Levin Statement on President’s Proposal to Increase Troops in Iraq: 01/10/07

WASHINGTON — Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., made this statement following President Bush’s speech to the nation on Iraq:

“I oppose increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as the President outlined.

“An escalation of American troops is a flawed strategy for two reasons: it implies that there is a military solution to the violence when what’s needed is a political solution among the Iraqi leaders, and it suggests that the future of Iraq is in our hands not theirs.

“More promises by the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future and more statements by the President on the need for doing so are no substitute for U.S. actions to force political compromises by the Iraqis. The President did not set benchmarks for the Iraqis that have hard deadlines and clear consequences for failure.

“The President’s long-overdue words are that we are ending the open-ended commitment to Iraq, but the reality is that he is sending the opposite message to the Iraqis by putting more American military men and women in the middle of Iraqi sectarian violence.

“America supplying more troops while Iraqi leaders simply supply more promises is not a recipe for success in Iraq.”