Tonight the president will address the nation, calling for at least 20,000 more troops to be sent to Iraq. Some have called this a "surge." Let's call this for what it is -- an escalation. In anticipation of his speech, I issued the following statement:
Nearly four years ago the president sent American troops into battle without the necessary body armor, without a plan for reconstruction, and without an exit strategy. Two months ago millions of voters in Ohio, and across the nation, spoke with one voice delivering an undeniable message to end the war in Iraq.
Tonight President Bush is expected to ignore the voters by calling for an escalation in Iraq. He is expected to ignore the advice of our nation's military experts, including his own generals and the Iraq Study Group. And he is expected to ignore the expanding bipartisan opposition in Congress to escalation.
It is clear the president hopes that more of the same is a plan for success. More of the same is not the answer, and hope is not a plan.
The president must define our military goal in Iraq. He must reach out to our international allies to apply a diplomatic component. He must listen to his generals and he must work with Congress on a larger strategy for bringing our troops home. Until this happens, until the president clearly defines our goals, there can be no real strategy for success.
It is time for Congress to act.
Let there be no question, this Congress fully supports the military currently serving in Iraq. And we will continue to support them in every way.
It is the will of the American people that this Congress also must work to bring our troops home and to finally hold the administration accountable. Previous Congresses failed in providing oversight of and accountability for the president's Iraq policy. Those days are over. The days of blank checks are over. The days of more of the same are over.
Ohio families demand accountability and that is what they deserve. Congress will hold hearings to investigate millions in taxpayer dollars misspent on opportunistic contractors. No longer will we allow emergency supplementals that under-equip our troops, fund failed policies, and bust the budget. And we will work to ensure that every dollar allocated is spent on protecting troops on the ground, bringing them home, and on responsible reconstruction, not on unsound and impractical escalation.
In addition to denying expert advice and the voice of a nation, escalation sends the wrong message to the Iraqi government about charting its own future course. And it sends the wrong message about our priorities in the war on terror.
We have diverted our attention away from the war on terror and the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan. It would be unconscionable to divert a single soldier out of that region.
By promoting escalation, the president is asking American families to buy the same product in a new package. This year neither the voters nor Congress are buying.