Quotes From House Hearings on Iraq

Some quotes from lawmakers during Wednesday's House hearings on Iraq, which featured testimony from Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker:

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"We must approach Iraq by considering our overall national security. Iraq is clearly an important piece of that puzzle, but only one piece. ... Troops in Iraq or those in units recovering from being in Iraq cannot be sent to Afghanistan to hunt down bin Laden. Protecting this nation from direct attack is job number one, yet our allocation of forces does not match this imperative." - Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo.

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"It was 15 months ago when the president announced the surge. And even before - even a few days after it had been announced, some members of Congress were declaring failure of this increase in American forces going into country. And yet, I think by all metrics, it's been a success." - Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

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"The cost of our deployment is not the determining factor in deciding how we size our forces or how long we stay engaged there. But when the cost is $600 billion and rising, and there's no exit sign in sight, it has to be a consideration." - Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.

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"All of us want to see further gains, even though I would certainly argue there has been a substantial amount of progress over the past 12 months or so. All of us, myself included, are disappointed in the Arab neighbors who definitely need to do more on their own behalf and in terms of their own security. ... And if that were all that were afoot here, I think each and every one of us would vote to bring our forces home as quickly as we could physically do that." - Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y.

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"A key Iraqi leader with whom I met defined national reconciliation this way: Moderate Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders coming together across sectarian lines as Iraqis to join hands so that they could get things done for the benefit of the whole country. ... Gentlemen, the American sacrifices involved in creating the space for reconciliation have not brought us there yet. We haven't seen much progress." - Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.

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"We must continue to base our Iraq policy not upon short-term domestic political considerations, but upon our enduring national security interests in Iraq and indeed throughout the Middle East. We must consider the consequences of our policy decisions and recognize that immediate disengagement would only embolden the forces of radical Islam and leave an enormous power vacuum in Iraq." - Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

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"The reasons that we've gotten into this mess, and you could check them off from finding weapons of mass destruction, check; to getting rid of Saddam Hussein, check; to regime change and check it all the way down to a constitution, to an elected parliament, the people talking to each other. It seems that we've achieved all of our goals, and every time we do that a new goal comes up, and now we're stuck on reducing the ethnic violence" - Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y.

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"One area of this administration's Iraqi policy that I, quite frankly, have found wanting is in not insisting that a considerable amount of the cost of rebuilding Iraq be paid from Iraqi oil reserves, you know, rather than from the American taxpayer." - Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.


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