WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) prepared the following remarks on the Supplemental Appropriations for the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:Madam Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I come to the Floor today to debate funding for President Bush’s war in Iraq, yet again, as more innocent Americans and Iraqis fall victim to a horrible and debilitating violence that has not only torn Iraq apart, but threatens the stability of the entire Middle East.

We should not be having this debate at all, because the President should have changed course long ago.  The President has had so many opportunities to reevaluate his policies in Iraq that his failure to do so can only be explained by an absolute unwillingness to admit that he has made a grave mistake.  He continues to act as if nothing is wrong, even as Baghdad burns and the body count of dead Iraqi civilians and dead American troops continues to rise.  He continues to send more troops to Iraq even as the Army, Marines, and National Guard are all straining to the breaking point.  He continues to ignore the will of the American people who want an end to this war, even as public opinion turns ever more decisively against his failed war policy

Madam Speaker, it is far past time for a new direction in Iraq.  The American people do not want to be there, and the Iraqis do not want to have us there.  Only the President and his dwindling cadre of head-in-the-sand advisors believe that the United States is on the right course in Iraq.

I am tremendously disappointed that the President, in the face of the utter collapse of his policies in Iraq, refuses to change course.  I supported the first supplemental bill we passed this year for a simple reason: it contained language to force an end to this disastrous war.  But in his legendary stubbornness and his inability to see reason, the President vetoed that bill.  I also supported the House version of the second supplemental appropriations bill, because that bill established strict benchmarks for progress by the Iraqi government and military and required the President to certify that progress to the Congress, or else face a cutoff of funds to pursue the war.

But the supplemental that we will vote on today does not require the troops to come home, and does not establish strict benchmarks to ensure accountability, and for these reasons I will oppose it.  But today’s vote does not end the effort in Congress to end the war.  There will be future votes, and I believe that as the public continues to make its opposition to this war clear, there will be continued pressure on the White House and on Congressional Republicans to change course.  We will end this war eventually, but today I must oppose this appropriations bill because it fails to take the steps needed to advance the goal of bringing our valiant troops home.