Menendez: Gates' Willingness To Delay Troop Draw-Down Shows Administration's Intent To Leave War To Future Generations

Menendez: Gates' Willingness To Delay Troop Draw-Down Shows Administration's Intent To Leave War To Future Generations

Defense Sec., while in Baghdad today, said he is leaning toward halting withdrawals

Washington - Today in Baghdad, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he is leaning toward halting the draw-down of American troops in Iraq once U.S. forces hit the 130,000 troop level.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who recently returned from a trip to Iraq, released the following statement:

"I suspect that what we're seeing is part of an effort by the White House to kick the can down the road by maintaining the stay-the-course strategy through the end of the Bush presidency. By refusing to change course, they will be passing off this war and its consequences for future generations of Americans to deal with and they will be undercutting our best chance for peace. My recent trip to Iraq confirmed for me the idea that having 130,000 troops entrenched over there as a national police force does not bring that country any closer to peace and reconciliation, nor does it help our nation's security, military readiness or fiscal outlook. The best chance for long-term peace will come if the Iraqi government and security forces take charge, but they will never feel the urgency to do so until they actually believe that we will not be there forever as a crutch."

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