Butterfield comments on Iraq study group

“For the last three and a half years, our military has bravely fought a war in Iraq and accomplished its mission.

“Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. Just as the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group suggests, the time has come for a change in direction in Iraq. I strongly applaud the recommendations to withdraw American troops and to shift the responsibility of clamping down on sectarian violence to the Iraqi government.

As deaths and injuries continue to mount, with over 2,900 confirmed American deaths and more than 46,000 serious injuries, it is clear that continued military action is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region. We have reached the point where we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. All Iraqis must know that Iraq is free and that the U.S. will not be an occupying force.

This war has placed a great strain on our military and their families. Some troops are on their fourth and fifth deployments. Military personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in healthcare. Further strain will leave the country unprepared for the wide range of threats that exist. At a cost to the American taxpayers of nearly one billion a week, we simply will not have the resources needed to be adequately prepared for the wide variety of future threats our country will inevitably face.

The men and women of our armed forces have done everything we’ve asked of them and they have accomplished all that is possible militarily in Iraq. America must continue the fight against terrorism where it exists, but the time has come to begin bringing our soldiers home.”