News Releases

Senator Murray Calls on the President to Define Mission in Iraq

Jun 21 2006

Will vote for Levin-Reed; Against date-certain timeline

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today urged President Bush to define our current mission in Iraq and how it serves our national security interests. Murray also articulated her support for the Levin–Reed amendment, which calls on the Administration to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2006.

In announcing her support for Levin-Reed, Murray reaffirmed her desire to bring our troops home safely and quickly, but rejected the idea of an arbitrary date for withdrawal that could have a direct impact on the security of our troops and the long-term interests of our nation.

Murray's full remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate follow:

"Mr. President, I want the same thing as all Americans – for our troops to complete their mission in Iraq and return home safely and quickly. To accomplish this, the President must define what our current mission is and how that mission serves our nation’s security interests.

"The men and women of our military have done everything we've asked of them. We looked for WMD’s and found none. We got rid of Saddam Hussein. We helped the Iraqis hold elections and set up their own government and security forces.

"So what is our mission today? Right now, our nation’s policy on Iraq is adrift.

"Instead of confronting this head-on, the Administration and this Congress continue to build on the miscalculation and incompetence of the past, and are dismissing any serious discussion of the challenge the American people now face. Instead of working to unite this nation behind a common purpose in defense of our security and freedoms, the President and his aides are using the war as political fodder for the next election cycle.

"Instead of being honest with the American people about the costs of our efforts and the sacrifice necessary to support them, the Congress continues to hand a blank check to the Administration to continue the status quo.

"This approach has left us with heated rhetoric and a long series of bad choices.

"True security for the American people depends on an honest assessment of the threats we face, a clear mission, and an honest discussion about the costs of confronting those threats.

"On Iraq, we don't have any of those components. Continuing this status quo is unacceptable. We need the President to tell us what the mission in Iraq is so we -- as a Congress and as a country -- can decide if it's worth the continued price we are paying.

"Like all of us, I want the troops home as soon as possible. In fact, I think they should start coming home this year. It is absolutely time for a new strategy in Iraq. An arbitrary date for full withdrawal, however, could force us to ignore facts on the ground – facts that could have a direct impact on the security of our troops, or the interests of our nation.

"I do appreciate those who ask for a date certain. We are all frustrated with where we find ourselves today. But I do not believe that an arbitrary date is what we need at this time. What we need is change. What we need is leadership. What we need is a defined mission. What we need is a plan for success.

"The troops on the ground, as well as the American people, deserve an honest discussion and a plan for victory. That is why I support the Levin-Reed Amendment. This Administration, this Congress, and this nation should be focused like a laser on how we can be successful and bring our troops home safely.

"Our troops and the American people deserve a plan that brings us all together to accomplish that goal."