Congress Will Continue to Press the Issue (Rep. Jim Oberstar)

In last fall's elections voters told us that they want U.S. forces out of Iraq, they want to see a clear exit strategy for bringing our troops home.  The new Democratic Congress listened, and sent President Bush an Iraq spending bill that funds our troops, but also contains essential goals and guidelines for bringing them home.  President Bush did not listen to the American people and vetoed the Iraq legislation.

All Congress can do is keep pressing the issue.  Congress cannot, and should not, attempt to micromanage the war.  But it is the duty of Congress to listen to the American people and provide effective oversight of the Bush administration. President Bush says that he is listening to the generals who are on the battlefield in Iraq.  However, he is the Commander in Chief, and those generals are acting on his orders to continue fighting a war with no end in sight and no plan to reach a lasting peace.  I am supporting this latest Democratic proposal because it keeps the pressure on the President.  He must either back a bill with an exit strategy, or come up with one of his own.

We are going to keep sending the President legislation that funds the troops, but we will continue to require accountability on how this war is conducted and how it will be brought to a close.

Unfortunately, President Bush does not understand that his strategy in Iraq has been a failure.   There is no number of U.S. troops that can impose peace on Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites who are locked in bitter religious warfare.  These parties must achieve a political solution that allows them to live together in peace.   We must hold Iraq's leaders accountable for making progress on that plan with clear and definable benchmarks that must be met to ensure continued U.S. support.

Currently, Iraq's leaders know they can count on U.S. soldiers to die for their country and U.S. taxpayers to keep funding this war, regardless of their inability to reach a political solution to end their civil war.  In fact, in the midst of this crisis the Iraqi Parliament is about to take a two-month summer vacation while our soldiers stare into the abyss of a conflict without end.