Jan 9, 2006
Press Release

November 30, 2005


Washington, DC—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today listened to the President’s Naval Academy address on the Iraq War in preparation for her Emergency Speak Out on the War tomorrow, December 1, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm in the Cannon Caucus Room, Room 345 Cannon House Office Building, First and C Streets, SE. 

Norton expressed criticism of the President’s remarks in the statement below, but she said that “his address provides an ideal backdrop for tomorrow’s Speak Out.” She will ask her constituents: 1) Should the U.S. get out of Iraq, and if so, how and when, or should we stay the course in light of the repercussions that a pullout might bring, and 2) with controversial spending cuts to be voted on next week when Congress returns, what should be our national budget priorities at home in time of war? Norton will ask residents to fill out a short survey on the war and on domestic spending priorities rating them from the most important (1) to the least (8). 

The Congresswoman said: “The Iraq War is the subject de jour throughout the city, but residents will have no vote on any resolutions that may be forthcoming next week. Many also will want to respond to the cuts in programs due to be voted on next week, and the additional round of tax cuts mostly benefiting the wealthy and corporations. The least I should do is encourage people who pay taxes without voting representation to voice their opinions, and then try to respond in their name when Congress returns to do the most important work of the year next week.”  The full text of the Congresswoman’s statement follows.  
“Today, the President sought to convince the American people that we are making progress in Iraq that they have not seen.  Many will be left wondering how the progress he described amounts to the ‘national strategy for victory’ he claimed. In his speech today on the Iraq War at the U.S. Naval Academy, President Bush gave us helpful details on ongoing operations, but little detail about a victory strategy to satisfy the growing national loss of confidence in his war strategy. Faced with falling poll numbers, the President was compelled to come forward with more details following an overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate Resolution (79-19) calling for a ‘significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty’ and particularly after Marine Vietnam Combat veteran Jack Murtha (D-PA), Ranking Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and an early supporter of the war, called for a timetable and gradual reduction. 

“Absent from the President’s talk were milestones with the content and substance necessary to give the  Iraqis incentives concrete enough for them to understand that they must soon accept the sacrifices now borne by our troops. Instead, the ‘stay the course’ message was revamped by simply dividing victory into three stages, all of which amount to withdrawing when the Iraqis are ready.  As a result, we may well be fostering dependence by not being as tough on the Iraqis as we are on our troops and on ourselves. 

"Most disappointing was the President’s failure to face the most important challenge to U.S. military operations since World War II: 1) that a small insurgent force can sustain a war against a major military power, and 2) that we have created a conundrum in Iraq because the presence of American troops in the Middle East is itself a special provocation that creates new armies of terrorists that endanger the United States and our troops everywhere in the world.”