President Bush has proposed a plan that increases the number of American troops in Baghdad and al-Anbar province to serve in conjunction with Iraqi security forces. I believe that the President’s plan is the best opportunity to reach the political compromise necessary to unify the country and end sectarian violence.

While the situation in Iraq is grave, it would turn dire if we prematurely withdraw our forces and withdraw the funding that is necessary to move Iraq forward. During the last two weeks of hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, every expert witness testified – without exception – that if the U.S. retreats or redeploys our troops, there would be thousands of lives lost and the potential for a regional conflict in the Middle East would increase dramatically.

At such a critical time, when our country is committed to a major battle in the overall Global War on Terror, the words of Congress should not send a mixed message to our troops, the Iraqi people or our enemies. Our men and women in the military watch what we say, and what we say on this floor is important. We must make it clear that while we may have differences in policy or politics we do not have any difference in our support for our men and women in uniform.

Now in the critical days of this battle, I stand forward and stand strong, and I refuse to subscribe to a recipe for failure. I choose to give this strategy a chance to succeed for the Iraqi people and for our national security.