IN FIRST SPEECH ON SENATE FLOOR, CARDIN CALLS FOR DRAWDOWN of AMERICAN TROOPS FROM IRAQ
Senator Strongly Denounces Presidents Troop Escalation Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. In his first speech on the Floor of the U.S. Senate,
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today outlined his vision for change in Iraq and spoke out against President Bushs plan to deploy thousands of additional U.S. troops to war. Sen. Cardin, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on President Bush to present a plan to start bringing American troops home.
As a Member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Cardin voted against the war in Iraq. He has remained a consistent critic of the Presidents management of the war and has long called for a gradual drawdown in American troops.
The following excerpts are from Sen. Cardins maiden speech:
- " Americans overwhelmingly want to see our troops begin to come home and they dont want to see thousands of additional troops go to Iraq.
- " Iraq is a country today torn by civil war. Victory in Iraq will not be achieved with our military might. It will come only from successfully aiding Iraq in establishing a government that protects the rights and enjoys the confidence of all its people. It must be a government that respects both human rights and democratic rights. The efforts of U.S. soldiers, no matter how heroic, cannot accomplish these objectives for the Iraqis.
- " Last month, The Iraq Study Group came forward with similar recommendations highlighting the need for the President to start drawing down troops. Many military experts agree, including some of our generals on the ground.
- " And on November 7th, the American people told us that they too agree that its time for a change in Iraq.
- " So when President Bush said several weeks ago that he was reevaluating the situation in Iraq and would announce a new policy shortly after the new year, there was great hope that the President, Congress and the American people could come together with an effective new policy to help the people in Iraq and advance U.S. interests. . . Unfortunately, that was not the case. President Bush has decided to ignore the advice of the Iraq Study Group, many of his own military officials and the American people in making his decision to send 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq.
- " The Presidents announcement last night reminds me of his same stated strategy for many months represents more of the same, more staying the course, just now with more American troops in harms way. An escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq is counter-productive.
- " We need a surge in U.S. troops coming home, not a surge in those going to war. We need a surge in diplomatic and political efforts to end the civil war.