Senator Hart, General Gard, General Johns Call for Iraq Withdrawal

Washington, D.C. – Council for a Livable World released today a statement responding to this week's congressional testimony by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. President Bush is expected to endorse Petraeus and Crocker's policy recommendations in a prime time speech later this evening.

The statement was authored by former Senator Gary Hart, Lieutenant General Robert Gard (USA, ret.), and Brigadier General John Johns (USA, ret.). Hart serves as Chairman of Council for a Livable World, Gard is a Senior Military Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, and Johns is a Council board member.

Read the full statement online.

In response to General Petraeus's report of military progress in Iraq, the authors write: "The series of recent reports on the situation in Iraq add up to only one clear conclusion: while there has been some limited success in recent months, there is little if any prospect of resolving the insurgency anytime in the next decade, if not longer."

To those who point to potential disasters if the United States withdraws from Iraq, the authors respond: "The situation in Iraq already is a disaster, both for the American military and for Iraqi civilians. Continued engagement in Iraq's civil war distracts the United States from our more urgent missions in Afghanistan and enhanced homeland security, stretches the U.S. military to the breaking point, inflicts psychological scars on returning veterans and breaks up their families, causes mounting American casualties, increases the drain on the U.S. treasury, and erodes our stature in the world."

The presence of American forces is worsening the situation in Iraq, according to Hart, Gard, and Johns. "The uncertain future of Iraq cannot be accurately addressed while the primary problem remains uncorrected. As long as the United States remains, nothing can be resolved."

"It is time to put a conclusion to this sad adventure and to withdraw American forces in an orderly but expeditious manner," the authors conclude.

Read the full statement online.