Monday, August 21, 2006

Ford Calls For New Policy, Direction In Iraq

In response to President Bush’s press conference today on national security issues, Congressman Ford issued the following statement:

“President Bush again today said the best policy to win in Iraq is to stay the course. My Republican opponent, Bob Corker, agrees.

“I believe we need a new policy and a new direction in Iraq. President Bush and Mr. Corker are ignoring the reality of the present conditions in Iraq and no amount of spin will change that reality.

“There are more bombings, more deaths and more sectarian violence today than there has been since we entered the Iraq conflict. Last month alone, more than 3,500 Iraqis were killed, the highest civilian monthly toll since the war began. Iraq is in the beginning stages of a civil war and President Bush and Mr. Corker continue to counsel us to stay the course.

“I have supported President Bush when he was right. I voted to authorize the war in Iraq and I have voted for every spending request asked for by the President to fund the war. I agree with him that it would be a mistake to set a timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

“But I differ with him now on how he is managing the conflict. My dispute with President Bush and Mr. Corker is about policy and not about the outcome. I support winning the conflict and setting Iraq on a course toward a stable democracy, but we must change our policy to achieve this outcome. With more than 2,600 brave American men and women having made the ultimate sacrifice in this war, staying the course is no longer an option.

“Here are the policy changes I would make:
  • President Bush should ask for Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, to resign. His gross mismanagement of the Iraq War has weakened our chances of winning in Iraq and undermined our national security interests in the region.

  • Because the sectarian violence is escalating inside Iraq, we need to consider implementing a three-state solution that will create separate and sovereign regions for the Sunnis, Shias and the Kurds. The policy and model that we used to bring the Bosnian conflict under control should be used as a guide to develop our approach in Iraq.

  • We need to undertake a large-scale effort with our allies and moderate Arab regimes to rebuild Lebanon. This will require considerable resources and our active involvement. The best way to undermine Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon and Iraq is to facilitate the restoration of a stable government. I applaud President Bush’s pledge of a total of $230 million to help rebuild Lebanon. That is a good first step. But we also need to do everything we can to see that the ceasefire holds and that the global community commits the troops and the resources necessary to disarm Hezbollah and enforce the peace.

  • We need to move forward quickly and aggressively to break our dependence on foreign oil. We need to develop a Marshall Plan to invest in renewable and alternative energies, like wind, solar and nuclear and using Tennessee’s agricultural products for farm-based fuels. Unless and until we break our addiction to oil, we will always be the world’s oil cop. This needs to end.”