Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Thompson: Petraeus

WASHINGTON – North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) had strong words for Gen. David Petraeus’ Monday testimony on the war in Iraq.

In a statement issued following Petraeus' testimony before Congress, Thompson called the general's report “just a thinly guised veil of President Bush’s routine excuses for continuing war. While his intentions may be good, the general only confirms my belief that redeployment should begin immediately.”

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, has been a vocal critic of the war since before it began.

“After nearly five years in Iraq, it is abundantly clear that the Iraqi government will not take responsibility for securing its country as long as our troops are doing it for them,” Thompson said. “Just this January, President Bush said that with the support of 30,000 more U.S. troops, the Iraqi government planned to secure their county by this November.”

Thompson cited a General Accounting Office report released just last week that finds that the Iraqi government is nowhere close to controlling their country. “Even worse, another recent report on the Iraqi security forces found that the Iraqi police force and the agency that oversees it are overrun with corruption and sectarianism,” he said.

Thompson quoted Bush who stated in January that if the Iraqi government didn't make progress, it would lose the support of the American people.

“I believe the American people have lost faith in the Iraqi government and in President Bush’s failed strategies,” Thompson continued. “For our own safety and that of the Iraqi people, we need a new direction in Iraq – one that puts our resources into finding a diplomatic strategy for quelling the violence in Iraq and rooting out terrorism both in Iraq and around the globe.

“We are far beyond envisioning our troops home, as General Petraeus has implied,” said Thompson. “The American people want to see all of their troops home as soon as possible, period.”

In order to begin that new direction, Thompson recently introduced HR 3071, which calls for redeployment of troops out of Iraq to begin immediately, while simultaneously requiring the president to work with the United Nations to implement a region-wide strategy for containing Iraq’s civil war.

On Jan. 31 Thompson introduced another bill in Congress – HR 787, the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which also was meant to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

HR787 was the House companion to SB 433, introduced by Sen. Barack Obama. It set a troop deployment deadline of March 31, 2008.

The bill has remained in committee since March, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings on HR 787.


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