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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

H Res 861, Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this resolution as the chairperson of the 72-member Out of Iraq Caucus of the House of Representatives. Tomorrow will mark the 1-year anniversary of the Out of Iraq Caucus.
My colleagues and I joined together to form the Out of Iraq Caucus to pressure the Bush administration into telling the truth about what is going on in Iraq, to admit their mistakes, and to admit their misjudgments, and to force them to devise a plan to bring our troops home.

The Bush administration cannot deny that they misled the world about the reasons we invaded Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was no connection between the unfortunate destruction of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. We have not been welcomed with open arms in Iraq. We have no substantial support for this war by other countries. Yet, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, Ms. Rice, Mr. Wolfowitz, and Mr. Karl Rove continue to squander the American taxpayers' dollars on a war that cannot be won with a military solution.

Here we are 3 years later, 2,500 American soldiers dead, 18,498 U.S. soldiers seriously injured, and Congress has appropriated over $320 billion for this war, and the costs will only continue to rise. Even Condoleezza Rice admitted there have been thousands of missteps. The American people are increasingly aware of this mismanaged, corrupt, and bungled war.

The company that Vice President Cheney served as CEO of, Halliburton, has been awarded no-bid contracts for billions of dollars, and they have had over $400 million in unsupported costs and another $1 billion in questioned costs. In simple words, they are cheating the American people. Yet they are not being held accountable for their criminal actions, and the administration has facilitated these illegal actions.

However, Congress has done virtually no oversight of this war, no hearing, no acknowledging the generals that are trying to tell us about Mr. Rumsfeld's mismanagement of this war. We have not done the oversight, and today, we find that we have this debate. It is not sufficient, nor has it been properly characterized. This resolution we are debating is a sham.

As a matter of fact, it is a trap. It is an attempt to force Democrats to sign on to a resolution that will do nothing to bring our troops home. Oh, they want to make us sound as if we are unpatriotic. They want to make us sound as if we do not support our troops. We love our troops. We are as patriotic as anybody, and so I would implore my colleagues not to get caught into this trap.

This resolution is not intended to solve any problems or chart a new course that will permit us to preserve the lives of our troops or to be successful in Iraq.

I know what is happening. My friends on the opposite side of the aisle are getting frightened. They went home on the break, and they heard the American people. They saw the polls, and they came back with a Karl Rove-constructed resolution to try and make it seem as if now they get it. But this resolution does nothing. It will only continue to mislead.

We formed the Out of Iraq Caucus to oppose any permanent bases in Iraq. We support H.J. Res. 73 to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq, commonly referred to as the Murtha resolution.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what the Murtha resolution is. So let us take a minute and explain clearly what the resolution says.

Section 1 says: "The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date." They would have you believe this is meant to withdraw immediately. That is not what it says, and let us get that straight today. What that means is there will be no more U.S. troops sent to Iraq and that the troops in Iraq will be redeployed as soon as possible, a judgment that should be made by military officials on the ground. So stop misrepresenting what this resolution is all about.

Section 2 says that "a quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region." That means a group of marines will remain in the Middle East to respond to threats that destabilize our allies in the region or the national security of the United States.

Section 3 says: "The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy." This war cannot be won through military means alone. We must put the full weight of the United States behind diplomacy in order to end bloodshed in Iraq.

The Murtha resolution endorses these principles, and there is no reason why the entire Congress of the United States cannot get behind this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, the Out of Iraq Caucus supports the Murtha resolution as the clear plan for America. We support bringing our troops home, and stop saying we do not have a plan. We have a plan. It is a good plan. It is the Murtha resolution.