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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Escalation of Troops in Iraq

August 5, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker and Members, I come to the floor of the House this evening in advance of the President's speech that is scheduled for, I think, 9 p.m. this evening, where the President is going to announce his new approach to dealing with the debacle that he has created in Iraq. He has coined it, ``New Way Forward.'' He has referred to it as a surge, but we all know what this is. This is an escalation.

The President of the United States is probably going to announce that the surge has already started. There are reports in the news already that about 90 advanced troops from the 82nd Airborne will arrive in Baghdad today, I believe. And so this so-called surge that the President has begun is one that is taking place without the support of the American people, without the support of many of the Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Americans, and elected officials, in particular, are sick and tired of being misled, of not being told the truth, and trying to explain to our constituents what this war in Iraq is all about. Americans, basically, have come to the conclusion that this war has been mismanaged, that they have not been told the truth, that there were no weapons of destruction.

Oh, there were promises made. We were told by Mr. Rumsfeld that we would be welcomed with open arms; we would be seen as the liberators. The Iraqis see us as occupiers, and they want us out of their country.

We were told that we didn't have to worry about the cost of this war because there would be profits from the oil in Iraq that would not only help pay for the war but it would help to reconstruct the damage that has been done to Iraq by the occupation.

Oh, we were told not only would we have oil resources that would repay or pay for some of this damage, we were told that enough troops were going to be, Iraqi troops were going to be trained and that the numbers were growing and that they would soon be able to take over the security of Iraq.

None of that has happened. As a matter of fact, what we are finding is that our troops are being deserted in times of crisis and confrontation by Iraqi soldiers, that they are being undermined, oftentimes, by Iraqi soldiers, and that our troops don't know a Shiite from a Sunni from a Kurd. And they are very much so in harm's way because they really don't know what they are fighting, why they are fighting and why they are in Iraq.

But this President plans on sending about 24,000 U.S. troops to Iraq. Five brigades of U.S. troops, about 20,000 soldiers will be deployed to Baghdad to suppress sectarian violence. An additional 4,000 troops will be sent to the Anwar Province to pursue insurgents.

Responsibility for security, he says, in all of the country's provinces will be turned over to Iraqi forces by November 2007. Oh, haven't we heard those kinds of promises before.

How can we put any faith in the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief, who first refused to send adequate numbers into the war? They were being told by their commanders and their generals that they needed more troops, but, no, Mr. Rumsfeld convinced, I suppose, this President that we didn't need it, and so we didn't send them. And now, at the 12th hour, we are talking about sending more troops.

It is too late. It is too late to have this escalation. We have lost. We have mismanaged. We have created an untenable situation, and there is a civil war going on in Iraq, and we can't manage it. We cannot undo the harm that we have created, and it does not make good sense to send our troops into harm's way.

Not only is our Commander-in-Chief sending more troops, the length of Army deployments will be increased from 12 months to 15 months. Marine deployment will be increased to 12 months from 7 months. In addition, the amount of time they spend at home to rest before returning to Iraq will be shortened.

Mr. President, mothers, fathers and families want their children and their relatives home.