April 06, 2007

Statement by U.S. Senator Ron WydenRegarding America's Eventual Withdrawal from Iraq

It is my belief that we should withdraw our military from Iraq as soon as we are able to ensure that our departure will not be followed by a Rwanda or Darfur of our own making.While I was one of 23 U.S. Senators who voted against going to war in Iraq, I also acknowledge that -- once the President invaded that nation -- we inherited a moral obligation to attempt to leave Iraq with a more peaceful and prosperous future. While I will not and cannot defend the misleading information used by President Bush and his administration in selling the Iraq war to Congress and the American public, nor will I defend his conduct of this war, their wrongs would not justify an irresponsible departure that would ensure a full-blown civil war, widespread ethnic cleansing, and hundreds of thousands of additional, needless deaths. Having just returned from a visit to Iraq, I can attest that the country is on the brink of just such a bloody civil war and I believe we have a moral obligation to find workable options to avoid that outcome.To both avoid an even greater human tragedy in Iraq and to hasten the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq, at the very least:1) the President must become personally and fully engaged in efforts to mediate an equitable national sharing of power between the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish people;2) the U.N., which wanted no part of this country's invasion of Iraq, should be asked to take an immediate role in securing peace and preventing genocide in that country;3) the President must unequivocally agree to never establishing a permanent military base in Iraq; and,4) the Administration, with the help of the international community, must set a far more aggressive timetable for training adequate Iraqi security forces and devote the necessary resources to accomplish this goal.Morally, we have an obligation to get out of Iraq as quickly as can be accomplished without compounding the tragic outcome of the President's invasion by leaving in our wake an environment ripe for ethnic cleansing and genocide.