Harry Reid on The War in Iraq

Last Updated : Sep 03, 2010

Summary

Senator Reid voted in favor of authorizing the war in Iraq.  He has opposed all war related efforts since then.  He pronounced the war lost in April of 2007 and claimed that the President knew it was lost.  He was opposed to the surge and claimed that if failed numerous times.  He stated that he would not believe General Petreaus if the General claimed that the surge was working.  Later, Senator Reid made confusing statements alluding to his input altering the course of the surge.  Senator Reid advocated a phased withdrawal when President Bush was in office.

 

The War is lost

On April 19 2007, Senator Reid gave a press conference where he stated that the war is lost, the surge is not working, and that he believed that the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense knew the war was lost.

 

In January of 2009, Senator Reid appeared on Meet the Press and was asked about these remarks.  At this time he claimed that what he meant was that the war could not be won "militarily" and that that after meeting with General Petreaus, the General made some changes to the surge strategy that altered the outcome.

 

Petreaus Statements

In response to Senator Reid's statements that the war is lost, Senator Arlen Spector stated that those types of statements were very demoralizing and not necessary.  Senator Reid was asked about that, and about the surge.  He replied that if General Petreaus came to Washington and told them that the surge is working, he would not believe him.

Q: Is there something to that, an 18 or 19 year old person, who is serving in Iraq, risking and in some cases losing their lives, hearing someone like you back in Washington saying that they are fighting for a lost cause?

Reid: General Petreaus has told them that

Q: You've talked several times about General Petreaus.  You know that he is here in town.  He was at the white house today sitting with the President at the oval office and the President says that he wants to make it clear that Washington should not be telling him, the commander on the ground in Iraq, what to do.  Particularly, the President was talking about Democrats in Congress.  He also said that Petreaus is going to come to the hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq that the so called "surge" is working.  Will you believe him when he says that?

Reid: No.  I don't believe it, because it is not happening.  All you have to do is look at the facts.

 

PTV Interview - 51 months

On May 4, 2007 -51 months into the Iraq war - Senate majority leader Harry Reid gave an interview to politics TV and stated that President Bush needed to change direction in the war.

 

Big Think interview

In May of 2008, Senator Reid answered a few questions for the Big Think about the war in Iraq.  He s

 

Senator Reid Helped Change Strategy in Iraq

In September of 2010, The National Review Online reported that Senator Reid's office had responded to requests for how the Senator explained claiming the war was lost just over a year before it was successfully ended. The response from Senator Reid's office was that Reid's pessimism helped to convince President Bush to pursue a different coarse in Iraq, an assertion that the article rejects.

According to the article, Senator Reid said the following about his statements:

However, the article goes on to point out that the timeline of events does not agree with these statements as the surge was already underway when Senator Reid made the declaration of defeat.

Voting Record

Repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq

In November of 2011, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed an amendment to the yearly defense appropriations act that would have repealed the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. The amendment failed 30-67 with Democrats equally split and a vast majority of Republicans opposing the measure. Harry Reid voted against repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Harry Reid voted against repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Phased Redeployment

On March 15, 2007, S J Res 9 was put forth in an attempt to convince President Bush to commit to timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill was titled "United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Phased Redeployment" and called upon the President to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 120 days of the enactment of the legislation, and to have all troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. The bill was defeated on roll call 75, which was largely among partisan lines with 1 Republican joining the Democrats and 3 Democrats joining the rest of the Republicans. Harry Reid voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Approval of the Surge Strategy

The second piece of legislation was S 574, and it came up for a vote on February 17 and had two main points of emphasis : the Senate continued to support the troops already on the ground in Iraq; and the Senate disapproved of the President\'s surge strategy. The bill only got 56 of the 60 votes required for cloture. 7 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation while only 1 Democrat sided with the Republicans. 10 Senators cast a "No Vote" (9 R and 1 D). (roll call) Harry Reid voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Harry Reid voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Approval of the Surge Strategy

On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced a "surge" strategy in which 20,000 additional troops would be sent to Iraq to bolster the troops already there. In February of 2007, the US Senate voted on two bills with the purposes of expressing the Senate\'s disapproval of this strategy. S 470 was the first such piece of legislation, and it came up for a vote on the Senate floor on February 5, 2007. Along with expressing the disapproval of the Senate towards the President\'s recently announced strategy, the bill also outlined a series of strategy suggestions for the President. These suggestions included the transfer of equipment to Iraqi officials, the continuing of operations in the Anbar province, and numerous other items. The bill only got 49 of the 60 votes required for cloture. Only 2 members of each party voted with the opposing party with almost all Democrats voting to disapprove the surge and almost all Republicans voting to approve of the strategy by refusing to allow the legislation a cloture vote. (roll call 44). Harry Reid voted against cloture on S470 and therefore supported the surge.

Harry Reid voted against cloture on S470 and therefore supported the surge.

To provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on an amendment by Senator Levin to require that all troops begin to be withdrawn within 90 days. The amendment also stated that the troops remaining in Iraq would only be there for the purposes of protecting US personnel and infrastructure. Harry Reid voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Harry Reid voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Dwell Time

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on a measure to require US servicemen be stationed at home for an amount of time equal to their deployment time. The measure received a majority of votes, but not the number required to pass. Harry Reid voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Contract Award Overview

Later in the year, the same amendment was introduced into the Senate by Senator Dorgan. This amendment has the same purpose and failed to achieve the needed votes by a simlar margin. Harry Reid voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Harry Reid voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Contract Award Overview

In 2005, a series of accidents at military bases in Iraq which were built by US contractors such as Halliburton, prompted Congress to call for investigations into the awarding of contracts. There were two ammendments introduced to separate pieces of legislation to attempt to accomplish the goal of investigating the contract awards process. roll call 228 concerned the Dorgan amendment, and was the first attempt to establish a special committee on the awarding of contracts in Iraq. The amendment failed by a narrow margin in a 53-44 vote. Harry Reid voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Harry Reid voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Authorization for the use of Force in Iraq

On October 11, 2002 the US Senate cast the first vote concerning the war in Iraq. This vote was to authorize the use of military force against Iraq (H J Res 114). Although the vote to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan was unanimous, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq passed 77-23. All but 2 of the 50 Republicans supported the legilslation while 29 of the 50 Democrats voted to authorize the use of force. Harry Reid voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

Harry Reid voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S J Res 9; United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Prime Sponsor

Directs the President to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all U.S. combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting U.S. and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Requires the President to transition the U.S. forces' mission in Iraq promptly to such purposes. States that such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq. Directs the President, not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act and every 90 days thereafter, to report to Congress on the progress made in such mission transition and force redeployment.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2633; A bill to provide for the safe redeployment of United States troops from Iraq. - Cosponsor

Directs the President to transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to the following purposes: conducting limited scope and duration operations against al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations; providing security for U.S. infrastructure and personnel; training and equipping Iraqi security services and U.S. forces; redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq. Exempts such activities from the funding and redeployment provisions of this Act. Directs the President to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. Prohibits funds from being obligated or expended to continue the U.S. Armed Forces deployment in Iraq as of 120 days after the enactment of this Act.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1077; Transition the mission - Cosponsor

Directs the President to transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to the following purposes: (1) conducting limited scope and duration operations against al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations; (2) providing security for U.S. infrastructure and personnel; and (3) training and equipping Iraqi security services.

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