EDWARDS STATEMENT ON "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" ANNIVERSARY
Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Later today at a town hall meeting in Seattle, Washington, Senator John Edwards will open his remarks with the following statement about the fourth anniversary of President Bush declaring "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.
"Four years ago, President Bush flew onto the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln under a 'Mission Accomplished' banner to declare victory in Iraq, but all the photo ops in the world can't hide the truth - his disastrous mismanagement of the war has left our troops in harm's way and made Iraq a breeding ground for terrorists.
"Now, the American people have given Congress a mission to end the war, but it hasn't been accomplished yet. President Bush has said he plans to veto the Iraq funding bill that Congress sent him. When the President vetoes the bill, it is George Bush who is not supporting our troops, and nobody else. Congress needs to stand firm and strong. When Bush vetoes the bill, Congress should send him another bill with a timetable for withdrawal and if he vetoes that one, Congress should send him another and another until we end this war and bring our troops home.
"There is no military solution to the conflict in Iraq - only a political solution. The Iraqi people need to take responsibility for their own country. Under my plan, we would cap funding at 100,000 troops to stop the McCain Doctrine of escalation and force an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops, followed by a complete withdrawal in 12-18 months. Now is not the time for political calculation, it is the time for political courage. Every person who is against this war needs to speak out, so together we can bring an end to the quagmire that is Iraq."
To learn more about Edwards' plan to end the war in Iraq, please see the fact sheet below.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ENDING THE WAR IN IRAQ
"We don't need debate; we don't need non-binding resolutions; we need to end this war. In order to get the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their country, we must show them that we are serious about leaving, and the best way to do that is to actually start leaving." -- John Edwards
There is no military solution to the chaos in Iraq. Instead, the Iraqi people must solve this problem politically by taking responsibility for their country. Before they will, we must show them that we are serious about leaving by actually starting to leave. John Edwards has called on Congress to block President Bush's escalation of war. Now, with the escalation already underway, Edwards believes we have to take the next step by capping funding for the war to mandate a withdrawal.
By leaving Iraq, the Iraqi people, regional powers, and the entire international community will be forced to engage in the search for a political solution that will end the sectarian violence and create a stable Iraq. Edwards supports the following steps:
- Stop the Escalation and Start the Drawdown: Edwards will cap funding for the troops in Iraq at current levels to stop the surge and implement an immediate drawdown of 40,000 to 50,000 combat troops. Any troops beyond that level should be redeployed immediately.
- Require Troops to Be Ready: Edwards will prohibit funding to deploy any new troops to Iraq that do not meet real readiness standards and that have not been properly trained and equipped. American tax dollars should be used to train and equip our troops, not to escalate the war.
- Clarify the Lack of Legal Foundation for the War: The 2002 authorization did not give President Bush the power to use U.S. troops to police a civil war. Edwards believes that Congress should make it clear that President Bush exceeded his authority long ago. The president now needs to end the war and ask Congress for new authority to manage the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence and to help Iraq achieve stability.
- Withdraw Troops within 12 to 18 Months: Edwards will require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq in the next 12 to 18 months and prohibit permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. After withdrawal, he will retain sufficient forces in the region to contain the conflict and ensure that instability in Iraq does not spillover into other countries, creating a regional war, a terrorist haven, or a genocide.
- Take Other Steps to Stabilize Iraq: Edwards will intensify U.S. efforts to train the Iraqi security forces. He will also step up U.S. diplomatic efforts by engaging in direct talks with all the nations in the region, including Iran and Syria, to bring a political solution to the sectarian violence inside Iraq, including through a peace conference.
Paid for by John Edwards for President.