The following text is the floor statement made today by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) on the Iraq Resolution Disapproving of Escalation:

Madame Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution.

 This debate marks the beginning of the end of an ill-conceived, mis-managed, and ultimately failed War in Iraq. 

The war in Iraq was launched on the basis of false and misleading intelligence about a non-existent nuclear weapons program. 

--When the inspectors looked for nuclear weapons in all the most likely places, there was nothing there. 

--When they looked in all the unlikely places, there was nothing there. 

--When this was reported to the world, the world said “don’t invade.” 

--But when this was reported to the President of the United States, he chose to invade Iraq.

In other words, the President did the OPPOSITE of what the evidence would dictate.

Here we are 4 years after the invasion. 

--The American people looked at the facts on the ground in Iraq, and voted In November to de-escalate. 

--The generals looked at the situation and said de-escalate. 

--The Iraq Study Group analyzed our options and said we should de-escalate. 

--So what has the President of the United States decided?  Against all the evidence, he has chosen to escalate the war. 

Once again, our president is doing the OPPOSITE of what the evidence and common sense dictates. 

Our troops continue to fight heroically to prevent Iraq from sliding into anarchy, but they are losing ground to a deep, emotional, cycle of religious strife and revenge that goes back fourteen centuries. 

Our soldiers cannot be beaten on the military battlefield, but neither should they be faulted for failing to drain a political swamp.

The American people are now speaking out with one clear voice, in frustration and in anger, demanding change, demanding a New Direction in Iraq.

But the President isn’t giving us a New Direction! All he has to offer is more of the same – an escalation of our troop presence in Iraq.  And this escalation ignores the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which said that “all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq” by the beginning of 2008.

This week, we have a choice.  We can say NO to the President’s failed war in Iraq, we can say NO to the President’s escalation, and we can say NO to the unnecessary loss of another American soldier, Marine, or airman.  Or, we can once again vote to stay the course and continue on with this failed policy.

Many Americans have expressed frustration that the resolution we will vote on this week is a non-binding resolution, and I understand that frustration.   On January 9th, Senator Kennedy and I introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to block President Bush’s new plan to escalate troop levels in Iraq.  Our legislation would prevent the obligation or expenditure of a single dollar to increase the number of troops in Iraq, unless Congress affirmatively voted to do so. 

But I would not dismiss this resolution’s importance simply because it is non-binding.  Twenty-four years ago, this House took up another non-binding resolution when it first debated my Nuclear Freeze resolution.  We passed the nuclear freeze on the floor of the House.  It was non-binding, and it never passed the Senate, but it nevertheless changed the course of this nation’s nuclear weapons policy.   It did so because of the pressure it put on the White House to change.  And it was followed by binding legislation that halted tests of anti-satellite weapons, cut funding for Star Wars, and cut in half the planned size of the MX missile force.

That is why I fully understand why some Republican members have simultaneously denounced this resolution as “silly” and “unserious,” and at the same time have tried to prevent its passage.  Why are they afraid of a non-binding resolution?  Because this resolution exposes the lack of support in the Congress for the President’s escalation scheme. 

The Administration’s failed strategy has already ended any chance of a successful short-term outcome.  The just-released, deeply pessimistic National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq simply confirms this situation.

 We are in the middle of a sectarian, religious civil war in Iraq right now, and the presence of our troops is preventing the Iraqi people from taking responsibility for their own security and for their own political solution that must follow.

This war should never have been fought.  Period.  It was a mistake, the American people know it was a mistake, our military leaders know it was a mistake, and a bipartisan majority in the United States Congress knows it was a mistake. 

Let’s pass this resolution, and send a strong signal to the Bush Administration that it is time to stop the escalation, bring this war to an end, and bring our troops home.

I urge adoption of this Resolution.