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From the Library of Congress:
MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE -- (House of Representatives - June 15, 2006)

Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, regretfully this debate on America's role in this debate on Iraq has been converted into a debate on the war on terror.

The Republican leadership has mimicked this divisive White House and sought a political squabble instead of a policy debate. The majority leader's memorandum that was circulated directing his Members to politicize and name call and obfuscate the issue is a disservice to this House and to the country as a whole.

Nothing was gained when the administration first inflated the issue of Osama bin Laden and terrorism with Iraq, and nothing is gained here today by this bald attempt to avoid discussion of Iraq policy and again try to conflate the issue of international terror with Iraq's insurgency.

Our country's democratic system requires the active involvement of Congress on key policy questions, particularly the issue of war. Its Members have a patriotic duty to hold the executive branch accountable, especially during a time of war. Troops as well as our citizens at home deserve and expect no less.

Back in 2001 this entire Congress went into Afghanistan against al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and essentially every Member, Republican, Democrat or Independent, went with the international community, rallying to the side of Americans, rallying to our aid. Our intelligence personnel, special ops forces, military and our allies were there.

But it was not in the case in Iraq where this President, President Bush, prematurely diverted troops and resources out of Afghanistan, before that mission was completed, before Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and Taliban leaders were captured, and before Afghanistan was stabilized.

President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld chose to start the Iraqi conflict on selective and incomplete intelligence when there was no imminent threat to the United States, without letting the international inspections run their course, without building international support, without a plan to stabilize and rebuild the country and bring our troops home, and ignoring the advice of leading generals about troop strength and strategy.

As a result of those failed judgments made over and over again, our troops have suffered in the field, not having adequate body armor and vehicle armor. They have been deployed an unreasonable number of times, and they are under unbelievable stress and danger. Our veterans have received inadequate care, some $3 billion short of what they should be having, and we have experienced a harmful lack of oversight and accountability.

The Iraqi people, more than half of them, are without clean water, 85 percent lack electricity, oil production less than what it was before the war started, and unemployment of over 40 percent and billions of dollars of American taxpayer money being spent without getting it where it is supposed to go, our troops not getting the safety equipment, Iraqis not getting the reconstruction done, and the American taxpayer $360 billion out of pocket. The policy of the Bush administration has done more to harm our military strength and more to harm and misdirect resources away from terror.

United States troops have done their jobs. They got rid of Saddam Hussein, they allowed for the constitution to be drawn and elections to be held, and they trained Iraqi security. The time has come for Iraqis to have the incentive to take control and responsibility for their own security. This idea of an open-ended commitment to stay the course just impedes this goal.

The true presence of our country impedes and fuels the insurgency. Nine out of 10 Iraqis want a timeline for withdrawal. Seventy percent, including the Prime Minister, set a timeline for withdrawal. It appears that the Bush-Rumsfeld group wants to be more Iraqi than the Iraqis.

It is time to shift the focus to political and diplomatic solutions. It is time we disavow any intention to permanently remain or to keep them on bases. It is time to revitalize our military, refocus on Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, and secure our own country by fulfilling the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.