MEDFORD, MA -- The Office of U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) today issued the following statement to correct the record on his vote to bring the Iraq War to an end last Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Rep. Markey’s vote has been mischaracterized by the Smedley Butler Chapter of Veterans for Peace:

“Rep. Markey met with Veterans for Peace for approximately ninety minutes on February 21, 2007.  He made it clear during this meeting that he believes we must find a way to bring the Iraq War to a close as quickly as possible.  Rep. Markey indicated that if the supplemental budget request came forward as President Bush requested, it would be just another blank check to continue the war in Iraq, and he pledged to vote against it.   However, Rep. Markey stated very clearly and unequivocally that he reserved the right to vote for a bill that places meaningful conditions on the President’s request which include concrete steps to dis-engage from Iraq, redeploy, and bring our troops home.  Those present at the meeting fully understood that Rep. Markey, in signing the pledge to vote against the Bush Iraq Supplemental, had fully reserved his right to vote for a Democratic alternative.  Some members of Veterans for Peace did not like that at the time, and said so.  They fully understood what the agreement was.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Goldshlag has chosen to pretend that he didn’t understand, and is embarked on an effort to mischaracterize Rep. Markey's vote on the Iraq Supplemental as a vote for the War and inconsistent with the pledge Rep. Markey made on February 21st.  This mischaracterization has been made despite what Rep. Markey very clearly stated at the time he signed the pledge.  In fact, the conditions and deadlines contained in the bill that Rep. Markey voted for last week are so tough that only 2 Republican House Members supported the measure and President Bush himself has threatened to veto the legislation.

"Most serious opponents of the war recognize that the House bill provides the best means of bringing our troops home quickly.  That is why the House-passed bill was supported by, the Council for a Liveable World, the Friends Committee on National Legislation and many other national peace organizations that have been leading the fight to end the war in Iraq.  These organizations supported the House-passed bill because they recognize it to be the best means to end the war.  The bill requires the President to certify to the Congress that certain tough benchmarks of progress are being met by the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.  If these benchmarks are not met, then U.S. troops must begin an immediate withdrawal.  In addition, even if the benchmarks have been met, the bill requires a U.S. withdrawal to begin no later than March 1, 2008 and finish no later than August 31, 2008."

March 26, 2007

CONTACT: Joe Dalton