Recent Press Releases

U.S. must reject artificial withdrawal timelines, Thune tells Senate

Senator reports on visit to Iraq, heralds U.S. troops’ bravery

February 15, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  In his second speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator John Thune today said that Iraqis are making progress towards self-defense, but the U.S. must reject artificial timelines for withdrawal.

“We should not attempt to impose an artificial timeline on this goal,” Thune said. “Instead, we should focus on a conditions-based schedule that allows for a responsible transfer of responsibility from American to Iraqi troops. Our Generals support that concept, not arbitrary deadlines. When the conditions are right for us to leave, we will know and so will a free and sovereign Iraq.”

Thune also told his colleagues of the bravery he witnessed when visiting U.S. troops in Iraq on February 5.

“I cannot say enough about the sacrifice and dedication of our troops. Their professionalism and devotion to duty are truly inspiring,” Thune said. “To those who know it best, our military’s might is not defined only by its sheer fire power, but by the individual soldiers who all play their part in making a multi-faceted operation like this possible.”

Last weekend, Thune welcomed home from Iraq the 2nd Batallian, 147th Field Artillary of the South Dakota National Guard. Thune told his colleagues that the South Dakota troops performed their mission effectively and honorably.

“Our National Guard and Reserves are also playing a critical role in Iraq,” Thune said. “Three days ago I was honored to be able to welcome home the 2d Battalion, 147th Field Artillery of the South Dakota National Guard from Iraq. These citizen soldiers put their lives on hold for over a year to provide critically-needed support. They performed their mission effectively and honorably, and I applaud their selfless sacrifice.”