Pelosi Criticizes Plan to Leave Forces in Iraq

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - Ahead of Gen. David Petraeus' report to Congress on the situation in Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the general for supporting sustained troop levels.

"Recent reports - the National Intelligence Estimate, and the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and Jones Commission reports - all document the widespread failure of the Iraqi government to meet critical political reform benchmarks set by President Bush himself in January," she said in a statement on Friday.

"September has been heralded by Republican lawmakers as the "moment of truth" for the president's stay-the-course strategy for the war in Iraq," she said. "In the last two weeks, three key reports have been released assessing the Bush Administration's war policies - all underscoring the country's staggeringly high level of violence and the paralyzed state of political reconciliation."

Pelosi added, "The stay-the-course strategy by General Petraeus and the president to leave all troops in Iraq has been rejected by the American people."

"We need a new direction in Iraq that will protect our troops, promote stability in the region, and make America more secure," she said. "The American people are tired of this kick-the-can approach and are demanding a new direction in Iraq."

"Democrats stand with the American people and are committed to bringing our troops home safely and soon," Pelosi argued. "It is time to refocus our nation's efforts on fighting the real threats of terrorism around the world."

But House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized Pelosi for remarks about Petraeus.

"In recent days, as the success of our troops in Iraq has become more apparent to members on both sides of the aisle, some congressional Democrats have resorted to a desperate strategy - when you don't like the message, attack the messenger," he said.

"Defaming and impugning the integrity of a commanding, four-star general as he returns from the front lines of war is reprehensible, and Democratic leaders should put a stop to it at once," said Boehner. "These comments do a disservice to the tens of thousands of American military families whose loved ones are under his command and serve no constructive purpose whatsoever in moving our troops closer to victory in Iraq."

He noted that Petraeus' testimony is a "defining moment for this Congress, and every member has an obligation to listen to General Petraeus with an open mind."

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