Third Way Releases New National Security Report with Clark, Reid, Other Senior Congressional Leaders
Washington: Third Way today issued a new report analyzing the Bush administration’s record on national security. The report was released at a press conference in the Capitol with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, retired General Wesley Clark, Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Carl Levin, and founding Third Way Co-Chair Senator Thomas Carper. In The Neo Con: The Bush Defense Record by the Numbers, Third Way analyzed available data across seven key national security indicators: Iraq, terrorism (broadly defined), Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, the condition of the American military, and China. The report finds that the numbers lead to an indisputable conclusion that incompetence and a failed strategy have “helped lead us to this dangerous situation.”
Sharon Burke, Director of the Third Way National Security Project and principal author of the report, said in her remarks at the event: “We believed that it was time to take a hard look at our national security situation, with the United States at a crossroads in Iraq and facing enormous challenges in that region and around the world. We’re also five and half years into the administration of George W. Bush, and that’s a good time to take a look at the President’s results. Third Way set out to measure whether President Bush is making America safer. And the answer is no, based on our analysis.”
The Neo Con analyzed the Bush administration’s promises against the publicly available data in seven categories, and in each they were found lacking. Some of the findings include:
- Iraq: The numbers show that the security situation is deteriorating rapidly – a chart shows that the number of average weekly attacks has risen steadily since the invasion, and the estimated number of insurgents in the country has gone from 5,000 in 2003 to more than 20,000 in April 2006. The report also compares the cost of Operation Desert Storm to the estimated costs of the Iraq War ($61.1 billion in 1991, compared to $549 billion-$1.27 trillion today). And the data show that indices of Iraqi quality of life have plummeted and our alliances have suffered significantly under the Bush Iraq policies.
- Terrorism: Despite the Bush claim that his administration had “arrested or otherwise dealt with” much of al Qaeda’s command structure, the estimated number of al Qaeda members has jumped from 20,000 in 2001 to 50,000 today, worldwide attacks are up sharply, and 86% of national security experts believe that the world is more dangerous for Americans today.
- Afghanistan: The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly – the data in the report show that number of Taliban attacks rose from 22 in 2001-2003 to 251 in 2004-2006, and the numbers continue to rise. Moreover, as recent news reports confirm, the unrest and Taliban resurgence have helped the country’s opium production to hit all-time highs.
- Iran: The data show that Iran’s nuclear program has made significant progress during Bush’s terms in office.
- North Korea: Similarly, the data show that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have skyrocketed – they may have had one nuclear weapon in 2001, but experts are fairly certain they have between 3 and 9 today (and the ability to make many more), combined with a rapidly moving missile production system.
- The US Military: The data show that the Bush stewardship of the military and the Iraq War have had serious dilatory effects on readiness and the overall state of the military, especially the Army, National Guard and Reserves.
- China: While Bush has been focused on Iraq and elsewhere, China has become a powerful regional broker, our largest creditor and an ally of some of our most serious enemies.
Burke concluded that “across the board, the numbers are troubling. They just don’t match the tough talk coming from the President, the Vice President and other members of the administration. The numbers don’t lie – the Bush strategy is not working.”
Contact: Matt Bennett (202) 775-3768 x212