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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

H Con Res 63, the Iraq Resolution

August 5, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Madam Speaker, I rise as Chair of the 76-member Out of Iraq Caucus, and I will be followed by many other members during this hour. I rise in support of our troops and in support of this resolution opposing the President's escalation of this war.

Madam Speaker, I support this resolution, hoping this will be a first step in ending this war and reuniting our troops with their families and loved ones. This is an unbinding resolution. The real test for this Congress is going to be whether or not we will continue to fund this war.

For nearly 4 years, our troops have served bravely and admirably in Iraq. Unfortunately, the President and his administration have decided to pursue a political agenda when it decided to push for an invasion of Iraq. The President ignored the advice of dozens of experts inside and outside the government about invading Iraq. For example, the administration ignored the intelligence community's opinions about the status of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. The administration also ignored recommendations about the number of troops needed to secure Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein. In addition, the President and the administration ignored warnings about the difficulty and danger of occupying Iraq and that Iraq would likely break down into sectarian violence.

In short, the administration ignored everything that conflicted with its plan to invade Iraq. Unfortunately, no one has borne the burdens of the administration's Iraq narrow agenda more than our troops and their families. The decision to escalate the war, to send more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq, will only increase the burden on our troops. Many of the troops serving in Iraq have served two, three, even four tours of duty. And of course the failed Iraq policy has resulted in the death of 3,109 U.S. troops, including 325 from my own State of California, and injury of more than 23,000 others.

Madam Speaker, many experts believe that the President's latest plan will not work, and early indications support that conclusion. About 5,000 troops have arrived in Baghdad since the President announced the plan in January, yet the violence and devastation in Iraq is increasing. It is estimated that more than 2,276 Iraqi civilians have died so far this year and that more than 1,000 Iraqi security forces and 33 U.S. servicemen have died in just the past week. We are sending thousands more troops to Iraq in what is now known to be a civil war. Sending more troops to Iraq is not the answer. The key to stabilization is bringing our troops home and renewing our commitment to diplomacy.

This resolution is the first step in reining in this President and his misguided policies. However, as many have noted, this is, again, an unbinding resolution. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the war, spending bills that will be considered in the coming months to enact meaningful changes to this failed policy and to finally bring our troops home. The future of the entire Middle East is at stake.

The President does not appear to understand or appreciate the situation in Iraq is deteriorating each day. We are losing; however, we can win. And we will win by using leadership to engage and unite rather than attempting to overpower and conquer. Who are we fighting? The Sunnis, the Kurds, the Shias? Who are the insurgents? Some Sunnis, some Shias, some Kurds? Who are the terrorists? Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Syrians, Iranians? Who are we fighting? I don't think our soldiers know, and I am not so sure this administration has really given the kind of deep thought and consideration as to who we are really fighting.

Diplomacy is the only answer. Today, we must oppose this escalation. However, I have no choice but in the final analysis to oppose continued funding of the American taxpayers' dollars to the war giant whose appetite cannot be satisfied, but in the interest of peace, must be denied.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Click here to see a video clip of the speech.

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