Washington, DC—Congressman Brian Higgins released the following statement concerning President Bush’s address to the nation planned for tonight, Wednesday January 10, 2007. This statement concerns the war in general, the President’s specific proposal for a “troop surge,” and his proposed plans to provide financial aid to Iraqi state-owned industries.
“The events of the past several months have made clear that no workable military solution remains for Iraq. Any such opportunity came and went three years ago. The President and his war planners have failed to provide the security necessary to establish and maintain a free, democratic state in Iraq, including a state capable of sustaining a free market economy, and it is this President’s failure to establish order and security that is the primary reason Iraq is mired today in civil war. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell maintained an understanding of this; his belief was that the deployment of American military resources, employing overwhelming force, was appropriate only after the exhaustion of all diplomatic resources. Unfortunately, the President rejected this counsel. Iraq has had free elections, this is true, but without order and without security, the establishment of democratic institutions generally and a legitimate Iraqi government in particular is not possible.
“I traveled to Iraq last year as a member of the House’s Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Emerging Threats, and on that trip, it was clear that the United States military was the only entity that inspires confidence in the region; indeed, as time goes on, Iraq’s political leadership only serves to call into question its ability to lead moving forward. This administration’s continued insistence to pour American personnel and financial resources into that leadership is troubling indeed.
“On the specific point of a so-called ‘troop surge,’ it should not be lost on Americans that a surge in number of troops in Iraq was attempted in 2004, in 2005 and again in 2006. At each instance, the expectation of reduced violence and greater order within Iraq was never met. According to the former Defense Secretary, more troops create the impression of an occupation and only serve to inflame anti-American sentiment, a situation which accrues to the benefit of extremists like Muqtada al-Sadr.
“Lastly, and I want to emphasize this in the clearest possible terms, the President’s call for additional economic aid to rebuild Iraq's factories to create jobs in Iraq is an insult to working Americans. This planned exercise – the investment of billions for Iraqi state-owned industries that manufacture fertilizer, vegetable oils and sulfuric acid – is rejected by Iraqi business and political leaders as implausible and ineffective. The President fails to recognize that without a legitimate, functioning state, Iraq's economy cannot recover. The President's jobs plan for Iraq should instead be reworked as a domestic job creation and economic development plan for older, economically distressed areas like Buffalo. This President and his administration have withdrawn from their obligation to America’s workers and the American businesses that employ them, and as such, the American people should reject out of hand any additional American investment of this kind.”