Mr. Speaker, in listening to this debate, I think the biggest problem is the proponents of the stay-the-course plan in Iraq continually and completely equate the battle in Iraq with the battle against al Qaeda and the terrorists who struck us. The two are not the same. In fact, we heard from Ms. Ros-Lehtinen that Iraq is but one of the battlefields that we are fighting against al Qaeda. That is absolutely true. Yet we have 80 percent of our assets in Iraq. Meanwhile, report after report come out that al Qaeda is strengthening themselves in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we don't have enough resources.
Our argument is not for retreat. Our argument is that there is a better way to fight al Qaeda and those who threaten us than to put all of our assets in Iraq while not paying enough attention to where al Qaeda is really strengthening itself. In Iraq, it is primarily a power struggle in which al Qaeda is a player. It is not primarily about al Qaeda's threat against the U.S. In Afghanistan, with the Taliban and al Qaeda, it is a very different story.
Our troops, our assets, the lives and the talents of the people of this country are tied down in Iraq fighting what is primarily a civil war instead of better fighting al Qaeda. In fact, our presence, in many ways, has strengthened al Qaeda. Syria would never be an ally of al Qaeda in any sort of real-world scenario, because al Qaeda wants to topple their regime. Yet to defeat us in Iraq, they have come up with an alliance of convenience.
There is a better way to fight al Qaeda. We are here today to change course in Iraq because it is a better way to protect this country. Timing isn't the issue. Six months ago, these facts were basically the same as they are today. In September, these facts will be basically the same as they are today. We cannot wait if we are going to have the best possible strategy for defeating al Qaeda, the group that threatens us most, instead of getting bogged down in the civil war and in the tribal differences that are present in Iraq. We want to win, not to quit. This is the better way to do it.