U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey today made the following comments regarding President Bush’s New Way Forward in Iraq:
“What we need in Iraq is a knock-out punch. A troop surge in Baghdad is an opportunity to stabilize this volatile region once and for all. Last week, I signed a letter to President Bush encouraging him to move well-trained Iraqi battalions stationed in relatively peaceful provinces to the Baghdad combat zone. We need to put these Iraqi troops into action so they can become battle-hardened and build rapport with the Iraqi people. This will allow our U.S. troops to redeploy to safer areas. We know Baghdad is struggling with sectarian violence and death squads. In the past, we have underestimated the intensity of these problems. Now, we must confront them by ensuring we have enough troops not only to clear the region, but to hold it.
“The President is right to encompass foreign aid in his plan to stabilize Iraq, but I will be asking tough questions of the Administration to ensure the money we spend isn’t lost to fraud and abuse within the Iraqi system.
“Let’s not forget what is at stake in this fight. If we give up in Iraq, the situation in the Middle East will deteriorate. Iran could take control of Iraq’s oil resources, Israel would be pushed into the sea, and the world would lose respect for the resolve of the U.S. people and government. Our President and Combatant Commanders are ready to deal the knock-out blow. We can’t tie one hand behind their backs. We must be in this battle to win.”