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November 19, 07

NEWS / As Hidden Costs Of Iraq War Climb, Casey Calls On President, Republicans To Join In Changing Course

Washington, DC—Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania delivers this week’s Democratic Radio Address. As the costs of the Iraq war climb to astronomical heights, our military is reaching its breaking point and America’s priorities are being neglected. President Bush continues to pursue a flawed policy, but Democrats are working to hold the Administration accountable and change course in Iraq.

The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:

“Good morning, this is Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania. As millions of us gather with our families this week to enjoy Thanksgiving, more than 170,000 brave young Americans will spend their holiday in Iraq. They will face the chaos of another country’s civil war, just as they do every day. They will face hatred they did not create and sectarian violence they cannot possibly resolve. They are doing a remarkable job. A heroic job.

“But the Iraqi leaders are not holding up their end of the bargain. When President Bush announced his ‘troop surge’ earlier this year, he said the purpose was to provide Iraqi politicians with the breathing space to meet political, economic and diplomatic benchmarks. But even the President’s own Administration officials admit that this has not happened, nor has any real progress been made. That means our troops are fighting for a peace that we seem more interested in achieving than the Iraqi politicians do themselves.

“And as the Iraqi leaders drag their feet, the cost of the war – to our troops, to our national security, and to our treasury – keeps rising. What are those costs? We can put a number on some of them: More than 3,800 American lives lost, including 178 in my home state of Pennsylvania, who gave what President Lincoln called ‘the last full measure of devotion to their country.’ Tens of thousands more gravely wounded. According to a report from the Joint Economic Committee, of which I am a member, the total economic and budget cost of this war though next year is $1.3 trillion.

“Other costs of the war are harder to quantify, but no less important:

* the damage to our military, which top commanders say is stretched nearly to a breaking point;
* the harm to our troops and veterans, who have sacrificed so much for the President’s flawed war strategy;
* the priorities that have gone neglected here at home, such as health care for low-income children, police on our streets, and repairs to our crumbling infrastructure; and
* the loss of our ability to respond quickly and effectively to new global challenges that, as the situation in Pakistan reminds us, can arise overnight.

“With the cost of the war increasing every day, the need for a new course out of Iraq has never been clearer. Democrats have tried to set that course again and again this year, but each time, President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress have blocked us.

“Now, President Bush has asked for nearly $200 billion more to continue the war indefinitely, with no accountability. This request is unacceptable, and we are negotiating a way forward that will responsibly deploy our troops out of Iraq so that we can transition the mission to training Iraqis, protecting our forces and fighting terrorists. Our plan will also provide our troops with the training, equipment and rest they need, and ensure that our government treats enemy combatants in accordance with the rule of law. We respectfully ask you to support our plan and to urge your Member of Congress to stand with us.

“Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. We are all blessed that despite great odds and grave challenges, our men and women in uniform continue to serve us with uncommon valor. We hope and pray that next year, many more of them will be able to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Democrats in Congress will continue the fight to make that happen.

“This is Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania. Thank you for your time and I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving.”



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