WASHINGTON (March 18, 2008) Southern Maryland's Congressional Representative and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D) today released the following statement regarding the beginning of the sixth year of war and occupation in Iraq:
As the war in Iraq enters its sixth year on Wednesday, two things are abundantly clear. First, our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that our nation has asked of them, and they have performed their mission with courage, skill and honor. Nearly 4,000 American soldiers have given the ultimate measure of sacrifice in this war, and 30,000 have been injured. This day and every day, we honor the memory of those who have been lost, and pray for the recovery of those who have been injured, as well as the safe return home of our troops who are still deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today the fifth anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom also is a time to acknowledge that the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has not been matched with a strategy for success by the Bush Administration, which has made egregious misjudgments throughout this war from the decision to deploy too few troops at the outset, to the costs that would be borne by the American taxpayer, to the willingness of Iraqi officials to make the hard decisions that are critical to their nations future.
Just last week, for example, General Petraeus acknowledged that Iraqi leaders have failed to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences or in the provision of basic public services. In the meantime, our troops and our nation are being forced to pay a steep price for Iraqi inaction and the Presidents failing stay-the-course policy.
The American people support and our national security interests demand a new direction in Iraq a war that has cost our nation dearly, degraded our military readiness, diverted resources from the global fight against terrorism, and harmed our reputation in the world. Democrats are committed to a responsible, phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq. We believe it is long past time that the Iraqi government begin to take responsibility for the stability and security of its own country.