Let me start by going through
a timeline and then get to what the president said.
In May 1, 2003, the president
declared it was a major -- end of major operations. Then he sent
John Hamre to Iraq. John Hamre was undersecretary of defense
in the Clinton administration. And he found all kinds of problems.
He said: You got three months, three critical months to get this
thing under control if you want to control the security; 12 months
at the most, but three months are crucial, the first three months.
He said small things like sewage
and water and things that a lot of people don't pay attention
to -- I pay attention, because in my district that's important.
But a lot of people paid no attention to that report.
I went there -- now this was
July that Hamre made his report and it was a very prescient report.
I mean, it was a very accurate report about the predictions of
what was going to happen. And we have a copy of it here for you.
In August 16th, I went to Iraq,
from August 16th to the 20th. When I came back, I said to Secretary
Rumsfeld: We require immediate attention of body armor. They
said they were prepared. They said they had what they needed.
Forty thousand troops didn't
have body armor. They needed armored Humvees. They needed jammers
and Kevlar blankets they asked for. This was all levels of people
in Iraq at the time.
And then I wrote to the president
on September 4th and I said, "I believe you have miscalculated
the magnitude of the effort we are facing. We should energize,
Iraqitize and internationalize this effort."
And we have copies of that
letter in there.
Then we had the $87 billion
supplemental in October of 2003.
I said on the floor that I
felt the most important part of that supplemental was the construction
money. A lot of people voted against it because they didn't think
we should be spending money in Iraq for construction when Wolfowitz,
Assistant Secretary Wolfowitz, had said: It's going to be paid
for by oil money.
So a lot of people opposed
it on the floor, but it passed handily.
Then I went back to Iraq and
I told Ambassador Bremer, General Sanchez and General Odierno
and the young general that was their public relations guy, "You
guys are way too optimistic about this. You're not being honest
with the American people."
They took umbrage. I got some
nasty letters, as I usually do when I say something like this.
Now, you remember, I wrote
to the president in September 4th of 2003. I got a letter back
in April 6th, 2004. The president didn't write back. I received
a response from a deputy undersecretary -- paints a totally rosy,
unrealistic picture, saying 200,000 Iraqis -- now, hear what
I'm saying -- 200,000 Iraqis under arms, reconstruction projects
and 70 percent of Iraqis feel -- or 2,200 reconstruction projects
-- 70 percent of Iraqis feel life is good.
The irony is that this was
the month with the most U.S. deaths; 137 were killed. But that's
what they wrote to me.
Then we have Abu Ghraib that
Now I said to the secretary
of defense: You have got a shortage of people in specialty, MOS
specialties, that's a military specialist. We had truck drivers
who couldn't back up a truck. We had security guards who weren't
trained in security at all. We had National Guard security people
without radios -- couldn't talk to the front, the back of the
convoy, endangering their lives.
We got radios over there and
we tried to address this very problem. And we had a press conference.
Nancy Pelosi and I did. We said, "the military's overstretched
and there's poor planning." And I said at that time I did
not think we could win this militarily.
I got a lot of criticism. DeLay
got up on the floor and said I was a traitor. What I said to
him, publicly, I won't tell you.
Now, here's the way I measure
progress. The president said we got slow progress. We want to
help the government of Iraq -- this is the State Department --
provide essential services, crude oil production.
Now, the green line you see here is the goal -- and they got
charts here that you can get copies of. This is what we actually
had in oil production.
Now, you remember, Secretary
Wolfowitz said, we're going to have oil -- going to pay for this.
And this is all we've gotten. We didn't get up to prewar level
in oil production.
Today they said we're making
I can only measure progress
by what I see and the things that I can actually measure, not
by what they say are brigades and so forth and so on.
Now, water production: We put
$2.1 billion into water production. They're short of water all
over the country. And they have only spent $581 billion -- or
Now, that's why Hamre's report
was so important. You had to get this insurgency under control
immediately. You had to win the hearts and minds of the people.
That's the key in a guerrilla-type war.
This is electricity overview.
This is the demand. The yellow line is the demand. The red line
is the prewar level. And you can see that occasionally you got
up to prewar level. That's the way I measure progress.
Now, there's one other area
where I measure progress, and that's incidents. Incidents have
increased fivefold in the period of time that -- well, a year
ago. A year ago there were five times less than today.
And at Abu Ghraib -- now, again,
we didn't have the right people in the right kind of specialties.
We didn't have them trained. So at Abu Ghraib, we had people
untrained that were taking care of prisoners. And you see the
result of that.
The secretary offered to resign
at that time. I would have accepted his resignation, because
I think this was a Defense Department responsibility. And we
had many other (inaudible).
Right now, GAO says in a report
of November -- November? -- November -- we have 112,000 shortages
in critical MOSs. Now, what are those shortages?
Number one, they're in demolition
experts; number two, special forces people; number three, intelligence
experts, which are absolutely essential; and fourth is translators.
Now could there be any more
important specialties than that? And we're short in every one
of those fields.
And you know what? We're paying
someone to go into the Army. When I was in, they paid $72 a day.
I volunteered in the middle of the Korean War. They are now paying
$150,000 for somebody that's in special forces, in one of the
specialties, in order to get them to re- enlist.
They missed their goal. And
one of the biggest reasons that I'm so concerned about this --
and I talk to the military all the time -- is the future of the
military. They missed their goal in recruiting by 6,600 this
But you have to look at that,
because there's a retention, there's a stop-loss, plus the problem
that we had with the people not in the right specialties. And
they enlisted people in the higher levels who were probably going
to enlist anyway that they wouldn't normally have re-enlisted.
They have lowered the standards.
They're accepting 20 percent last year in category four. Now,
this is a highly technical service we're dealing with, And yet
they lowered the standards to category four, which they said
when we had the volunteer army, that would eliminate all the
Now, let me tell you the major
problem we have. You heard the president talk today about terrorism.
Every other word was "terrorism."
Let me separate terrorism from
insurgency. When I was in Iraq in 1991, president -- or King
Fahd said to me -- this was an early morning meeting, like two
or three o'clock in the morning, when he normally met with people
during the air war.
And he said: Get your troops
out of Saudi Arabia the minute this war's over. You're on sacred
ground. You're destabilizing the whole region. I reported that
back to the State Department and, as you know, we didn't get
our troops out of there. We left our troops there.
Bin Laden said he attacked
the United States because of the troops in Saudi Arabia. That's
terrorism. Terrorism was in London. Terrorism was in Spain. Terrorism
was, obviously, in the United States.
That's completely separate
from what's going on in Iraq. Iraq is an insurgency. At one of
the hearings early on, Secretary Rumsfeld denied there was an
insurgency. He said it was a gang of something or another. But
they wouldn't admit that they were having real problems over
there. They kept being unrealistic, illusionary about what was
going on in Iraq.
One of the major problems we
have in fighting an insurgency is the military and the way they
fight. And I adhere to the way they fight. They send in massive
force. They use artillery, they use air and mortars. And they
kill a lot of people in order to suppress fire and protect our
military. I'm for that.
But it doesn't make you any
friends. That's part of the problem. For instance, in Fallujah,
which happened about the same time -- the first Fallujah happened
about the same time as Abu Ghraib -- we put 150,000 people outside
their homes in Fallujah.
If you remember in Jordan,
the bomber said that the reason she became a bomber was because
two of her relatives were killed in Fallujah. We lost the hearts
and minds of the people.
Hamre said: You've got three
months to win the hearts and minds of the people, to get this
under control, to get the looting and so forth under control.
We didn't do that. There's
been poor planning from the start by the Defense Department.
The Defense Department fought to keep this planning under their
control. State Department had entirely different reasons for
wanting it. And we even voted in the House to give it to the
And finally, in conference,
we had to agree to let the president make the decision. He made
the decision to give it to the Defense Department.
Now, in an insurgency and nation-building
-- what did President Bush say when he ran for office the first
time? "We are not into nation-building. And we're not into
nation-building because of the way our military has to operate."
It's that simple. We've got to go in and level the place, destroy
a place. And when we destroy a place, we lose the very thing
that's absolutely essential to winning the insurgency.
Now, let's talk about terrorism
versus insurgency in Iraq itself. We think that foreign fighters
are about 7 percent -- might be a little bit more, a little bit
less. Very small proportion of the people that are involved in
the insurgency are terrorists or how I would interpret them as
And we don't have enough troops
to guard against the border. The generals in charge of that part
of Anbar said, "I don't have enough troops. They've given
me a mission to protect against the Syrian border. I don't have
enough troops to do that."
They have never had enough
troops to get it under control. They didn't have enough troops
for the looters. And they haven't had enough troops ever since
then to get the place under control.
But the key elements, as I
see it -- you heard him say that 70 percent of the Iraqis were
satisfied, in that paper they sent me. Now, you'll see a document
that's in this package here that told me six months before --
well, in the victory document he says we have 212,000 people
trained now, Iraqi security people. Last year, we had 96,000.
Yet, they wrote to me six months
before the last year's statement that said they had 200,000.
Now, why don't I believe them when they say anything? They said
we got weapons of mass destruction. They said we got an Al Qaida
connection. They said we got nuclear weapons. They said we cross
this red line which surrounds Baghdad and we're going to have
a war with them.
Eighty percent of the people,
according to a British poll reported by the Washington Times,
says we want the United States out; 77 percent of the people
in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt say there's a better chance
of democracy if the United States is not there because we're
considered occupiers; 45 percent of the people in Iraq think
that it's justified to kill Americans. They even had an official
communique that says it's justified to attack Americans.
So in this country, when I
made my initial proposal to redeploy the troops and to make a
diplomat effort and the only way I think this will work -- I
don't think you can continue to draw down the way they're talking
about. They're going to withdraw. There's no question they're
going to withdraw. I predict a big proportion of the troops will
be out by next year.
But the problem is they're
just as vulnerable. The biggest vulnerability we have in Iraq
is the convoys. Every convoy is attacked. When I was in Anbar,
at Haditha, every single convoy was attacked that goes there
to bring the logistics and supplies that they need. That's the
most vulnerable part of our deployment.
And if you have half the troops
there, you're going to still have to supply them, resupply them
on the ground and they're going to be attacked.
When I said we can't win a
military victory, it's because the Iraqis have turned against
us. They throw a hand grenade or a rocket into American forces
and the people run into the crowd and they -- nobody tells them
where they are.
I am convinced, and everything
that I've read, the conclusion I've reached is there will be
less terrorism, there will be less danger to the United States
and it'll be less insurgency once we're out.
I think the Iraqis themselves
will turn against this very small group of Al Qaida.
They keep saying the terrorists
are going to control Iraq -- no way. Al Qaida's only 7 percent
of the people in Iraq and doing this fighting. The terrorists
-- there's several factions, but let's say Al Qaida is 7 percent
at the very most.
Iraq will get rid of them because
they'll tell the Iraqis where they are and it will be the end
of the terrorist activity.
Now, my plan says redeploy
to the periphery, to Kuwait, to Okinawa, and if there's a terrorist
activity that affects our allies or affects the United States'
national security, we can then go back in.
I'm not talking about going
back in if there's civil war, because we're in a civil war right
now. We're caught in between a civil war right now.
And with that I'll end and
answer any questions you may have.