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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

The War in Iraq

August 5, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker and Members, I am here on the floor this evening along with some of my other colleagues who have been working for almost 4 years to bring to the attention of this House the mistakes, the errors, the misdirection of the President of the United States as relates to the war in Iraq. We have Members on this floor this evening, many of my colleagues, who have not only spoken time and time again about what is going on in Iraq, but they have spoken in their districts and around the country, helping people to understand that there are some of us here in the Congress of the United States who do not support this war.

We support our troops. They are there because they have been told by the President of the United States that they should volunteer to serve because our country was at risk. But we have been trying to help people to understand what is happening, what is not happening.

Last night the President addressed the Nation with a new plan that he called a "new way forward." Now, Mr. Speaker and Members, the President of the United States has come up with a lot of proposals since this debacle in Iraq. What he announced last night has been tried before, and he has failed at almost everything that he has attempted.

Now the President is talking about sending 21,000 troops to Iraq. Where are they going to come from? Whose family is going to have to make the sacrifice? Who are these young people who continue to volunteer and are told that they are going to be serving for a certain period of time only to be stopped from going home when they thought they would be going home? Under the President's plan, troops will have shorter amounts of time between deployments and longer deployments to Iraq. The length of Army deployments will be increased from 12 months to 15 months. Marine deployments will be increased to 12 months from 7 months. So where are these troops going to come from?

The President had announced that the Iraqi Government had committed to a series of benchmarks, including another 8,000 Iraqi troops and policemen in Baghdad. So what if they have committed to a series of benchmarks? So what if they don't meet them? Then what? What do we do? The President did not say if they fail on the first benchmark that we are going to get out of there.

No. He just simply one more time said to the American people: Trust me. And I don't think that many of us are willing to continue to trust that the President of the United States has a vision for where he is going with all of this.

The President also said that they were going to force passage of long delayed legislation to share all revenues among Iraq's sects and ethnic groups. Now, we have heard this oil story before. If you can recall, when the President first went into Iraq, they said they were going to get the revenues from the oil; it would help pay for the cost of the war, and it would pay for the reconstruction of Iraq after we have torn it up. And then, of course, the President asked that the American people support him in getting $10 billion for jobs and reconstruction in Iraq.

Well, now that the oil revenues are not forthcoming, this is a President who has spent, spent, spent, created a deficit. This is a President that refuses to support many of the domestic programs that many of us would like to see. We would like to see more affordable housing. We would like to see better schools. We would like to see comprehensive universal health care. But we cannot get the support of the President of the United States for these domestic needs. But he tells us, now that he has messed up, led us into war under false pretenses, that we are now to pay for it, and there is no oil revenue there to do it. Well, I think that my friends are going to join me in helping to unfold what has taken place.

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