Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-06) released the following statement today after President Bush announced his intention to increase U.S. military presence in Iraq:
“In determining our future course in Iraq, I believe we must focus on those issues that directly impact our vital national security interests, such as preventing al-Qaeda operatives from using Iraq as a base of operations and assuring that Iraq is a stabilizing force in the region. Other concerns, including the halt of sectarian violence between the Shia and Sunnis, are fundamentally internal Iraq problems and US troops should not be subjected to that crossfire.
Consequently, I support the President's call for more military resources being deployed to the Anbar province in order to assist the Iraqis in stamping out the Al-Qaeda presence there. But I have significant concern over sending more troops to Baghdad in support of Iraqi efforts to quell Shia-Sunni violence. Cessation of that turmoil is the direct and immediate responsibility of the Iraqis themselves. Our role instead should be to continue and, in fact, intensify Iraqi military training and help deploy Iraqi military and police forces so that Iraqis and their new government can assume full and complete control of their nation.”
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