Watch U.S. Rep. Levin Speak On The Iraq Resolution

Feb 15, 2007

(Washington D.C.)- U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of the Iraq Resolution.

To view video of Mr. Levin giving his full statement, please click here directing you to a website off the House site.

Below is the text of Mr. Levin's full prepared statement:

"I rise in strong support of the resolution before the House.  We need to send a clear, bipartisan message to the White House that there is little support in Congress for deepening our open-ended military commitment in Iraq by sending an additional 21,000 troops into this conflict. 

"The debate we are having today is about the future of our nation's policy in Iraq.  So my main focus will not be to catalog the litany of the Administration's past grave mistakes and misstatements over the last four years. 

"At the same time, as a lesson for the future, it is important to remember that the war in Iraq was the first application of what has become known as the Bush Doctrine.  This policy was unveiled by the President in his commencement speech at West Point in June of 2002 and made policy a few months later in the Administration's 2002 National Security Strategy. 

"The Administration's doctrine stressed preemptive attack, U.S. military superiority, and U.S. unilateral action.  This flawed policy has proven to be disastrous.  It has destabilized Iraq and threatens to undermine the stability of the entire region.  The doctrine blinded the Administration to the Pandora's Box it was opening when it invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and 9-11 terrorists that were not there. 
"Far from strengthening U.S. security, this misguided doctrine has put our nation's vital interests at greater risk.  The elevation of unilateralism has helped erode our nation's standing in the world. 

"The recently released National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq underscores just how flawed the Administration's doctrine has been.  It paints a bleak picture of the growing violence and polarization in Iraq.  Among the key judgments of the U.S. intelligence agencies:

--  "Iraqi society's growing polarization, the persistent weakness of the security forces and the state in general, and all sides' ready recourse to violence are collectively driving an increase in communal and insurgent violence and political extremism."
--  "Extremists 'continue to act as very effective accelerators for what has become a self-sustaining inter-sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis.'
--   "The Intelligence Community judges that the term 'civil war' does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa'ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence.'  In other words, Iraq is more than just a civil war; it is a civil war bordering on anarchy. 

"The judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate reinforce the view that a military solution in Iraq is not possible.  The Administration has attempted troop surges in the past and they haven't worked.  Adding another 21,000 American troops will not put an end to violence and instability in Iraq.  The only chance to do that is for Iraq's leaders and factions to come together and begin the difficult process of political compromise and reconciliation.  
 "The Sunnis, the Shia, and the Kurds have to decide if they want one Iraq or three Iraq's.  Sending additional troops only postpones the day when the Iraqis will have to take responsibility for their own country.  I believe that announcing the orderly redeployment of U.S. forces is the best way to put pressure on the factions in Iraq to come together and make these difficult choices.
"The resolution before the House is straightforward.  The resolution states clearly and unambiguously that Congress does not support the President's plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by 21,000.  The resolution supports our military personnel, but not a further military escalation in support of a strategy that is not working. 
"Some here have said that this resolution is non-binding and therefore not serious.  Others have said that the resolution emboldens our enemies and hurts the troops.  How does it embolden our enemies or hurt the troops for this Congress to disapprove continuing a strategy in Iraq that is not working?  The resolution we are debating today is non-binding, but it is not non-consequential.  I hope the Administration will hear the clear, bipartisan message we are sending and change course.  
 "The question before the House today is whether or not we agree with the President's plan to send 21,000 additional American troops over to Iraq to referee a growing civil war.  I do not agree with this escalation.  I urge all my colleagues to join me in calling on the President to change course in Iraq.  Vote for the resolution."