Starting this morning the House will begin to debate the moral issue of our times – our continued military occupation of Iraq. My colleagues and I will have the opportunity to vote on President Bush’s escalation – a failed policy from the start, which will only deepen our engagement in the Iraq, and increase the cost to our country in lives, limb and treasury. The American public has already overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to the President’s plan, and now it is our turn, and our responsibility to have our voices heard.
I will support this week’s effort, and will cast my vote against the President’s proposed escalation, but you all know that I will not stop there, and neither should my colleagues.
To oppose the escalation is an important first step, but it must be the beginning of our debate, not the end. Even if we succeeded in preventing President Bush’s escalation we would be left with an unacceptable status quo – over one hundred thousand of our brave men and women still in harm’s way, and a continued military occupation that is fueling the insurgency. Let me be clear, we must do more than oppose the President’s escalation, we must bring our troops home.
As many of you know I have proposed legislation that would do just that. H.R. 508 would bring our troops home within six months, provide economic, humanitarian and diplomatic aid to help the Iraqis rebuild their country, and care for those who have sacrificed themselves for their country by funding the VA as an entitlement, not another program to be funded at the whim of this President. Others in Congress have put forth their own legislation, and after we have debated and voted on the President’s plan, it’s time that the Congress debate and voted on a plan, and H.R. 508 is the comprehensive plan we need.
You have been with me since the beginning, and your phone calls and letters have helped to move this debate. Your actions have held your representatives accountable, and you continue to hold President Bush accountable for his disaster in Iraq.
Thank you – and keep it up.
ps. Today is going to be very busy, but please leave questions and comments for me, and I will try and respond to them throughout the day.