Pelosi: 'The War in Iraq Has Seriously Undermined Our Nation's Military Strength and Readiness'

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on Congressional testimony by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen , on the proposed fiscal year 2009 defense...


WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on Congressional testimony by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen , on the proposed fiscal year 2009 defense budget:

"Today's testimony by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirms our warning that the war in Iraq has seriously undermined our nation's military strength and readiness, and therefore our national security.

"Admiral Michael Mullen's testimony before Congress today that our troops are 'significantly stressed' by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan underscores the national security threat posed by the President's failed Iraq policy. Admiral Mullen's warning that 'the pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from fully training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats' should make clear that the issue of military readiness is not an abstract concept, but a timely and critical serious threat to the safety of the American people.

"We need a New Direction in our Iraq policy, one that will bring our troops home honorably, safely, and soon."

THE WAR IN IRAQ -- NEARLY FIVE YEARS LATER:

Despite Strain on U.S. Forces President Bush Pledges to Spend Billions More, Stay Decades Longer

Democrats are committed to a New Direction in Iraq that holds the President accountable, provides real support to our men and women in uniform, and will bring our troops home safely, honorably, and soon. The American people -- especially the brave men and women in uniform and their families -- deserve more from the Bush Administration than a 10-year, trillion dollar war in Iraq . But despite the strain on U.S. forces and the worst crisis in military readiness since the Vietnam War, President Bush is staying the course.

"The pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from fully training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats...I am extremely concerned about the toll the current pace of operations is taking on them and on their families, on our equipment and on our ability to respond to crises and contingencies beyond ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

-- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen [AP, 2/6/08 ]

"We have told the secretary we're taking one for the team here...The point that we have made in the discussions is: We cannot continue to do it without relief elsewhere."

-- Marine Commandant General James Conway [Los Angeles Times , 2/2/08 ]

The Facts

-- More than 1.6 million brave men and women have been deployed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 2001 . [Defense Department, 12/31/07]

-- 3,946 American soldiers have been killed and more than 29,000 have been wounded since the war in Iraq began in March 2003 . [Defense Department, 2/5/08]

-- Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen recently told reporters that the Army could cross the "invisible red line" -- the Army's breaking point -- in as little as six to nine months. [Army Times, 2/1/08]

-- The Commission on National Guard and Reserves recently released a report concluding the Pentagon is not prepared to protect our country from a nuclear, chemical or biological attack inside the U.S. in large part because of the repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan . According to Retired Major General Arnold Punaro , the commission chairman: "We looked at [the Pentagon's] plans. They're totally unacceptable...You couldn't move a Girl Scout unit with the kind of planning they're doing." [ABC News/Reuters, 1/31/08]

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