerry, if you're 42 or younger, you can enlist and go to Iraq. There's still time to put your money where your mouth is. Once again, Where's Osama? Thanks for playing, Jerry!

Anonymous-

Firstly, grow a set and use your real name. Secondly, I apologize if your name really is Anonymous. Iran elected an extreme leader as a reaction to the brilliant 'Axis of Evil' speech. Following the speech, Bush invaded Iraq. It's simple cause and effect. The population of Iran is primarily very young. They also have more satellite TV than any other country in the Middle East. They love western fashions and culture. Unlike Iraq, they were truly ready for democracy, the emphasis being on the word were. There were no terrorists in Iraq prior to the US invasion, period. It would have been much more logical to invade Saudi Arabia, you know, where the terrorists were from. I believe in the mission in Afghanistan, a mission that has been all but abandoned. The Taliban is becoming stronger everyday as a result. Bush has stated Osama isn't a priority. The CIA department dedicated to catching Osama has been disbanded. Isn't he the one resonsible for 9/11 and the USS Cole? Who in their right mind would see the logic of invading Iraq and letting Osama be free? Many kool-aid drinking hardliners, that's who. Let's talk more about terrorists. Bush has done more for their recruiting efforts than Osama could have ever hoped for. GW's formula for success? Invade a Muslim country, all the while lying about justification, and create mass chaos. I'm not an expert about the Middle East, but I know a bit. These people are very different from us. You can't expect them to think or react the same as western peoples. We are the same however, in how we perceive occupying foreigners. Imagine how Americans would react if Iraqi forces invaded here.

As usual, George W. is late (about four years late) and a quarter short (actually, more like 500 billion dollars short). He doesn't like to listen to his advisors, not unless his advisors happen to be the Saudi Royals, that is. His perpetual, privatized war for profit has proven to be a huge success. Not for the young men and women who have died for it, but for the corporate companies that stand to make huge fortunes on the Iraq oil that sits there beneath all those Iraqi feet.

Greg, if you're going to dish out the insults you better be ready to take it in return. As for your military service(if it is true), normally I would say thank you for your service. But then again, I resent the fact of having to live in the same country as liberals like yourself so you can go to you know where. As for Hussein Obama, he hasn't done jack as a Senator. How can you say he thinks? How can you say what his actions are based on? He doesn't take a stand on most issues so you don't know what he stands for. You just say those ridiculous things about Hussein because it gets rid of some white guilt you must have inside of you. And I can comfortably say that if Hussein, or most any other democrat, gets into office, that Americans at home will die. Democrats are appeasers. That's why Sept. 11 happened because we had a democrat in office for 8 years who was more worried about raping women than protecting the country. A democratic President will do away with that NSA wire tapping program, democrats support open borders, democrats will do away with coerced interrogation of suspected terrorists, they will do away with the patriot act, etc. All those things will make us more vulnerable. Also, I am under 42 and if I was drafted I would go. But we have an all volunteer system in place. And while I respect what the troops in Iraq and elsewhere are doing, they did volunteer. If they don't want to be there they should have thought of that before they signed up. They could have went to college and got a job as a way to a better life, like I did. And I did not come from money, in fact I came from lower middle class as my parents lived paycheck to paycheck supporting five kids. So that tired old liberal argument that poor people have no other option but to enlist in the military is a lie. Because you don't need to be rich to go to college today with the financial aid and school loans that are available today.

Jerry-
I'm not going to argue my service because I was there, and you weren't. Arguing that point with a civilian is just too demeaning. YOUR president never served one day of active duty, but he sure likes to attack those who did. I was hoping you would have a better approach than GW, and I'm a litte disappointed. I don't lie, because I find it harder to keep track of what lies I told than to tell the truth in the first place. I guess I'm lazy like that. I understand that you don't want to live in the same country as someone like me. I'm cool with that and there are several countries you could move to. I'm trying to be solution oriented, Jerry. Have you read Obama's book or have you listened to him speak? Watch the talking head shows. He doesn't script anything, and he's still much more intelligent off the top of his head than GW is reading his prepared statements. How can you say he doesn't stand for anything. He said in 2002 that he was against this'war', and he's always been against it. All of the other democrats were too whimpy to stand up to Bush because they were afraid of being labeled as terrorist sympathizers, with a few exceptions like Feingold and Dean. My stepfather is black, so I don't have any black guilt. I've stayed with my extended family in the projects of Topeka. I was treated like one of their own, and I am quite fond of them. Thanks for the Clinton reference, you had me worried for a minute. But you proved to be right on point, regurgitating the good 'ole GOP diatribe. Yee haw! Yeah, it's all Clinton's fault, even though he tried to kill Osama 3 times. How did Osama escape at Tora Bora? 40 guys on horseback escaping from the most powerful military in the world. Yeah, that's plausible! But then again, I'm sure you know much more about the military than myself. Why did we focus on Iraq, where there was no WMD's or Al Quaida activity, and leave Osama alone? Why wasn't the FBI allowed to question any of bin Laden's family after 9/11? Why were they flown back to Saudi Arabia post haste when no other Americans were allowed to fly? Do you deny that GW has been doing business with the bin Laden family since the early 70's? I especially like the pictures of Bush holding hands and kissing the bin Ladens. Do you deny my references to Niel and Prescott Bush? Please man up and address these issues. Come on Jerr, I feel I can call you Jerr because I can feel us bonding, enlighten me. Back to Clinton; you can't rape the willing. If you hit on a woman and are rebuffed, is that rape? That makes me a rapist. then. I'm not saying it's OK to cheat on your spouse, but I am saying it's a hell of lot worse to cause over 600,000 deaths and create a debt this country may never recover from. GW then borrowed money from China to help pay for the war; in fact, he's borrowed more from China than all of the loans secured from all foreign countries by all of the previous presidents combined. That brings us to NSA. Bush made no effort to obtain FISA warrants, even though the warrants could have been obtained retroactively. He made no effort to change the process even though the GOP had a majority in the House and Senate. He just did it, even though it was unconstitutional. By the way, he was using the program before 9/11. Now, let's talk about open borders. The dems wanted to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which included tightening border security. The Bushevites, to date, have not implemented any of the recommendations including port security. In fact, they wanted to give control of port security to a company based in Dubai. Funding for 9/11 came from the United Arab Emirates. Follow the money, Jerr! Guess who else would make a buck off that deal? The Carlyle Group would make a mint, and it so happens King George I is in thick as thieves with these wonderful folks. Afghani heroin also goes through the UAE on it's way to North America, South Amercia, and Australia. It's great you would go to Iraq if you were drafted, what a stand-up guy! If my son was drafted, I'd take him to Canada right away! He's not going to die for Halliburton. He's in college, so he'd probably be safe. I too went to college. I served my country so I could pay for it. I was raised by my biological father who drove a cab, so I don't have a silver spoon. He raised 3 kids. I wanted to make my own way, which I did by serving. I didn't want my dad to help pay, even though he would have. The Bush congress cut Pell Grants, so even though you were able to attend college, many folks are now unable to. None of your arguments are fact-based. Have you been watching the Senate hearings? Condi and Gates were grilled by Dems and Republicans alike. Jerr, I'm asking you to research what I've said as well as your claims. None of your arguments are fact-based.

Rey, you have great posts. Please keep it up and don't be scared off by the liberals spouting un-American trash.
They can claim it a War for oil, it's not.
They can claim no WMD's but they were there.
They can say Bush's War but the reasons for the war started 12 to 15 years before Bush 41 and Clinton in 8 years did nothing but put his head in the sand.

If we walk, we lose.
We lose the meaning for all the dead military.
We lose the money that was spent trying to help Iraq.
We lose face in the world as we will come off as just nother quit bu the USA.

What ever happened to American patriotism?

Durbin sounded like he was a Senator from the enemy instead of Illinois. I am ashamed to call him my States U.S. Senator.

Obama's response was weak and while well spoken, he said nothing new. We didn't belong and we should get out, that 's it. Unrealistic and dangerous. Obama is not ready for President he has been built up by the media into some sort of idol. The problem with that is, when the idol topples and falls, it will break not to be put back together.

Bush said Osama did 9/11, and that Iraq wasn't involved, yet he used 9/11 as part of his rationale. He also admitted there was no evidence linking Iraq to Al-Quaida. Where's your proof there were weapons? Is that your opinion, or are do you have something to base that on? I agree leaving now would be a huge mistake, but going in was the biggest foreign policy mistake in the history of this country. To my knowledge, Obama NEVER said we should completely pull out now, so please state when and where he said that, so I can check it out. Obama did say there are two types of options in Iraq, bad and worse. He hinted at some version of the Murtha plan (Meet the Press). If we're so worried about helping Iraq, why don't we care about what's happening in Darfur? You said the reasons for this war started 12 to 15 years before 41. Rumsfeld went to Iraq in 83 as a special envoy, and Iraq began frantically purchasing hardware from US firms. In 84, Iraq used Mustard and Nerve gas on Iranians. Rumsfeld resigned in May of that year. Saddam gassed the Kurds in 88, many believed he used helicopters purchased from the US. The Senate passed sanctions that would have kept Saddam from buying Amercian technology, which the White House killed. The gassing of the Kurds was later outlined as one of the examples of Saddam's brutality. Where's Osama?

The biggest foriegn policy mistake this country ever made was electing Bill Clinton President.
The biggest mistake with the terrorists ever made was not going after Osama the 3 times we could have under Clinton's watch. I agree that something s/b done in Darfur and quickly. WMD's were there, the inspectors said so, Iraqi prisoners have said so and they have even told us what happened to them. We found some in Iraq while engaged there in the war.
Are you saying that Rumsfield engineered the use of nerve/mustard gas by Saddam or that he personally profitted from his position in 1984?
Finally, John Murtha has done as much if not more to damage this country than Durbin or Kerry. I could not concieve of him coming up with a plan that would benefit our side.
As far as your question "Where's Osama"? I would say ask Bill Clinton. As I stated before, he is the one who let him go! Three Times!

The inspectors never said they were there. Hans Blix said no way. What inspectors? Name names! Iraqis said so? Are these the insurgents? As far as Rummy, it seems strange they use gas after his visit. I don't think he engineered anything, I wouldn't trust him with an erector set. The only personal satisfaction Rummy may have got would be the usual. I do think they started their entire chemical program with US stock.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 10, 2007 8:45 PM.

White House background briefing. was the previous entry in this blog.

Reacts from Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr., Joe Biden, John Shimkus, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan Schakowsky, John Kerry, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Russ Feingold is the next entry in this blog.

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