Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, testified before a House committee Friday that President Bush's proposed troop surge places too much emphasis on military action and depends too heavily on unreliable leadership within the country. NewsHour reports on Hamilton's testimony.
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Former Congressman Lee Hamilton was back on Capitol Hill today to talk about the president's plan to send 21,500 more American troops to Iraq.
It was the first time a member of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by Hamilton, has testified since the president announced his plan last week. The former Democratic representative from Indiana said the U.S. effort to train Iraqi troops should be paramount.
LEE HAMILTON, Co-Chair, Iraq Study Group:
Training, in our view, cannot become the primary mission for U.S. forces in Iraq if the mission includes a stepped-up security mission in Baghdad. If you do both, the training mission is going to suffer.
In its report last month, the Iraq Study Group called for focusing the U.S. effort on supporting and training Iraqi security forces and withdrawing American combat troops by early next year. Today, Hamilton reiterated the group's recommendation that the U.S. condition its support on the Iraqis meeting firm benchmarks on controlling sectarian fighting.
In the absence of pressure, the Iraqi government will not perform. In the absence of pressure, there will be no national reconciliation. In the absence of national reconciliation, there will be sectarian violence without end.