Project 21 Press Release: Black Activists Comment on the Debate Over Troop Levels in Iraq

Now that President George W. Bush has formally announced that 21,500 more soldiers and Marines will be sent to Iraq, and some criticism has been raised by liberals in Congress, veterans who are members of the black leadership network Project 21 are speaking out.

The new leadership on Capitol Hill is suggesting it will not fund the President’s proposed troop surge.  On “Face the Nation” Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “The burden is on the President to justify any additional resources for a mission.  There’s not a carte blanche, a blank check for him to do whatever he wishes there.” Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has already introduced legislation to specifically require congressional approval for any troop increases in Iraq before funding is made available.

To follow are comments from Project 21 members regarding this debate:

Kevin Martin, U.S. Navy veteran:  “I think Speaker Pelosi is playing politics with the lives of our troops in Iraq, and her words and actions indicate she is beholden to the far left-wing ideologies of her partisan base.  The recent events in the War on Terror in the Horn of Africa show that – through direct cooperation and leadership – radical militant forces can be dealt with effectively to help secure our future.  It is long past the time for Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues to break the stranglehold that the hard left has over them and support victory through proper funding for our troops involved in the War on Terror in Iraq and elsewhere.”

John Meredith, U.S. Army veteran:  “The prosecution of war is a presidential prerogative, and Congress shouldn’t dictate to President Bush how many troops to deploy.  War is dirty work that needs to be taken seriously and conducted without mercy.  As a veteran, I personally think we should either send in the force that is needed to gain a decisive victory in the shortest amount of time or get out and declare that the Iraqis have ‘stood up.'”

Jimmie Hollis, U.S. Air Force veteran:  “Speaker Pelosi is essentially speaking out of both sides of her mouth.  I don’t trust her.  I also think this is about more than just the war in Iraq.  Historically, liberals such as her have loathed our military, and I am concerned about the well-being of our men and women in uniform.  I see this as only the tip of the anti-defense, anti-military iceberg now afloat in Washington.  The Cindy Sheehan crowd has become energized since November, and I don’t think Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues can stand up to them.”

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at


Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.