From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
 

Democratic Leaders Send Letter to Bush on Securing the Peace in Iraq

July 28, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and senior Democrats released the following letter today sent to President Bush on securing the peace in Iraq.

“If we fail to secure the peace in Iraq, the consequences for our security are ominous. America will be less safe. Our authority will be diminished in the eyes of our allies and our enemies alike. Dramatic changes are required to deal with the realities on the ground and to organize for the long haul, and time is short.”

The letter was signed by:

Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
Ike Skelton, Ranking Member on the Armed Services Committee.
Norm Dicks, Senior Member, Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
David Obey, Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee
George Miller, Chair of Democratic Policy Committee
John Spratt, Ranking Member of the Budget Committee
Jane Harman, Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee

Below is the complete text of the letter:

July 25, 2003

Dear Mr. President:

The magnificent performance of our armed forces in ousting Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime has created an opportunity to build a free Iraq and promote positive change in the region. But we are concerned that the administration miscalculated the war’s aftermath and planned inadequately for how we secure the peace. Despite the initial victory in the major military confrontations and the periodic capture or elimination of high-ranking Hussein loyalists, our troops remain exposed and overextended, faced with daily attacks in what General Abizaid has called a “classic guerilla campaign.” Our efforts to rebuild infrastructure are the target of regular sabotage; and we stand virtually alone as an occupying power.

If we fail to secure the peace in Iraq, the consequences for our security are ominous. America will be less safe. Our authority will be diminished in the eyes of our allies and our enemies alike. Dramatic changes are required to deal with the realities on the ground and to organize for the long haul, and time is short. As the Iraq Reconstruction Assessment Mission headed by former Deputy Secretary of Defense, John Hamre, reported last week: “The next three months are crucial to turning around the security situation . . . the potential for chaos is becoming more real every day.” In this light, we respectfully recommend the following:

First, establish security in Iraq. If the Iraqi people do not feel safe enough to go back to work, walk their streets after dark, or send their children to school, resentment will intensify. We do not have sufficient numbers of troops in Iraq, or the right mix, to protect our own forces, much less establish a secure environment for 22 million Iraqis. We urge you to increase overall force levels by drawing on more troops from more nations, and not just our own. For our own forces, we should set up a rotation system that conforms to the reality of a long-term presence in Iraq, and the ability of our military to sustain it.

Second, acknowledge that we cannot pacify and rebuild Iraq alone and broaden our coalition. Our forces are stretched thin. Almost two-thirds of the Army’s active duty combat brigades are already deployed. Dangerous crises are looming elsewhere, especially in North Korea. Other nations have skills, resources, and experience that would benefit our reconstruction efforts in Iraq. They must be encouraged to participate, and we must be prepared to exchange some control for greater burden-sharing. The goal should be a U.S.-commanded, NATO-manned, UN-endorsed force, comparable to the force employed in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Third, empower Iraqis. The establishment earlier this month of an Iraqi governing council is a good start. Any reconstruction plan imposed by the United States, however well-intentioned, is likely to fail. The Iraqi people must feel that they have equity in the process and a genuine voice in decisions affecting their lives. To this end, we should provide the kind of economic and development aid that enables Iraqis to be involved in rebuilding and protecting their country.

Fourth, face up to the need for substantial funding. We should be frank with the American people about what the missions in Iraq, both security and the provision of essential services, is likely to cost. The Department of Defense, when pressed by Congress, acknowledged that the deployment in Iraq is costing $3.9 billion a month, and the deployment in Afghanistan, almost a billion dollars a month. The Pentagon readily admits that a substantial supplemental is inevitable nest year. Ambassador Bremer told us this week that he needs supplemental funding enacted this fiscal year, or he will run out of money in February. Your administration needs to be forthcoming about the money needed, now and in the near future, and the consequences for the budget. The combination of heavy domestic spending, increasing defense spending, and huge tax cuts and deficits is not sustainable. The costs will not only be substantial but ongoing well into the future. This is all the more reason to seek the sanction of the U.N. Security Council for our efforts, so that we can broaden our coalition and work out a more equitable cost-sharing arrangement among the many nations that have a stake in our more equitable cost-sharing arrangement among the many nations that have a stake in our success. Requiring U.S. troops to take almost all the risks, and U.S. tax payers to pay virtually all the bills, is unreasonable, unnecessary and unsustainable.

Fifth, resolve issues regarding the quality of our intelligence and its usage. This is another area where complete candor is required. Your administration needs to resolve lingering questions about our intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and specifically whether such intelligence was used selectively to advance the case for war.

Thank you for your consideration of our views. We stand ready to work with you to bring stability to Iraq.

Sincerely,

/s/
Nancy Pelosi
Ike Skelton
Norm Dicks
David Obey
George Miller
John Spratt
Jane Harman


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