Rep. Waters: “President between a Rock and a Hard Place”
U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement regarding President Bush's press conference today:
"Prior to November's election, the President said, ‘we are absolutely winning.' However in today's press conference, he said, ‘we're not winning; we're not losing.'"
"The President can't have it both ways. The fact is that we are losing in Iraq. Today's polls indicate that 67 percent of Americans believe that we are losing the Iraq war and want us to conclude our involvement in Iraq. Today's press conference yielded no new information about the President's plans to get us out of Iraq."
"The President would have us believe he is waiting for advice from his new Secretary of Defense and others. However, the President has shown that he is not willing to take advice. He has already dismissed the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, former Secretary of State Powell, and the Join Chiefs of Staff, among others."
"In response to a question during the press conference, the President said, ‘… clearly, one aspect of this war that has not gone right is the sectarian violence inside Baghdad; you know, a violent reaction by both Sunni and Shia to each other that has caused a lot of loss of life…'"
"What has not gone right is the President's decision to go to war. It is simply incredulous that the President could not have anticipated the breakout of sectarian violence. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there appeared to have been a peaceful coexistence of Sunnis and Shiites. It is our occupation of Iraq that unleashed the sectarian violence. Anyone with a basic understanding of the history of the Middle East and Iraq understands that there is historical animosity and conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites. In fact, prior to the war, many in the U.S. intelligence community warned the President about the very real possibility of sectarian violence breaking out following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government, yet the President and his advisors ignored these warnings."
"The President's insistence that ‘they can't run us out of the Middle East; that they can't intimidate America' is very dangerous. The President's inflexibility is the very reason why we are in this difficult situation today. The President continued the failed ‘stay the course' policy for far too long. Sticking to his guns, hoping for a reversal of fortune is not the leadership that the American people – and the U.S. military – want or deserve."
"The President's comments today fell short of providing answers. Sixty-seven percent of Americans want us out of Iraq. Yet, the President has not offered even a hint of what he plans to do; however, it appears that he intends to do what the American public and his military advisors don't want – to send more troops to Iraq. Sending more troops is the wrong decision for Iraq and for America. We must begin to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq immediately."
Representative Maxine Waters is Chair of the 73-member ‘Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus. The Caucus was founded in June 2005 to pressure the Bush Administration to conclude the Iraq war as soon as possible.