Menendez: 'Benchmarks Without Consequences Are Just Aspirations'

Menendez: 'Benchmarks Without Consequences Are Just Aspirations'

Meeting with reconstruction inspector general underscores need for meaningful benchmarks

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released a statement following his meeting with Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

"I have been calling for benchmarks with consequences even before the Bush administration took our country into an elective war in Iraq. It was clear from my meeting with Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, that he too understands that we must have real benchmarks that hold the Iraqis accountable.

"The Iraq Study Group recommended that if the Iraqi government didn't make progress towards milestones 'the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government.' Yet this administration has chosen to increase our forces in Iraq despite a lack of progress in the region. Even more disheartening is that the president's current escalation plan still does not hold the Iraqis accountable because it outlines benchmarks, but offers no consequences. The Congress and the American people are therefore understandably skeptical of yet another plan that lacks teeth, when these plans have failed in the past.

"Benchmarks without consequences are just aspirations. Furthermore, wishes should not be the foundation of our Iraq policy. I am pleased that Special Inspector General Bowen also sees the need for meaningful benchmarks, and I hope that we can implement an effective system to hold the Iraqis accountable. Only then will we start to see positive change in Iraq."

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