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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Iraq Watch

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Thank you very much. I would like to thank the gentleman from Connecticut not only for his leadership in the caucus, but for his leadership on Iraq Watch. The work that you have been doing and that which you do tonight, bringing us here to the floor, to continue this discussion, to continue this debate and to focus on what is wrong with the leadership at the White House is extremely important work; and I thank you for it.

I am also pleased that we had so many Members come tonight. I am pleased that the members of the Out of Iraq Caucus, who have been for over a year and a half trying to make this a real priority in this Congress, I thank you all for this evening.

Let me just remind the Nation of these facts: As of today 2,671 soldiers are dead, American soldiers killed in Iraq; 20,113 injured in Iraq. The total cost of the war, more than $318 billion. And it will cost approximately $370 billion by the end of the year. The cost of the war per month at that rate is $8.4 billion per month. The cost per week, $1.9 billion. And every day we are spending $275 million a day.

Now this war has been raging for more than 3 years. We know now, and even the President cannot even pretend that he does not know that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Iraq war has taken resources away from the finding and punishing of those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For example, the administration pulled Arabic speaking Special Forces teams who were hunting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and redeployed them to Iraq. Because resources have been diverted from Afghanistan, and the administration has been distracted by the Iraq war, Osama bin Laden is still free, and the Taliban has regrouped in Afghanistan.

Violence in Afghanistan is going on every day, and much of it certainly is attributed to the Taliban. This year more than 2,300 people have been killed in Afghanistan, including 151 who have been killed in suicide bombings; 276 U.S. servicemembers have been killed in Afghanistan, and nearly 1,000 more have been injured.

Let's talk about, for a minute, the growth of the poppy seed, the main ingredient of heroin is also growing. The U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crimes say opium cultivation rose 59 percent this year to produce a record 6,100 tons of opium, more than 90 percent of the total world supply. The U.N. estimates that the revenue from this year's harvest will exceed $3 billion.

In wrapping up, let me just say that last night on CNN they tracked from Afghanistan the heroin that went by way of Nigeria into the United States, into Chicago and into my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. They tracked it. At one time we thought that heroin was simply going into Europe. It wasn't coming into the United States.

But now we know it is, and to add insult to injury, Mr. Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, who is supposed to be our friend, who we are giving monetary support to, has wrapped his arms around the Taliban and created a contract and an agreement with them that if you don't attack us we won't bother you.

We are depending on Mr. Musharraf, knowing that not only has he entered into this contract, but he knows what's going on on that border between Pakistan and Afghanistan where they protect Osama bin Laden, where they protect al Qaeda, and now they are protecting the Taliban.

What are we in for here? The President of the United States has misled this country. We are in trouble, and he has placed this country at great risk. We are at greater risk now than before 9/11. It is time for the leadership of the Congress of the United States on both sides of the aisle to say enough is enough. I commend you for helping to develop us so we can get to the point where we can proudly all join hands together on both sides of the aisle and stop this misdirection of this President and this administration.