Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today strongly questioned the Bush administration’s response to British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s announcement that United Kingdom troops will begin leaving Iraq in the coming months, and again called on the President to announce the beginning of an American redeployment from Iraq.
“On one hand, President Bush says American troop levels in Iraq need to escalate by tens of thousands, but on the other, he says things are going so well that British troops can safely leave. The President simply cannot have it both ways,” Whitehouse said.
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, noted that according to an unclassified summary of January’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) assessing the security situation in Iraq, “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.”
“Rhode Islanders are rightfully growing frustrated at this administration’s inability – or unwillingness – to be thoughtful and straightforward about its plans for Iraq,” Whitehouse said. “With a united voice, we have demanded a new direction, and we have yet to see it.”