After the Surge

One year ago, President Bush announced a surge in U.S. forces in Iraq. Senator Bernie Sanders said Bush was making a bad situation worse. "Our soldiers and their families should not continue to pay the price for the president's failed policies," Sanders said on January 10, 2007, the day the surge was announced. "Our troops should come home as soon as possible. It is time for Congress to use its constitutional and budgetary authority to make that happen." One year later, the deadliest year for

One year ago, President Bush announced a surge in U.S. forces in Iraq. Senator Bernie Sanders said Bush was making a bad situation worse. "Our soldiers and their families should not continue to pay the price for the president's failed policies," Sanders said on January 10, 2007, the day the surge was announced. "Our troops should come home as soon as possible. It is time for Congress to use its constitutional and budgetary authority to make that happen." One year later, the deadliest year for American troops since the war in Iraq began has just ended. The main objective of the surge -- political reconciliation among rival factions within Iraq -- remains unmet. Iraqis failed to demonstrate any readiness to take responsibility for their own country. Even worse, the United States has no plan to bring home the 160,000 troops still stationed in Iraq. A rueful Sanders now says, "The war in Iraq continues, costing us the astronomical sum of $12 billion per month. Congress must become more forceful in its opposition to President Bush's disastrous policies and more aggressive in fighting for an end to the war."

Sanders' concerns were echoed by Rand Beers, a national security aid to four presidents who is now president of the National Security Network. "According to the president's own measure, his surge strategy is a failure and the political situation appears to be getting worse. Our troops have done their jobs, now it's time for President Bush and the Iraqi Government to do theirs[but] one year after the surge was announced, the Bush administration appears to have no strategy and no end in sight."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid noted that while President Bush stubbornly clings to his flawed strategy, Al Qaeda only grows stronger. "Rather than unconditionally supporting an endless war the American people oppose, I strongly urge the president to work with Congress to redeploy our troops and refocus the mission in Iraq so we can more effectively fight the war on terror," he said.

In the near term, there is little reason for optimism, as the Brattleboro Reformer recently editorialized. "Nearly five years after the United States invaded Iraq, the country remains a basket case. It is no closer to recovery than it was in the spring of 2003. Time has been wasted and lives have been needlessly lost in pursuit of a vision of Iraq as a free-market paradise and a staging area for control of Middle Eastern oil. We fervently wish things will get better and that there will be a real government -- any government -- representative of the people that will bring economic and political stability. The surge was supposed to create the opportunity for this to happen. It hasn't yet and there are no signs that it will happen."

To read Senator Sanders' views on the war and what he thinks Congress should do, click here.

To read the Reformer editorial, click here.