February 2, 2007

Whitehouse: National Intelligence Estimate Confirms Urgent Need for a New Direction in Iraq

Reiterates Calls for a Clear Announcement of Plans to Redeploy Troops

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on today’s National Intelligence Estimate, “Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead.”

“The National Intelligence Estimate released today makes clear what most Americans already understand: the situation in Iraq is bad and getting worse, and the President’s escalation plan offers no lasting solution for the underlying political and sectarian forces driving the intensifying conflict.

“The persistent failure of Iraqi factions to reconcile and work together, according to this assessment by the intelligence community, is among the key elements fomenting violence and hindering stability in Iraq. Sending tens of thousands more American soldiers there won’t change that. Iraqi leaders must decide to unite and take real responsibility for the security and governance of their own country for the efforts of any security force – Iraqi or American – to have a chance at success.

“It remains my firm belief that a clear announcement by the United States that we intend to redeploy our troops from Iraq in a rapid and responsible way is the only path that will both galvanize internal Iraqi reconciliation, encourage broader involvement by Iraq’s Arab neighbors to avert the development of a pan-Arabic Sunni/Shiite conflict in the region, and motivate meaningful participation from the international community.

“I’m troubled that the President’s policy in Iraq does not seem to be informed by the assessment of our nation’s intelligence community. America simply cannot afford the risk that the war in Iraq now threatens of further deterioration of our national security, international standing, military readiness, and well-being of our troops and their families. It’s time for a new direction in Iraq, and I look forward to joining my Senate colleagues soon in support of a bipartisan resolution that will strongly convey that message to the President.”


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