Dean to Bush: You Forgot to Mention the 'Mounting Death Toll'

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - The head of the Democratic Party Tuesday accused President Bush of ignoring the death of the 2,000th U.S. soldier from injuries sustained in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said during the president's visit with military spouses at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., Bush "failed to mention the mounting death toll" and did not present a "clear" victory plan for Iraq. The Pentagon announced the official 2,000 death toll hours after Bush's speech was over.

"Today, our nation marks one of the saddest days of the war in Iraq, the loss of the 2,000th American soldier there. Each soldier lost on the battlefield leaves behind a family forever marked by tragedy, and scarred with grief. Their loss weighs heavily on the heart of every single American," said Dean.

"Today, we are united in reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice of the brave men and women in uniform and their families," Dean said. "Sadly, in delivering yet another speech about the war in Iraq that lacked a clear plan for victory, President Bush failed to mention the tragic milestone we mark today."

Dean used the occasion to call into question the president's leadership as commander-in-chief.

"This is not the type of leadership that the brave men and women serving in Iraq and their loved ones here at home expect or deserve from the Commander in Chief. Now, even though we have lost 2,000 servicemen and women and spent more than $218 billion over the last two years, just 800 Iraqi troops have been fully trained," said Dean.

"The need for a clear plan for victory in Iraq could not be more apparent," added Dean.

"Democrats believe Americans, particularly Americans serving our nation in the armed forces, deserve leaders who honor their sacrifice by making sure that our armed forces are never sent to war without a clear plan for victory and without the resources to carry out that strategy," said Dean.

"That is why Democrats are unwavering in our commitment to pressing President Bush for a clear plan for victory in Iraq. We will honor the service and sacrifices of our soldiers by continuing that effort," the DNC chairman concluded.

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