McMorris’ Statement on New Strategy for Iraq

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris released the following statement in response to the President’s speech outlining a new Iraq strategy:

“It is clear that a new plan is needed for stabilizing Iraq. The situation there is deteriorating and sectarian violence continues to escalate. The American people deserved to hear tonight an acknowledgement of mistakes and new efforts to better involve military leaders, members of Congress and national experts in discussions.

“The new strategy outlined tonight is worth our consideration. However, if the United State’s role is to make a difference, the Iraqi government must follow through on stated intentions. The Iraqis need to take action to prove their commitment to securing and governing their own country. In addition to the plan to address sectarian violence, the Iraqis must also step up to new security responsibilities, equitable distribution of oil revenues, a new de-Ba’athifcation law, and make progress on their constitution.

“While an increase in troops may lead to short-term stability in Baghdad, long-term success is dependent on the Iraqi government being able to sustain the work done by U.S. troops. Increased training of Iraqi troops is crucial. I was pleased to see this plan call for the Iraqis taking the lead and supplying the majority of the new troops with the U.S. troops embedded within Iraqi brigades in order to provide support, training and enforcement.

“Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be testifying in front of the House Armed Services Committee tomorrow and I am anxious to learn more details of this new direction. I do have concerns about the duration of increased troops levels, and the strain and pressure this plan might place on National Guard units. I look forward to a thoughtful discussion regarding this new strategy.”

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