WASHINGTON - As the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq reaches 2,000, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops; for transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations; and for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts.
The statement Rep. McGovern gave on the House floor today:
“Mr. Speaker, CNN reported today that two thousand American troops have now lost their lives in Iraq. It is time to end this war. Let’s bring our troops home and restore U.S. credibility in the world community.
“This war was based on fiction. That is a fact that is no longer disputed. There were no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to Al Qaeda. There was no imminent threat. This Administration – with the acquiescence of Congress – rushed into a war that according to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has made our country more vulnerable, not less, to future crisis.
“The Bush Administration has stubbornly refused to reassess the situation. They have refused to listen to the words of military and diplomatic leaders who have warned that a continuing U.S. presence in Iraq will not calm the violence or lead to a more stable Iraq. The U.S. presence in Iraq is now a major part of the problem. Al Qaeda is in Iraq today because we are there. The abuse and torture by U.S. forces of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and the near three year occupation by U.S. troops have made us an unpopular force in Iraq even among those who originally supported the U.S. invasion.
“We have spent over $300 billion on the war – with no end in sight. It is estimated that another two years of war will boost that amount to one trillion dollars. Our military is stretched to the limit, with much of the burden falling on our Guard and Reserves.
“There are some politicians in Washington who say that – no matter what – we must ‘stay the course.’ I strongly disagree. It is worth pointing out that it is not Congressmen, Senators or members of the Bush Administration whose lives are on the line in battle. It takes no courage for anybody in Washington to wave the American flag and send more troops. We owe our brave, fighting men and women so much more. Washington made a mistake in going to war. It is time for politicians to admit that mistake and fix it before any more lives are lost.
“‘In Vietnam we didn’t have the lesson of Vietnam to guide us,’ says David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of that war. He goes on to say, ‘In Iraq we did have those lessons. The tragedy is that we didn’t pay any attention to them.’
“Mr. Speaker, we have now sacrificed the lives of 2,000 members of our Armed Forces in Iraq. Thousands of others are wounded. Tens of thousands of civilians from Iraq and elsewhere have died since the U.S. entered Baghdad and ostensibly took control of the nation.
“This week, I am introducing a resolution to prohibit the use of tax payer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill, however, will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops. It will allow us to support transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations. The bill will also allow for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts. This is not a cut and run strategy. Rather, it is a way to support efforts that I believe can be more helpful in creating a more stable Iraq. But, the bill makes clear – no more U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq.
“Ultimately, the future of Iraq will depend on whether the various factions in the country genuinely and truly want to live with each other. No constitution or election can fully determine that outcome.
“This war has cost us dearly in terms of human life and treasure. At a time when we are shortchanging our veterans here at home, our schools, health care, and even our homeland security -- it makes no sense to throw good money after bad in this quagmire in Iraq. Sometimes great nations misstep, as I believe we have done in this case. It is now time to ask the tough questions and face the hard truths. It is time to end this war.”
Brief description of McGovern Iraq bill
Upon the date of enactment, the legislation would:
End all funding for the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq
Defense funds may be provided for:
- the safe and orderly withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq
- consultations with foreign governments, the UN and NATO on international forces to ensure Iraqi security and transition to democracy
- contributions of money and equipment (but not personnel) to Iraqi security forces and international forces to ensure Iraqi security and transition to democracy
The bill would not prohibit or restrict any non-Defense funding to carry out social and economic reconstruction in Iraq (e.g. State Department, USAID, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, EPA, etc. funds).
At this time, Congressman McGovern intends to introduce the legislation on Thursday, October 27th.