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Rep. Kind Statement on General Petraeus Testimony

April 9, 2008
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Rep. Kind made the following statement in response to General David Petraeus’s testimony before the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees today:

“During my numerous meetings with General Petraeus, I always found him to be a man of great conviction and high integrity. I respect his assessment of the situation in Iraq. However, despite his recommendation to maintain troop levels in the country after the draw-down ends in July, I know that he and our other military officers there are the first to admit that the problems in Iraq cannot be resolved militarily, but only through political reconciliation.

“We need a new direction in our strategy with a clear signal to the Iraqi government that we will not be there indefinitely. That’s why I support a responsible redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. The men and women of our military have performed valiantly and done all that we have asked of them and more. We must now push Iraqi security forces to the forefront and drive political progress with a clear plan and timeline to begin drawing down our troops and redeploying them out of country.

“We are now more than five years into this war. We’ve spent nearly a trillion dollars we don’t have and have lost more than 4,000 soldiers. Our economy is struggling. American citizens are rightly questioning why we have spent more than $2 billion a week engaging a country that is not willing to match our troops’ commitment and achieve political reconciliation.

“Furthermore, I think it is more important now than ever for our military forces to focus on the real threat to the United States – al Qaeda’s growing strength in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite the Bush Administration’s assertions, the majority of the terrorists causing hurt and destruction in Iraq are actually disgruntled Sunni insurgents who seek to re-gain political power in the country, and are al Qaeda in name only. These groups are very different from those al Qaeda forces who are building power in Afghanistan and Pakistan and pose a much greater threat to this country.

“The time is long overdue to change our strategy in Iraq. This war has already cost the country more than it has to give. Our military is stretched dangerously thin, jeopardizing our ability to adequately protect our homeland. This situation is unsustainable as it stands, and I will continue to press for a new direction – one that demands accountability from the Iraqi government as well as our own.”