Levin-Reed Amendment Would Prod Iraqis To Make Compromises (Sen. Carl Levin)

The President had a pre-surge strategy, a surge strategy, and now he's offered a post-surge strategy. What has remained constant in all these strategies is one thing: they all have an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces in the middle of Iraq's civil war.

That open-ended occupation of a Muslim country by the West has played right into the hands of Al Qaeda. Indeed, the intelligence community is recently reported to have concluded that the years of our occupation of Iraq have seen a surge of al Qaeda in Iraq.

It has come at a staggering cost – the loss of more than 3,600 of America’s best and bravest, seven times that many wounded, and a price of $10 billion each month. And in spite of the heroic efforts of U.S. servicemen and women, chaos and destruction have deepened in Iraq.

Everybody agrees that there is no military solution in Iraq and that the only way to end the violence is for the Iraqi political leaders to settle their differences. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged that in November when he said – and these words should be seared in our minds when we vote on Levin-Reed: “The crisis is political, and the ones who can stop the cycle of ... bloodletting of innocents are the (Iraqi) politicians.