Thursday, August 23, 2007

Boehner Statement on National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report on security in Iraq:
“Today’s report confirms what Republicans have been saying about the successes of our troops in combating al Qaeda in Iraq and underscores the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal. In fact, the report states very clearly that changing the mission of our troops right now, as Democratic leaders have proposed, would ‘erode the security gains achieved thus far.’ The fact that Democratic leaders continue to push for precipitous withdrawal despite the significant progress our troops are making shows just how deeply invested they are in failure.

“The NIE report also confirms what Republicans have been saying about political reconciliation. The ‘bottom-up’ progress we’re seeing in provinces like Anbar and other Iraqi towns are positive steps, but we must see further evidence of reconciliation at the national level. House Republicans have said all along that it’s critical for Congress to listen to the commanders on the ground. That remains the right approach, and we will await the report from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in the coming weeks.”
NOTE: Following are excerpts from some key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate:
“There have been measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation since our last National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in January 2007. The steep escalation of rates of violence has been checked for now, and overall attack levels across Iraq have fallen during seven of the last nine weeks. Coalition forces, working with Iraqi forces, tribal elements, and some Sunni insurgents, have reduced al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s (AQI) capabilities, restricted its freedom of movement, and denied it grassroots support in some areas.”

“Perceptions that the Coalition is withdrawing probably will encourage factions anticipating a power vacuum to seek local security solutions that could intensify sectarian violence and intra-sectarian competition. At the same time, fearing a Coalition withdrawal, some tribal elements and Sunni groups probably will continue to seek accommodation with the Coalition to strengthen themselves for a post-Coalition security environment.”

“Iraqi Security Forces involved in combined operations with Coalition forces have performed adequately, and some units have demonstrated increasing professional competence.”

“We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI from establishing a safe haven would erode security gains achieved thus far.”

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