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Statement of Governor Bill Richardson on the Congressional Testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker

September 10, 2007

LOS ANGELES, CA-- Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement on the testimony to the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker:

"I am saddened, but not surprised, by the recommendations of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on Iraq. I do not question the integrity or competence of these gentlemen, but the strategy George Bush and Dick Cheney have asked them to execute has failed. The course General Petraeus has recommended we take-- more of the same-- is unacceptable, irresponsible, and dangerous.

"Numerous independent reports confirm the obvious: we are not making real progress in Iraq. Our troops are dying and stuck in the middle of a civil war. The Iraqis will not take the necessary steps toward political reconciliation until we make it clear that we are leaving their country for good. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has regrouped to its pre-9/11 strength. It is time we put the safety of our troops and the protection of our national interests before the legacy of Bush and Cheney.

"The only responsible option that remains is to get all of our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. Only when all of our troops are out can the hard work of diplomacy begin.

"I have challenged the other major Democratic candidates to tell the American people how many troops they will leave in Iraq and for how long. The American people and I still are waiting for an answer. The other major candidates have suggested that they will leave some troops behind indefinitely. That idea does not make sense. What can a smaller force accomplish that a larger force could not? The other major candidates have gone so far as to suggest pulling out our combat troops and leaving tens of thousands of other troops behind. This policy would be gravely irresponsible. Why would we leave behind tens of thousands of unprotected troops?

"More and more experts are coming to the same conclusion that I arrived at months ago. Several defense experts, including former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and former Reagan defense official Lawrence Korb, have agreed publicly with my assessment that we can get all of our troops out quickly. During this war, we have rotated 240,000 troops in and out of Iraq in just three months-- I am confident that we can get 160,000 out safely within six to eight months. The only responsible option we have in Iraq is to get all of our troops out now."

Bill Richardson, Statement of Governor Bill Richardson on the Congressional Testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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