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Press Release


Third Way Lauds Levin-Reed Iraq Amendment

Group Calls to Replace Administration’s ‘Duck and Spin’ with Tough and Smart

Washington: At a press conference this afternoon, Senators Reed and Levin, along with co-sponsors Feinstein and Salazar, announced an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill that would shift U.S. policy in Iraq away from the open-ended commitment of the Bush Administration. The amendment involves a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq beginning this year, and it requires that the President submit a plan for continued redeployment by the end of 2006.

Third Way President Jonathan Cowan issued the following statement:

“We support this amendment because we think it brings us closer to victory in Iraq. It replaces the Administration’s policy of ‘duck and spin’ with one that is tough and smart.

“From the beginning of the war, President Bush and his Administration have talked tough, but they haven’t been smart about Iraq. They have made innumerable mistakes, but their greatest failing has been going to war without a plan for success. Incredibly, more than three years after the invasion, they still don’t have one.

“We applaud Senators Levin, Reed and their colleagues for this thoughtful, responsible attempt to fill the gaping hole left by the absence of presidential leadership on Iraq. This amendment rejects both extremes in the debate over the future of Iraq – on the one hand, it requires that the Administration finally develop a plan for Iraq that is more than just staying the course with an open-ended commitment of American blood and treasure. On the other, it discards calls for an immediate exit or for arbitrary timelines that ignore the danger to American national security of a precipitous withdrawal of our forces from Iraq.

“Indeed, this amendment is a clear and sensible continuation of the policy endorsed by a substantial bipartisan majority of the Senate this year. This measure would move the earlier bill to the next logical step, given the situation on the ground in Iraq.

“That it has fallen to Congress – and in particular to members of the minority party – to lay out a strategy for success in Iraq in the face of Administration inaction is a sorry statement about the Bush Administration and about the congressional majority. How is it possible that in three years of failed leadership on Iraq, the congressional majority has provided so little oversight? How is it possible that no Administration officials have been held accountable for their misadventures and missteps in Iraq?

“It’s time for a change. The Levin-Reed amendment is a good first step. We hope that the same spirit of bipartisanship that we saw in the vote on the US Policy in Iraq Act will once again prevail and that this amendment will be adopted.”

Contact: Matt Bennett (202) 775-3768 x212

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