BOND BLASTS SENATE LEADERSHIP FOR RETREAT AND DEFEAT IRAQ STRATEGY

BOND BLASTS SENATE LEADERSHIP FOR RETREAT AND DEFEAT IRAQ STRATEGY

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kit Bond, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today joined Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) amd Trent Lott (R-MS) in criticizing the Senate leadership for using the Defense Authorization bill, legislation that authorizes critical national security programs, to force a retreat and defeat strategy in Iraq.

"The new majority in the Senate is using critical legislation to try and force retreat and defeat in Iraq," said Bond. "There may be short-term political benefits to politicians if Congress orders retreat but our intelligence services have warned us of the dangers of a precipitous withdrawal."

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee held an open hearing on threat assessment. Testimony was heard from the Directors of the National Intelligence, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI, and State Department officials. During the hearing the Intelligence Community warned of the dangers of a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. Bond pointed out that if the United States leaves before the Iraqi army and police can maintain security, killings would increase; violence and chaos would spread across the region; and al-Qaida would have safe haven from which to plan and execute attacks on the United States and its allies.

Earlier this year the Senate voted unanimously to approve General Petraeus and give him the authority to implement the counterinsurgency plan backed up with a surge. The new strategy is showing signs of progress, said Bond. He recently visited the Al-Anbar province in Iraq where there has been a decrease in sectarian violence, greater tribal cooperation, and an increase in weapons cache discoveries.

Bond criticized those of his colleagues who are revisiting timelines, restrictions and retreat in Iraq despite the encouraging signs the new strategy is working, just weeks after its implementation. Instead of debating how quickly we can cede defeat, the Senate should be debating how we can achieve victory, stressed Bond.

"It is critical that here at home, we show our troops that we support them and their mission. They are in this fight to win and I intend to support them all the way. I hope my colleagues will not continue to play politics with our national security," said Bond.