WASHINGTON -- March 15 -- U.S. Representatives Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Jim McDermott (D-WA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Danny Davis (D-IL) today announced that they will vote against President Bush's request for $81 Billion to continue war in Iraq. The war in Iraq has not made America safer, the supplemental request lacks accountability and the President has failed to plan for the return of U.S. troops. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on President Bush's supplemental request today or tomorrow.
The following are Congresswoman Woolsey's words as written for today's press conference in the U.S. Capitol:
"Good morning, I want to thank my colleagues for joining me today.
"This week, the Congress is debating the President's request for more than $80 billion additional dollars to finance his adventure in Iraq. I will oppose this bill because I support the troops and have deep admiration for their courage. I will vote against the supplemental because I believe our brave soldiers are being used as pawns by their civilian superiors, whose wastefulness and incompetence is betraying their duty to keep us safe.
"This supplemental will bring the overall Iraq price tag to more than $200 billion. What are the American people getting for their $200 billion? What kind of return on their investment?
"We've created a hotbed of terrorism in Iraq. We've earned the wrath of the entire Muslim world. Meanwhile, we have a swiss cheese homeland security system. And we've lost over 1,500 of our troops, not to mention the thousands wounded and the many who will suffer mental trauma for the rest of their lives.
"The Center for American Progress did a study of what $200 billion could really buy in terms of our security:
- Only $5 billion would give our ports and waterways the protection they need from attack.
- It would cost only $1 billion to screen all passenger air cargo.
- Just $2.6 billion would allow our rail and public transit systems to meet important security requirements.
"Just think of what we could do at home for $200 billion - universal pre-school education,
comprehensive health coverage for every American, a safe child care system that will give peace of mind to every working family.
"And there would still be plenty left over to implement a Smart Security agenda that would be about preventing war instead of preemptive war...that would eliminate programs like Star Wars
and other Cold War relics that are doing nothing to keep us safe.
"Smart Security would mean robust multilateral alliances to stop the spread of terrorism, vigorous inspection regimes to stop WMD proliferation, and an ambitious humanitarian development program that tackles the poverty and despair that foster terrorism in the first place.
"$200 billion -- that's about $675 for every American man, woman and child. Which is not to say that the sacrifices of this war have been spread evenly throughout the population.
The well-connected and the wealthy haven't been asked to sacrifice a thing, even though rolling back the Bush tax cuts would go a long way toward paying this enormous bill.
"No, the ones who have sacrificed are coming home in flag-draped coffins because they were sent to depose a regime that represented no imminent threat to our security. Their families didn't get a tax cut. The only thing they got from the government was a devastating letter that Donald Rumsfeld didn't even bother to sign personally.
"The most disturbing thing about the President's request for more Iraq funding is the lack of accountability: Why are we writing another check for a mission that's been so badly botched? Who's being held responsible for the misuse of the money we've already approved?
If Secretary Rumsfeld and the Pentagon couldn't manage to get body armor to our troops with the first $100 billion we gave them, why would we trust them with even more hard-earned American tax dollars?
"And where is this money going? How much of it is enriching war profiteers? Why did the Army waive its usual procedures and make full payments to Halliburton despite legitimate questions about overbilling and financial mismanagement? And why can't we get a congressional investigation into the $9 billion that mysteriously disappeared from the books at the Coalition Provisional Authority?
"If the President wants more money for this adventure, he can take it out of something he cares about instead of taking it out of the hides of the American people.
"No more blank checks. I will vote against this supplemental, and I urge my colleagues to do the same."