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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California


August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

I truly wish democracy for the people of Iraq, and I commend the people of Iraq on yesterday's election. However, to claim success is really premature. Our soldiers are still at great risk. The insurgents are just as dangerous today as they were the day before the election.

This resolution quotes the President saying, ``When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.'' Under those terms, our soldiers could be in Iraq indefinitely.

This resolution is merely more rhetoric about how many Iraqi soldiers have been trained. In February 2004, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed there were more than 210,000 Iraqis serving in the security forces. Just 7 months later, Secretary Rumsfeld said 95,000 trained Iraqi troops were taking part in security operations. According to the figures in the President's November 29 speech, there appears to be between 84,000 and 96,000 Iraqis trained.

However, independent experts in a November 30 Christian Science Monitor article said that they believed the President's numbers were much too high. Instead, they said 30,000 was a more accurate figure.

Mr. Speaker, not only are the number of Iraqi soldiers uncertain, their readiness is also in doubt. In September, General George Casey told Congress that the number of Iraqi battalions rated at the highest level of readiness had dropped from three to one, which means the Iraqis have about 800 soldiers which are at the highest level of readiness.

If the President's criteria for concluding our involvement in Iraq is the Iraqi army standing up, it appears we are nowhere near achieving this goal.

Mr. Speaker, nearly everything this administration has said about the war has turned out to be false. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not attempt to purchase uranium yellow cake from Niger. There was no relationship between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin or other al Qaeda leaders. We were not greeted as liberators. Iraq's oil revenues have not paid for reconstruction costs. In fact, it has cost U.S. taxpayers $251 billion so far. The insurgency is not in its last throes. And the war has not made us safer. It has provided an opportunity for al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to recruit new members, and it has also diverted hundreds of billions of dollars away from efforts to secure our Nation.