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Mr. President, this resolution asks a simple question – Could the Bush Administration be doing things better in Iraq, the global War on Terror, and with homeland security?

We Can Do Better



Mr. President, I know we can do better, and I know we need to change course if we want to be more secure. We can do better than sending our troops into war without the armor and equipment they need. We can do better than misleading the American people about the cost of war. We can do better than completely misreading the insurgency, which the Vice President told us over a year ago was in its "last throes." We can do better than a policy that leaves our troops without a clear mission and without a plan for success.



Our service members deserve better, and frankly, our security demands better, and it starts with this Senate saying that we need to change course. We cannot tolerate more of the same on Iraq. We cannot tolerate an Administration that has gotten it wrong at every turn. And we need to send that message loud and clear.



What's the Mission?



Mr. President, we all want the same thing in Iraq – for our troops to complete their mission successfully and come home safely. But today it's not even clear why our service members are still there. What are they supposed to be accomplishing in Iraq today? Overthrowing Saddam Hussein? They already accomplished that. Looking for weapons of mass destruction? They looked, and there were no weapons to be found. Are they supposed to be setting up an Iraqi government? Well, we've done that. The Iraqi people have created a constitution, elected their leaders, and filled their cabinet. Our troops have done everything we've asked them to do. What is left? What are our troops supposed to be accomplishing today? And will the President's policies get us there? That's the discussion we need to be having.



A Distraction from the War on Terror



This Administration's focus on Iraq has distracted us from the larger War on Terror and left us vulnerable. Our country faces possible threats from terrorists around the world, and we need a security strategy that ensures we can fight those threats wherever they are.



But instead, the Bush Administration has become increasingly focused on Iraq. The President took a detour from the War on Terror and has invested a majority of our resources into Iraq – seemingly forever. That weakens our ability to fight the broader War on Terror, and that is another mistake. Bin Laden is still on the loose, and our homeland security efforts are woefully inadequate.



Send a Message: Get Back on Track



This resolution sends the message that we've got to get back on track in the War on Terror. We cannot continue to "stay the course" in Iraq indefinitely and expect to make progress in the global War on Terror. The War on Terror extends far beyond the borders of Iraq – and unless we deal with all the threats we're facing, we're not going to have the security we deserve in this country. But this White House has put all our eggs in the basket of Iraq, and we're slipping behind in other challenges in places like Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan.



Afghanistan is Sliding



Yesterday the New York Times showed us how bad things have gotten in Afghanistan – quote –

"Across Afghanistan, roadside bomb attacks are up by 30 percent; suicide bombings have doubled. Statistically it is now nearly as dangerous to serve as an American soldier in Afghanistan as it is in Iraq."




Mr. President, today, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in my home state of Washington editorialized that we need to get back to work in Afghanistan. And I want to read you what they said, quote –

"The central government's control is weakening as warlords and the Taliban reassert themselves. Casualties for international troops are mounting, making Afghanistan almost as risky for U.S. soldiers as Iraq. Opium production is at a record. The head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said Afghanistan is now supplying a 'staggering' 92 percent of the world's opium supply."


Mr. President, we entered Afghanistan because it had harbored Al Qaeda and Bin Laden – who were responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11th which killed nearly 3,000 Americans. We still have not captured Bin Laden, and the Taliban is re-emerging in Afghanistan. Iraq is not the only challenge we face. If we don’t recognize that, Americans will pay the price.



They've Gotten It Wrong



This Administration has gotten it wrong in Iraq, the War on Terror and on homeland security time and again. Continuing this status quo is unacceptable, and that's the message I'm sending with my support of this resolution. The American people deserve straight answers and a real debate so we can get this right. Nothing is more important for our security and our future.