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Rep. Waters: Shuffling of President’s Iraq Advisors is Equivalent to Shuffling the Chairs on the Decks of the Titanic

July 30, 2009
Press Release

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement regarding the changes President Bush is making to his Iraq policy team:

"Over the past several days, we have learned about the President's plans to make significant changes to his team of advisors and military personnel for the Iraq war.  However, these changes will not matter if the underlying policy does not change.  The proposed changes in personnel are, in effect, like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

"According to press reports, Army Lt. General David Petraeus will replace General George Casey as commander of the multinational forces in Iraq.  Navy Admiral William Fallon will replace General John Abizaid as head of U.S. Central Command.  In addition, the President will name Ambassador Ryan Crocker as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, replacing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad who will be nominated as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.  Lastly, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte has been nominated as Deputy Secretary of State, to be replaced by the former Director of the National Security Agency and retired Navy Admiral, Michael McConnell.

"The President has every right to surround himself with the individuals he feels would give him the advice he needs to make a decision.  However, it seems that he is merely surrounding himself with people who agree with him.  It appears that General Casey and General Abizaid are being replaced because they do not agree with the President's policies.  For example, General Abizaid, in testimony last year to the Senate Armed Services Committee, specifically said that he did not feel that additional troops should be sent to Iraq – contradicting the policy President Bush is likely to recommend.  General Casey and General Abizaid have served our country with distinction; their opinions should be valued by our nation's policymakers. 

"A failed policy will only result in continued failure, no matter who makes the recommendations.  Instead of naming new personnel, the President should announce a new policy – one that makes diplomacy and the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq its central platform.  Sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, as the President is rumored to be planning, will not change the disastrous results America has witnessed in Iraq so far.  Diplomacy, including discussions with Iran and Syria, and redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq are the keys to achieving stability in the region."
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.