April 11, 2007

In Meeting with Bush, Whitehouse Urges New Direction in Iraq

Senator Shares Rhode Islanders' Messages Calling for Troops to Come Home

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) met with President Bush today to share firsthand the concerns of thousands of Rhode Islanders who believe we need a change of course in Iraq. Whitehouse recently traveled to Iraq as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Rhode Islanders, and people throughout the country, have sent a clear message to this administration: it’s time for a new direction in Iraq,” Whitehouse said. “Today, I had the chance to deliver that message to the President in person. I told him that we want to bring our troops home, and urged him to consider that the strongest force he has at his disposal for a resolution in Iraq is to announce a redeployment and a change of course.”

Whitehouse also gave President Bush several letters sent to him by Rhode Islanders concerned about the Bush administration’s misguided policy in Iraq.

A Cumberland woman whose nephew is serving in Iraq wrote to the President: “I am proud to be an American! Please, please on behalf of my family and the families of all US troops – bring them home now!”

A woman from Harrisville wrote as her family member was waiting to be deployed: “Our enemies want us to be mired in a pointless war, wasting our resources and our young people. They want us hurting. Withdrawing from Iraq is the smart thing to do, and that is what our enemies fear most.”

A Johnston man whose son is serving in Iraq wrote: “We the majority of the American people oppose this war and the escalation of troops, even our Generals both active and retired say the escalation of our troops will not help. It is time to bring our men home!”

Several members of Congress were invited to meet with the President following recent official visits to Iraq. Whitehouse traveled there in mid-March on an official congressional delegation visit to meet with American troops and assess the situation on the ground. While in country, he talked with American military commanders, including General David Petraeus, as well as several high-ranking Iraqi officials and members of the U.S. embassy and intelligence staffs. Whitehouse also spoke with Marines from Rhode Island now serving in Fallujah.

Whitehouse joined a majority of the Senate to pass war funding legislation that would compel President Bush to begin redeploying American troops from Iraq within four months, with a goal of having all combat troops out of the country by March 31, 2008. Whitehouse also is a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that will limit funding for the war after April 2008 to counter-terrorism, training, and force protection.


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