WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), will speak on the House floor in strong opposition to the resolution on the War in Iraq. The statement below is as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this Resolution.
The Resolution before this House today engages in a rhetorical fiction. The Republican Leadership has grafted into this Resolution language which confuses the War in Iraq with the War Against Terror. Iraq did not have anything to do with the September 11th attacks. We did not invade Iraq because of 9-11. We invaded Iraq because the Bush Administration convinced Congress and the American people that Saddam Hussein had acquired nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and might use them.
The terrorism now taking place in Iraq is the direct result of the war, not its cause. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the facts.
The fact is, this war was a very bad mistake. The Administration launched an invasion into Iraq in March of 2003 even though the Administration knew from the reports it was getting back from the IAEA and the UN inspectors that there where no nuclear or other WMDs at the sites identified by the CIA, by British Intelligence, and by other sources.
Now we are bogged down in a quagmire with no end in sight
In February of this year, the President was asked when we could expect all American troops to be out of Iraq, and he replied that this was a decision for a future President and a future Iraqi government to make. In other words, if we continue to pursue the Bush Administration’s policies, we will likely have troops deployed in Iraq until at least January of 2009 – that’s nearly three years from now!
What has been the cost of this war in terms of blood?
According to Pentagon figures this month, 2,500 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the launch of the invasion. Another 18,490 American troops have been wounded.
A London-based human rights group called Iraq Body Count recently estimated that between 38,000 and 42,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of the war, killed by insurgent attacks or operations by U.S. and coalition forces.
What has been the cost of this war in terms of treasure?
At the beginning of the War, Paul Wolfowitz suggested that the war would be self-financing, and would essentially pay for itself out of Iraqi oil revenues. That’s turned out to be spectacularly untrue. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has appropriated nearly $320 billion to carry out the costs of fighting this war, funding Iraq reconstruction and development, and supporting war-related VA medical expenses.
Just think of all the good we could have done if we had devoted $320 billion to improving the health care system in this country, to improving the education of our children, and to strengthening our nation’s competitive infrastructure.
What has been the cost in terms of America’s reputation, prestige and influence around the world?
American’s reputation and prestige and been seriously harmed by this war – first by the lies and flawed intelligence that were used to take us into the war and then by the way we have prosecuted the war itself.
Our government’s reputation and credibility have been harmed when the Bush Administration:
· “cried wolf” over non-existent Iraqi WMDs, over alleged connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda;
· allowed chaos and the growth of the insurgency by failing to deploy enough troops to occupy Iraq and by disbanding the Iraqi Army,
· put inadequately trained troops into situations that they were not fully prepared for and with ambiguous directives that led to the black eye of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses.
· kept troops deployed in combat zones for extended periods until they reached their breaking points, resulting in the black eye of the Haditha massacre.
It’s time to pursue a new direction.
Instead of passing a resolution vowing to stay on in Iraq for the indefinite future, we need to move towards bringing our military occupation of Iraq to an end.
Our continued military occupation of Iraq only stokes the fires of the insurgency. We need to give full sovereignty back to the Iraqi people. We need to move our military forces into more of a supporting role for Iraqi efforts to establish security and self-governance.
As this occurs, we should – as soon as possible – redeploy an increasing percentage of our forces to an over-the-horizon presence, as the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha) has suggested in the legislation he introduced last year.
We should not be planning on maintaining any military bases in Iraq or any long-term troop presence in that country.
It is time for us to bring this war to and end, and to bring our troops home.
Vote NO on this resolution because it is as much a fraud as the reasons the Bush Administration gave for invading Iraq in the first place.
I urge defeat of the Resolution.
For Immediate Release