Saturday, April 05, 2008

Senator Joe Biden Delivers the Democratic Radio Address


"Good morning. I'm Joe Biden, Democratic Senator from Delaware and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In January 2007, President Bush announced the surge of an additional 30,000 American forces into Iraq. Next week, the President is expected to tell the American people what comes next. It's an important moment for America's future.

"The purpose of the surge was to bring violence in Iraq down so that its leaders could come together politically. Violence has come down, but the Iraqis have not come together. The country remains terribly divided among Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds. There is little evidence the Iraqis will settle their differences peacefully any time soon.

"Our military has done a heroic job in bringing violence down since last summer. But even these gains are relative. Violence is just getting back to levels we saw in 2005 -- when 846 Americans lost their lives and 5,945 were wounded. Iraq is still an incredibly dangerous place and very far from normal.

"Despite this reality, the President is expected to announce that when the surge ends, we will not be in a position of drawing down American forces. There could be no clearer acknowledgment from the President himself that the surge has not succeeded in achieving its stated purpose, namely, moving Iraq toward the day it can govern itself, defend itself and sustain itself in peace.

"So, where are we after the surge? Back to where we were before it started. With 140,000 troops in Iraq -- and no end in sight. The best that can be said is we've gone from drowning in Iraq to treading water. That's better, but we can't keep doing it without exhausting ourselves.

"Every extra day we stay in Iraq with 140,000 troops, that's exactly what we're doing. And the price we're paying keeps getting steeper:

  • The continued loss of the lives and limbs of our soldiers every day;

  • The emotional and economic strain on our military families due to repeated, extended tours lasting up to 15 months;

  • The drain on our Treasury $12 billion every month that we could be spending on housing, education or healthcare here at home;

  • The impact on the readiness of our armed forces tying down so many troops that we don't have any leftover to deal with a new emergency;

  • The inability to send enough troops to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan the real central front in the war on terror;

  • And finally: the damage done to America's standing in the world;

"I believe the President has no strategy for success in Iraq. His plan is to muddle through and hand the problem off to his successor. Our troops and their families deserve better than that. We owe them a strategy worthy of their sacrifice.

"We Democrats understand that this war must end so that America can regain the credibility to lead around the world and the flexibility to meet our challenges here at home. That's what the American people want and it's what America's security needs. Thank you for listening."


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