War in Iraq

It has been nearly three years since U.S. troops were first deployed to Iraq. During that time, our courageous men and women in uniform have served proudly under enormously difficult circumstances, and they and their families have sacrificed greatly in service to the nation. But, as many of our military commanders have pointed out, Iraq’s problems ultimately require a political solution that cannot be attained militarily.

Accordingly, Senator Harkin believes that 2006 should be a period of transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with a goal of deploying U.S. forces out of Iraq by the end of the calendar year. Rather than continue to "stay the course" with no strategy for success or barometer for progress, Senator Harkin has called on the Bush administration to develop a comprehensive plan for stability in Iraq, one that provides measurable benchmarks for success and works toward bringing our troops home by the end of 2006. Congress and the American people deserve to know the challenges posed by the continued presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, to have an accurate accounting of the situation on the ground, and to be informed about the measures the Administration will be taking to bring our troops home.

“Because the achievement of peace and stability in Iraq ultimately rests on a political solution, it will require a sustained diplomatic engagement to forge compromise between Iraq’s political leaders, and ensure that all parties have a place at the table. Sectarian violence has surged in recent months. We must make it clear to the Iraqi people that our forces will not remain in Iraq indefinitely. Our forces have served bravely, made countless sacrifices and have completed their military mission. The responsibility for maintaining a broad-based, workable political environment that can defeat the insurgency must ultimately lie with Iraqis. While it is of course necessary for our armed services to have installations while conducting major military operations throughout the world, it must also be made clear that these installations are not permanent in Iraq. It is time to give Iraqis the chance to govern their own nation.

“In the past two years a great deal of information has come to light about how the Administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war. The Senate Intelligence Committee is currently conducting an investigation of the Bush Administration’s use of intelligence to make the case for the Iraq war. I strongly support this action and believe that it fulfills the Congress’ responsibility to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch of government. It is important for the Senate to work to do everything within its power to make sure that intelligence is not misused or manipulated in the future.”

Senator Harkin believes that we should honor the service and sacrifice of our soldiers and their families by responsibly following a clear strategy and working toward bringing our men and women in uniform home by the end of the year.