Bush’s Failed Iraq Policy

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This holiday season tens-of-thousands of American troops will be dodging bullets while the rest of us will be exchanging gifts at home. That seems grossly unfair, given the tremendous public outpouring to bring our troops home.

Recently, despite widespread criticism over the mismanagement of the Iraq War, President George W. Bush refused to provide the American people with a "real plan" for withdrawing U.S. troops out of Iraq. Well, Mr. President, the American people have been patient, the elections in Iraq are over, and it is now time for change.

From the time he took office, President Bush has been consistently wrong. He was wrong about Iraq having WMDs, catching Osama Bin Laden, and underestimating the amount troops required to invade Iraq. The President was wrong when he played dress-up and declared victory in Iraq, wrong to ignore the advice of his generals on troop strength to complete the mission, wrong to spurn the international community, and deadly wrong to underestimate the ferocity of the insurgency in Iraq. Mr. President, it's time to graduate from slogans to articulating a real plan and engaging with Congress in a genuine dialogue about how to succeed in Iraq.

Our troops in the field have no greater ally than my colleague Jack Murtha, a decorated hero of the Vietnam War. I agree with Congressman Murtha that it is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

My thoughts on this are influenced by retired Lieutenant General William Odem. General Odem argues that our continued presence in Iraq is a strategic disaster for the United States of epic proportions.

We need to immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the a new strategy for Iraq and the safety of U.S. forces. We need to protect ourselves by creating a quick reaction force in the region and most importantly, to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

Our President has failed us. The Republican controlled Congress should check the President on the War. But the Congress has retreated to a politically safe place for fear of losing their positions of power or that their patriotism may be questioned.

Mr. Rangel is a U.S. Congressman representing the 15th Congressional District of Harlem.

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