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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Bring Our Troops Home Now

August 5, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday I participated in a rally and march here in Washington, DC, on the Mall, organized by United for Peace and Justice. United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of over 1,300 groups from all over this country.

Citizens came from near and far. They came by car and bus and train and plane to urge this President and this Congress to end the war in Iraq. They were young. They were old. They were rich. They were poor. They were every age, every ethnic group, all religions, all with one message: Bring our troops home now.

There were six Members of Congress who were present there, and we thanked all of the people who attended for caring enough to come to Washington, DC, to spend their money to urge their government to end this war.

Mr. Speaker and Members, this was democracy at work. It was a beautiful day. People were in high spirits. We walked. We sang. We chanted. And we literally said we love this country, we love our soldiers, and we want the best for our people.

We were joined by many veterans. There were several veterans groups there. But the most moving and touching part of this march was the mothers who marched with us, and they had signs. Some of them had signs of their sons who had been killed in Iraq. Some of them brought the message that they had paid a huge sacrifice and they did not wish Americans to continue paying this high price for a war that we should not be in.

This is a war that it is easy to be against, because we were led into this war under false pretenses. There are no weapons of mass destruction. We have been told that we would be greeted with open arms. We were told that we would be seen as the liberators. None of that was true. We are occupiers, and they want us out of Iraq. It is not simply that the Sunnis want us out of Iraq. It is not simply that the Shiites want us out or the Kurds want us out. They all want us out of Iraq.

This was a wonderful weekend because not only did we march and we rallied, but the marchers came to Capitol Hill and they lobbied their legislators. They knocked on their doors. They came from all these towns and hamlets and cities all over America to talk with their legislators. This truly was democracy at work.

And today we filled 1100 Longworth, the Ways and Means room, where we had a forum with 11 book authors who have written about the war in Iraq, what is wrong with it and why we should get out, and did we have a discussion. It was one of the most beautiful discussions with highly intelligent authors who have done research, who have put a lot of work into producing these books. And they shared with us in a very profound way what they knew and why they had decided to take a part of their lives to stop and write about what is wrong with our being in Iraq.

So this was a wonderful weekend. This has been a wonderful time. I keep saying this is democracy at work because this is what the Constitution is all about. It is about participation of the citizens.

The citizens of this country are sick and tired of this war. I don't know why the Members of Congress are allowing the citizens to get way ahead of them. They elect us to come and represent them. They think that we have the resources to know what is going on. We give a lot of money to our intelligence agencies. We should be able to tell the people what is wrong and what is going on in Iraq. But, instead, they are ahead of us; and they are urging us to stop this war.

But, in the final analysis, they know everything about what we are doing. It is not enough to talk the talk. You have got to walk the walk. They know the difference between nuancing and posturing, and they want action.

And they know that we are about to have a resolution over in this House that will disagree with the surge, the escalation that is being advocated by this President. But they also understand that we can't stop that, that the President has already started to resend soldiers. These are not new boots on the ground. These are soldiers that have done their tours, that have been sent back a second and third time, and they say that is not enough.

They will know whether or not we mean business if we are prepared to stop funding this war.

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