Reaction to President George W. Bush's presidential address on Iraq:
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole:
“To succeed in Iraq, it is clear that we need a new plan, as the president acknowledged this evening. I am encouraged that the president’s plan requires the Iraqis to play a much greater role in the stabilization of their country and that his plan is more comprehensive than simply increasing the number of U.S. troops.
“The status quo in Iraq is not acceptable. Mistakes have been made, but I strongly believe that we can and must succeed. The current security and political situation in Iraq is difficult, but a precipitous withdrawal would guarantee defeat and would have catastrophic implications for the security of our country and the stability of the Middle East region."
U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge:
"I strongly support our soldiers and their families who have done so much for America. Unfortunately, the president's reported plan to send more troops to Iraq will likely be ineffectual and the decision appears to be based on more politically inspired denial. The gross mismanagement of the war is indefensible, and it is time for a new direction.
"The President should follow the recommendation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and lay out a long-term strategy to secure Iraq based on a region-wide approach, so that we can bring our troops home.
"I have serious concerns about the effectiveness of the proposed troop escalation in Iraq. Our military is already stretched thin, and senior military leaders reportedly oppose a troop surge. Past troops increases have failed to end the violence in Iraq.
"Congress must fulfill its oversight duties to examine the aministration's record on Iraq policy and thoroughly consider the president's proposal as well as credible alternatives. The American people want a new direction in Iraq, not more of the same 'stay the course' political rhetoric."
N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek:
"Tonight, President Bush offered only an escalation of the same failed Iraq strategy he's pushed for four years.
"The American people, and the thousands of brave men and women from North Carolina who continue to serve in this war, deserve a new strategy not a new PR campaign. Now, by sending more troops into the middle of the Iraqi civil war, the president is ignoring the lessons of history, the advice of military experts, the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and the will of the American people.
"Tonight, I call on North Carolina's Republicans in Washington to join Democrats in opposing President Bush's irresponsible escalation of this war. It is time for Republicans like Robin Hayes, Patrick McHenry, and Richard Burr to stand up for our brave troops in combat by holding the president accountable and demanding a new direction in Iraq that turns the country over to the Iraqis and gets our troops out of the Iraqi civil war."
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr:
"I have always believed we must succeed in Iraq. Failure is not an option. We owe it to our troops and to the Iraqi people to remain committed to supporting a free and stable Iraq.
"The Iraqi leadership must rise to the challenge—the world is watching. It is critical for the Iraqi government to take immediate steps to disband the sectarian militias and death squads, pass key oil-sharing legislation, and hold provincial elections.
"I support a temporary surge in U.S. troops provided those troops are given a clearly defined mission and achievable military objectives.
"Our success in Iraq will define the security of our children as well as generations to come.”
U.S. Rep. David Price
"Tonight, the president announced a course that has been rejected by our military leaders, rejected in Congress and rejected by the American people. The real solution in Iraq — if it's not already too late — will be political and diplomatic, not military. We do need a new direction in Iraq, but the president failed to offer one tonight.
"The president is finally claiming that our commitment in Iraq is not open-ended, but the message his policy is sending to the Iraqis is exactly the opposite. Our occupation of Iraq is simply unsustainable, and the only responsible option is to bring it to end.
"The president also made a pledge tonight to confer in good faith with Congress. The coming days are likely to put that pledge to the test. They will put Congress to the test as well, as we consider how to utilize the means at our disposal to change our country's course."