Leaders Send Letter to Bush on Securing the Peace in Iraq
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.
was signed by:
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:
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 wars 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:
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.
that we cannot pacify and rebuild Iraq alone and broaden our coalition.
Our forces are stretched thin. Almost two-thirds of the Armys
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.
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
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
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 Iraqs
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.