Washington, DC – Today House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Marty Meehan (D-MA) commented on recent news reports that a new Joint Campaign Plan for Iraq was close to being finalized.
“General Petraeus has been put in the unenviable position of having to correct four years of Administration mistakes,” Skelton said. “If this article is accurate, this latest Joint Campaign Plan seems to be the most well-grounded of a series of strategies for Iraq. I look forward to Congress having an opportunity to review the plan itself as soon as it is completed.”
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee formally requested the Joint Campaign Plan in March. The 2006 plan was submitted to the Committee today.
“We understand that this is the precursor to the strategy currently being drafted. We have also been promised that as soon as Secretary Gates approves the new strategy, it will be provided to us. This will enable us to move forward with our report on the development of the Iraqi Security Forces,” Meehan stated.
“General Petraeus seems to agree with Congress that ultimately success will depend on getting Iraqi politicians to make real and substantive efforts to reconcile,” Skelton noted.
“But as good as this sentiment may be, it all comes down to the same reality—the Iraqis are not showing the commitment to make any strategy succeed. They have not made any real progress on reconciliation to date and some of the same Iraqi politicians charged with implementing this plan seem to be pursuing sectarian agendas,” Skelton added. “The Council of Representatives may even be taking an extended vacation this summer, further reducing chances of reconciliation in the near future.”
“In the face of such realities, I have deep concern that the new strategy, no matter how well-designed, will have no greater likelihood of success than the failed strategies of the past,” concluded Skelton.
Meehan continued, “I would also like to note my concern with the apparent leak that led to a Washington Post reporter being briefed on this material before Congress was. I am confident that the Department of Defense will examine this matter to determine how it could have happened and to prevent it from happening in the future.”