(Cross posted from BoydaBloc)
After another report from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker before Congress, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's public statements seem to be very similar to the statements she made after their last update.
"When it comes to Iraq, I think everyone is rejoicing that we have increased stability," Boyda said. "The question is, what does that mean to our strategic readiness? What does it mean to our ability to defend our homeland?"
In a pair of articles in the Topeka Capitol-Journal and the Pittsburg Morning Sun, Boyda again called for a draw-down of US troops in Iraq- not necessarily for the preparations of total withdrawal, but so the ever worsening situation in Afghanistan can be address and our overall strategic readiness can be improved.
Boyda said military leaders were also increasingly concerned with the situation in Afghanistan. About 10 months ago, a National Intelligence Estimate reported that al-Qaida had regained its pre-9/11 strength in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"When we ask why we aren't addressing that more, we are told that Iraq is our number one priority," Boyda said. "But why and when did Iraq become the number one priority? It wasn't the number one priority on Sept. 12-13."
Boyda said she wasn't in favor of a large withdrawal, rather a slow and steady progression that would allow the U.S. to reset its military readiness. Boyda cited a quote from General George Casey, Army chief of staff, who said there was an "invisible red line" that would indicate the current operations can no longer be sustained.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said April 2, "I think we're close to (the red line) now."
"While everyone rejoices in some stability in the region, the questions are two-fold," Boyda said. "One, will we be able to stay and hold on to that stability and two, at what cost could we do it? It's clearly having an affect on readiness moving forward.
"We're on uncharted ground," Boyda said. "There's no doubt in my mind that if we had another 9/11-type incident, we would be able to have an overwhelming and immediate response. The Air Force and Navy are ready (to respond quickly). The problem is sustaining that response. That's what we're hearing from senior military leadership."
Readiness has always been Boyda's reason for backing calls for a draw-down of troops in Iraq, in every public statements she's made since taking office. The threat to our national security the War in Iraq has caused is becoming more and more real military officials, Members of Congress, and to the American people.
"We are in a volatile, dangerous situation," Boyda said. "The American people are waking up to the fact that having all our eggs in Iraq is not keeping us safer."
We're thankful for Congresswoman Boyda's dedication to keeping us all safe at home, and we're glad to see someone remember Iraq wasn't responsible for 9/11 and that we have allowed a very real threat come back to life in a different part of the world.