Larsen Votes for New Direction in Iraq
Washington, DC, March 23, 2007
“It’s time for a change in direction. Instead of focusing our military and diplomatic energy on fighting a sectarian civil war, the Iraq Accountability Act re-focuses our efforts on fighting terrorism around the world – both today and in the future.
“The Iraq Accountability Act holds the president accountable for his policies in Iraq. It holds the Iraqi government accountable for the benchmarks the President himself has set. And it aims to stop the slow bleed of well-equipped, trained and rested troops from our military.
“To fight terrorism around the world, we need a ready and flexible military. But this war has sapped our ability to train here at home with functional equipment. It has sapped our ability to recruit for the future, and it has sapped our ability to prepare for 21st century threats. We need to stop this slow bleed of military readiness. We are sending men and women to Iraq in violation of the President’s own standards for training, equipment and time at home. That hurts our military readiness, and it hurts our military families.
“The Iraq Accountability Act also provides funding for defense and veterans health care above and beyond the president’s budget request. Enlisted men and women have faced unacceptable conditions at Walter Reed and other facilities. They deserve better care, and this bill will help make sure they get it. It will also help prevent another Walter Reed situation in our veterans health care system.
“Congress has a constitutional duty to provide oversight. The time for accountability has come. We are holding the president accountable not only for his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for the conditions our enlisted soldiers and veterans face here at home.”