Washington, D.C. — Representative Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement in response to this week’s announcements and congressional hearings on Iraq:
“I am deeply disappointed that there is still no end in sight to our nation’s tragic entanglement in Iraq.
“The President’s ‘announcement’ is deceptive. Mr. Bush is ‘announcing’ the end of the surge as if it were his own decision. In fact, the removal of the 30,000 additional troops from Iraq was already scheduled, and when the President initially announced the surge he stated that the escalation would be temporary. President Bush touting this partial drawdown as an indicator of success is like the rooster taking credit for the dawn.
“The most important thing for the American people to understand is that this whole ‘Petraeus Report’ ritual that has consumed Washington this week is a travesty. The President, having realized that he has lost all credibility, recruited General Petraeus to be the face of the surge, and its principal salesman. There was never any chance that a change in course could come out of this process.
“It is clear today, as it was in January, that the surge is an attempt by the President to buy time and save face, at a cost measured in the lives of American soldiers and billions of dollars. Petraeus’ appearances on Capitol Hill were merely a middle step in the bait-and-switch scheme designed to keep our brave men and women in the Iraqi quagmire past January of 2009: Call a ‘Hail Mary’, play, declare the results as ‘success’, regardless of facts, and then claim that we need to stay in Iraq to build on the “success.”
“In January, Mr. Bush said, ‘I’ve made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended,’ and ‘America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.’ Yet, in September, when the Iraqi political parties and elected officials have failed to meet the standards they set for themselves, President Bush still wants to keep our troops in Iraq until the end of his term.
“The whole point of the surge, we were told, was to give the Iraqis space and time to make the necessary political compromises to bring about ‘top-down’ reconciliation. And yet all the recent reports indicate that this has not happened. Judged by the standards and goals announced by President Bush, the surge has been a failure. This is not a military failure of our troops, but a political failure by the President and his Iraqi allies to deliver what they have promised.
“The Congress embarrassed itself and the people it is supposed to represent when it failed to stop this deadly ‘surge’ charade. If we do not fight for the will of the people to be respected, if we do not treat this war with the seriousness, the urgency and the resolute determination that is demanded when the lives of American soldiers and the future of this nation hang in the balance, we should rightly fear the verdict of the American people and of history.”