Jan 20, 2007
Levin says the key to a solution to the Iraq fiasco rests with the Iraqi politicians
HAMBURG TOWNSHIP – Sen. Carl Levin said next week will an historic week in the Senate when the senior body takes up the bipartisan Iraq resolution to try and stop the further escalation of the Iraq fiasco that has seen more then 3,000 U.S. Service members killed in action and cost the taxpayers more than $350 billon.
Levin, the Chair of the powerful Armed Services Committee, spoke at a fundraiser Saturday at Whispering Pines Golf Course to benefit the Livingston County Democratic Party, and more than 150 people were in attendance, as well as media from TV, radio, print and bloggers.
The Senate is expected to take up the bipartisan resolution next week that was introduced by Levin, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) that opposes President Bush’s recent decision to escalate the conflict by sending in more troops. The resolution is non-binding, and the resolution says it is not in the national interest of the U.S. to escalate further military involvement in Iraq. The Republicans, realizing the importance of the resolution, plan to try and filibuster the resolution.
“It’s a very significant resolution,” Levin said. “The president is as wrong now as he is when he went in (to Iraq).”
Levin said the only solution to the Iraq conflict is a political one, and it must be made by the Iraqi politicians themselves. He also said the Iraqis have had more than enough time to reach a political settlement, and the resolution would send a message to both the President and the Iraq government that they need to find a solution.
“We have been in Iraq longer than World War II and longer than we fought in Korea,” Levin said. “Only Iraq can do for Iraq.”
Levin said the American people can expect to see more resolutions urging an end to the Iraq situation as more and more people realize the futility of trying to achieve a military solution instead of a political resolution, and we can expect further Iraq resolutions to come from presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn). These resolutions will seek to place maximum pressure on the Iraq government to find a solution by setting a timetable to leave of 4-6 months, and placing a cap on the number of troops allowed in Iraq at 130,000.
“The secret, to me, is to not only send a message to the President that he does not have bipartisan support in the Senate, but, more importantly, it sends a message to the Iraqis that we are on the way out,” Levin said.
One anti-war supporter said the non-binding resolution means nothing to the President because he has escalated the situation in Iraq despite a clear referendum against the war in the last election in November that swept Republicans out of power in both the House and Senate. She urged cutting off funding for the war.
But Levin said he was dead set against that move for a couple of reasons. He said it will both send the wrong message to the troops in the field, and it could have the potential to harm them.
“We are against the policy, and we will fight the policy; but we will still support the troops,” he said. “And they know that.”
Levin said even though the majority of the American people realize the mistake of the Iraq fiasco, the Senate only holds a Democratic majority of one seat, and if any of these proposed resolutions fail, Bush will spin it as support for his failed policies in Iraq.
Levin said there are plans to investigate the deception and distortions that got us into Iraq, as well as the corruption and no-bid contracts and abuses of the detainees that got us into so much trouble and hurt our prestige around the world, but the priority is finding a solution to the mess in Iraq.
“These things will not be forgotten, but the primary focus is changing the direction in Iraq,” he said.