WASHINGTON -- February 9 -- U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) today called for the House International Relations Committee to have hearings on her resolution, H.Con.Res. 35, for President Bush to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Rep. Woolsey led 27
Members of Congress in sponsoring the resolution. Earlier this month, Woolsey led 15 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Bush requesting the return of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Rep. Woolsey's H.Con.Res. 35 calls for the President to:
1. Develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq;
2. Develop and implement a plan for the reconstruction of Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure;
3. Convene an emergency meeting of Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace U.S. military forces with Iraqi police and National Guard forces to ensure Iraq's security; and
4. Take all necessary steps to provide the Iraqi people the opportunity to completely control their internal affairs.
The following are Rep. Woolsey's words as written for today's press conference on Capitol Hill:
"Everyone who loves freedom was moved by the courage of millions of Iraqis braving death to cast a ballot on January 30. The Iraqi elections, however, do not justify this war - neither the lies used to sell it, nor the incompetence with which it has been managed.
"The elections won't bring back the dead or heal the wounded. They won't reimburse the American taxpayers billions of dollars. And the elections won't stop the vicious insurgency that is terrorizing Iraqi communities.
"But the elections do demonstrate that Iraqis are prepared to manage their own affairs. That is why I believe now is the time to develop and implement a plan to bring our soldiers home and end the U.S. military presence in Iraq as soon as possible.
"I have written a letter to the President urging him to do so; together with 27 co-sponsors, I have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for a plan to end this military misadventure. And today, I'm calling on the House International Relations Committee to start hearings on the matter.
"The Bush Administration spared no superlative in talking about the significance of the Iraqi elections. Such a momentous, watershed event would seem to demand a shift in our thinking about Iraq.
"But not for President Bush. He is now emboldened. He sees this as a mandate to keep our soldiers there as long as he wants. He and his surrogates are even engaging in a little provocative saber-rattling in the direction of Iran. But the Iraq elections didn't vindicate the doctrine of pre-emptive war; they demonstrated that Iraqis can and should take control of their own destinies.
"Leaving will not defeat the insurgency, but staying will only intensify it. What is fueling the insurgency - and what gave rise to it in the first place -- is our continued military presence in Iraq. Our troops, whom the Administration assured us would be embraced as liberators, are a focal point of anti-American extremism.
"Let me be clear: I am not advocating a cut and run strategy. It would be irresponsible for the United States to abandon the Iraqi people. We must play a role in facilitating their transition to stable democracy. We ought to work with Iraq, the Arab League and the United Nations to create an international peacekeeping force that would keep Iraq secure.
"Some of the money we are spending on this military campaign could be diverted to infrastructure projects that will improve Iraqis' lives - road construction, new schools, water processing plants and more. Up to this point, Iraqi economic development has been scandalously mismanaged by the Bush Administration, as billions of dollars appropriated by Congress have not actually been put to work on the ground. All future investments must be made with the needs of Iraqis - not U.S. government contractors and other war profiteers -- being paramount.
"I believe a focus on development and humanitarian aid in Iraq would be a model for a radically new approach to national security. We need what I call SMART Security, which stands for Sensible, Multilateral, American Response to Terrorism.
"Instead of resorting to the military option and spending needlessly on weapons systems, the SMART Security plan I proposed last year calls for building multilateral partnerships that enable us to foil terrorists and stop WMD proliferation. And it addresses the conditions that lead to terrorism in the first place - poverty, hopelessness, despair. Instead of troops, we should send scientists, educators, urban planners and constitutional experts to the troubled regions of the world.
"It's time for the U.S. to be Iraq's ally and partner, not its occupier. It's time to give Iraq back to its own people. And it's time to truly support our troops - by bringing them home."
Supporting Woolsey's resolution, H.Con.Res. 35, are: U.S. Representatives Xavier Becerra, John Conyers, Danny Davis, Lane Evans, Sam Farr, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Michael Honda, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Dennis Kucinich, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Jim McDermott, Cynthia McKinney, Gwen Moore, Grace Napolitano, Major Owens, Ed Pastor, Donald Payne, Charlie Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Jose Serrano, Pete Stark, Maxine Waters, and Diane Watson.