Today the President vowed that the US troops will not leave Iraq during his presidency.  We need a change of direction, not a declaration for more of the same.  Rather than stay-the-course, we must insure our mission in Iraq is successful – and we can do this by:
·       Issuing an immediate declaration that the US will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq and will have no claim on Iraqi oil;
·       Putting the Iraqis on notice that they must decide their own destiny and give them a defined notice period for the Iraqi political groups to choose between compromise and conflict and put a working government in place, this will create a sense of urgency for the Iraqis to choose peace over civil war;
·       Providing full US political and military support during this notice period and implement a comprehensive political strategy to give each sectarian group a stake in a peaceful and stable Iraq.  Each group should have a stake in reconstruction contracts, oil revenues and have minority rights and veto rights;
·       Committing to the redeployment of US forces out of Iraq starting at the end of this notice period to be determined by our military leaders.  That period might reasonably be six, nine or twelve months -- anything shorter would not be reasonable given the task; anything longer is too indefinite.

My opponent, Rep. John Sweeney stands behind the President on his failed Iraq policy.  We have an honest disagreement on the most important challenge confronting our nation.  It is time for a new direction and real change.