Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement on the Pentagon’s decision to extend Army deployments from 12 months to 15 months.  Smith is chairman of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee.

"This is hard news for our Fort Lewis soldiers and families.  They should know how proud we are of their service. My office stands ready to help them in any way and I hope they and their families will contact me if we can be of any assistance.

"They should also know that Congress is doing everything we can to get them the tools, equipment and training they need so they can finish their extended tour safely and come home to their loved ones."

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after voting for H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 218 to 212.

“This bill is an important first step to get the President to change course in Iraq.  The American people have made it absolutely clear they want a new direction, but the President wants ‘no strings attached’ funds so he can pursue the same failed policies in Iraq.  The time has come to acknowledge that we will not stay in Iraq indefinitely.  This bill provides a responsible blueprint for the redeployment of our troops to better fight the war on terror.

“Our bill will also put pressure on the Iraqi government to meet the benchmarks the President enumerated months ago.  It gives our leaders in the field leverage they need to force Iraqi politicians to commit to a just accommodation among the warring factions in Iraq. 

“I support this legislation, and I strongly believe it will help lead to a better course of action by our nation in Iraq and in the broader war against Al Qaeda and their violent totalitarian ideology.”

 

On Friday, March 9, U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) fought to change the Bush Administration’s flawed Iraq policy and provide Congress with a plan to responsibly redeploy our troops.  Smith and Tauscher introduced a bill that would terminate the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and allow for a new vote on a different mission for our Armed Forces.  In addition, it would require the President provide a plan for redeployment of our troops in Iraq and to step up political and diplomatic pressure to end the Iraq crisis and meet key Iraq Study Group recommendations.

The Smith-Tauscher bill would:

  • Terminate the existing authority for the use of force and allow for a new vote on the mission in Iraq;
  • Require a plan from the Defense Department to redeploy our troops for a mission that includes counter-terrorism, force protection, and training Iraqi troops;
  • Require the President appoint a Coordinator for Iraq Stabilization to organize regional cooperation to stabilize Iraq; and
  • Tie funding for Iraqi security and reconstruction beginning in 2008 to the President’s certifying that the Iraqi government has met specific benchmarks they have committed to.

“The situation in Iraq has changed since we first authorized the use of force against Saddam Hussein.  We must alter our Iraq mission to one acceptable to the American people, but in order to do that, we need military planners to begin planning the redeployment of our forces.  Our bill would allow us to set a new mission, force the Defense Department to craft a plan to redeploy our troops, and require the President engage in vigorous diplomacy to help settle the Iraq crisis,” Smith said.

The Smith-Tauscher bill has the support of key House Democrats, including:

  • Artur Davis  (D-Ala.)
  • Joseph Crowley  (D-N.Y.)
  • Jane Harman (D-Calif.)

Smith and Tauscher chair subcommittees on the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for authorizing funds for our military.  Smith chairs the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.  Tauscher chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. 

“Our bill fits well with the supplemental appropriations measure introduced by House Democrats.  This bill, however, focuses on the underlying authorization for the war, rather than the appropriation of money for it.  Both are good first steps.  We have to keep pressure on the President to change his failed Iraq policy,” Smith said.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) today requested Secretary Robert Gates share with Congress any Defense Department contingency plans for the failure of the President’s troop increase strategy in Iraq.  Smith chairs the terrorism subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee.

The Washington Post reported on March 5, 2007 that the Administration has “no … backup strategy for Iraq.”  Last month Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he “would be irresponsible if I did not have people looking at contingencies in the event this does not work…”

The letter states: “… whatever one’s opinion on the [troop surge] plan, it is critical that Congress have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through the remainder of the year.  This must include knowledge of alternative options and contingency plans for our military.”  Full text below.

Smith believes:

  • backup plans are necessary to support our Armed Forces in the event that the President’s troop increase in Iraq fails to produce desired results;
  • lack of such plans would indicate a serious failure on the part of the Defense Department; and
  • Congress must have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through this year. 

Further, Smith believes we must change the mission in Iraq to one acceptable to the American people and that benefits our national security interests.  Military planners with proper expertise must begin planning for redeployment.  Smith hopes this letter will help pressure the civilian leadership of the Defense Department to order military commanders to do so.

Full text of Smith and Skelton’s letter to Defense Secretary Gates:

Dear Secretary Gates:

As the new Secretary of Defense, you have been tasked with helping bring greater stability to what has become an increasingly turbulent Iraq.  We acknowledge the enormity of that challenge and seek to assist you in every way possible.

As such, we believe it is important to identify the alternatives to the President’s current plan for Iraq.  In your testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in February, you indicated that the Department was preparing military contingency plans in the event that the troop increase plan does not yield results in the next few months.

We write to formally request that the Department of Defense share with the Committee the range of contingencies under consideration and discuss with us the possible options for dealing with them.

As you may know, we disagree with the President’s decision to increase U.S. combat forces in Baghdad by over 21,000 troops.  But whatever one’s opinion on the plan, it is critical that Congress have a realistic understanding of what our troops may need through the remainder of the year.  This must include knowledge of alternative options and contingency plans for our military. 
 
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request and for your continued service to the country.

Sincerely,

Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee

Adam Smith (D-WA)
Chairman, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s assertion that “if we fail in Iraq, the enemy will follow us home.”  The President offered this false dichotomy in a speech today to the American Legion. 

“The President wants us to believe that his Iraq policy is the only thing keeping terrorists in check.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the President’s flawed Iraq policy is feeding a fresh wave of terrorism across the globe.  Following our invasion of Iraq, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide per year has grown more than 600 percent.  The President’s flawed Iraq policy drains military and intelligence focus from the central front in the war on terror – the Pakistan/Afghan border – and it inspires terrorism worldwide,” Smith said.

According to a study by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank published on March 1, 2007: “The rate of terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups and the rate of fatalities in those attacks increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the average fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, which accounts for fully half of the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks in the post-Iraq War period. But even excluding Iraq, the average yearly number of jihadist terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities still rose sharply around the world by 265 percent and 58 percent respectively.”