The Troop Surge Is Too Little, Too Late

The President’s plan for a troop surge is nothing more than a go-it-alone strategy warmed over. I can’t understand what the President is thinking when he ignores his own military advisors and says he wants to send an additional 20,000 American soldiers—on top of the 140,000 already there—to be caught in the middle of an Iraqi civil war.

What happened to the discernment that a military solution was not forthcoming? It seems like the President has not been paying attention. With this proposal, the President has completely dismissed the opinions of his military leaders, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, and the will of the American people.

Pretending for a moment that a troop surge would work, it’s hard to imagine that we have enough troops available to make a difference. With our U.S. troop and equipment base already stretched thin due to the burden of Iraq, military readiness levels are at historic lows. The President’s plan would further weaken our capability to respond to new security threats that could arise. We don’t even have enough resources to provide security for Americans here at home—just look at what our nation went through with Hurricane Katrina.

This plan is too little, too late. From the very beginning of the war, the President ignored the advice of military leaders who, once the decision to invade was made, said that he should send more troops to Iraq at the outset. Is the answer to that initial tragic misjudgment that he should now try to double back and half do what his military advisors said should have been done in the first place? It is clear to the people of this country that the way this Administration went to war in Iraq was a mistake, and it is my belief that you don’t correct mistakes by making more of them.

The only way Congress can get the President’s attention is with the power of the purse. Never would Congress deny the troops currently deployed the equipment and armor they need—my Democratic colleagues and I are very concerned about providing the troops already serving in Iraq with adequate resources. However, our challenge as the newly elected majority is to, for the first time since the war began, provide oversight and scrutinize the Administration’s use of funds.

We will do whatever is legislatively possible to rein in President Bush’s ineffective handling of the war in Iraq and bring home American soldiers as safely and as soon as possible.