WASHINGTON — At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing,
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin today questioned the success of the “surge” strategy, pointing to several recent reports to Congress that made clear that Iraq remains wracked by sectarian violence and the continued failure of the Iraqi government and Iraqi National Police force.
Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding Bush Administration strategy to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq last spring to reduce violence and bring political stability to the war-torn nation.
“I applaud Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker’s efforts, but I think the facts are the facts – U.S. troops remain in the midst of a civil war and Iraq remains a deadly place for both U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians.”
The Senator stressed:
“While certain areas may be safer, we have seen an escalation of violence in other areas,” Senator Cardin said.
“In August, the National Intelligence Estimate reports that the level of overall violence in Iraq, including attacks on civilians, remains high and will continue to remain high for the foreseeable future.”
Senator Cardin pointed out that Iraq maybe safer in certain regions, “but much of that can be attributed to the fact that more than 1.1 million Iraqis have fled their homes to escape the violence.
We have seen sectarian cleansing in certain areas, and that is no recipe for stability.”
In pointing to last week’s General Accounting Office report and the Jones Report, Senator Cardin said, “I do not see any independent evidence that increased U.S. troop strength has led to greater civilian security or political stability. The Senator has called for an international effort to stabilize Iraq. He also said we need a change of policy in Iraq — “one that will remove U.S. troops from a civil war.”