WASHINGTON – Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) voiced his strong opposition to President Bush's plan to escalate America's presence in Iraq and cast his vote in favor of having an up-or-down vote in the Senate on the President's plan.
As a Member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Cardin voted against giving the President authority to invade Iraq. He has been a consistent critic of the administration's management of the war and has called on the President to start reducing our troop levels and engaging the international community in Iraq's reconstruction.
The Senator released the following statement today:
"The war in Iraq is the most important issue of our times. American soldiers are dying on almost a daily basis and the American taxpayers are funding this war at the expense of priorities at home like education, health care and the environment. The future of the Middle East and our standing in the international community hang in the balance. Every U.S. Senator has a responsibility to make his or her position on the war known to the American people.
"Success in Iraq means an Iraqi government that has the confidence of all its ethnic communities and can stand up for its own security. But Iraq is currently engaged in a civil war, with extremists on both ends and neighboring countries taking sides. America cannot simply end the violence in Iraq by increasing our military presence. It will take an escalation in diplomacy and compromise, not an escalation in American troops.
"Our troops are in the middle of a civil war, with bulls eyes on their backs and no end in sight. We should be reducing America's military presence in Iraq, not increasing it and we should be engaging the international community in a real discussion about the future of Iraq. But first, the Senate has a responsibility to cast an up-or-down vote on the President's escalation plan. Silence by the U.S. Senate on the war in Iraq is unacceptable."