Biden Calls Buildup In Iraq A Failure

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Los Angeles Times
April 6, 2008 In the weekly Democratic radio address, the senator asserts that Bush's year-old endeavor hasn't led Iraqi groups to settle their differences.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee charged Saturday that President Bush has no plan for pacifying Iraq in his last nine months in office, and intends to "muddle through and hand the problem off to his successor."
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who this week will preside over a long-awaited hearing on Iraq, said in the Democrats' weekly radio address that because Bush's year-old troop increase has not led Iraqi groups to settle their differences, it has been a failure.
And although the military buildup has reduced bloodshed, "even these gains are relative," Biden said. "Violence is just getting back to levels we saw in 2005 -- when 846 Americans lost their lives and 5,945 were wounded."
Republican lawmakers and the White House see the Iraq hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday as an opportunity to shape public opinion about the war in advance of the November presidential election.
GOP lawmakers are expected to emphasize the reduction in violence and dispute the Democrats' contention that there has been no progress toward political reconciliation in Iraq. They will point to several steps taken by the Iraqi government, including plans for provincial elections and the parliament's passage of a law to distribute oil revenues and a law that advocates say would allow more Sunnis into government.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador, are expected to tell Congress that conditions there are more peaceful yet fragile -- an analysis that supports Bush's expected decision to halt further troop reductions after June.
Biden said that "there could be no clearer acknowledgment from the president himself that the surge has not succeeded in achieving its stated purpose" of moving Iraq toward autonomy.
"So where are we after the surge? Back to where we were before it started," Biden said. "With 140,000 troops in Iraq -- and no end in sight."
The price the United States is paying for the war "keeps getting steeper," said Biden, who noted that the mission was costing $12 billion a month and making it hard to send troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan -- "the real central front in the war on terror."
He also said that the war inflicted a cost on "America's standing in the world."
"We Democrats understand that this war must end so that America can regain the credibility to lead around the world," Biden said.