Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
-- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement tonight on President Bush’s address to the nation outlining his comprehensive new strategy for moving forward in Iraq.
“We cannot afford to lose the war in Iraq.
“President Bush makes a very persuasive case for strategy change. I appreciate his willingness to acknowledge past mistakes and chart a new course to achieve victory in Iraq.
“We do not currently have combat capability to ‘Clear, Hold, and Build’ in parts of the country. And it’s clear we never had enough troops to bring about security after the fall of Baghdad. The supplemental combat capability proposed by President Bush will help Iraqis control their streets and rid them of insurgents. It is a much needed change.
“We must get a handle on the security situation in Iraq. You cannot establish a democracy when you have militias stronger than the central government. You cannot establish security when the citizens don’t have faith in their central government to protect them from violence.
“I am also pleased the President outlined positive steps to address rampant unemployment, set benchmarks for the Iraqi leadership, and involve friendly neighboring states in achieving a positive outcome. Iraqi political leaders understand this is their last chance to make adjustments to secure their country. I believe they will.
“Unfortunately, some in Congress want to cut off funding or cap troop levels so we cannot send additional troops to Iraq. We must not compound past mistakes by withdrawing or redeploying American forces from Iraq. To do so would send a heart-breaking signal to the moderates in the region and those in Iraq fighting for their freedom.
“Taking drastic steps like those suggested by some of my Democratic colleagues--Congress basically declaring the war as lost--would be a disaster for our national security interests and are a recipe for defeat. These policies must not be adopted.”