Berkley Rejects Non-Binding Iraq Resolution
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) today voted no on a Republican-authored resolution on Iraq that sought to link Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. The non-binding resolution passed by the House this morning is purely symbolic, carries no force of law, and does not require any action to be taken by Congress or the White House. Berkley remains opposed to any legislation requiring a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of American troops.
"This was not a debate, it was an attempt by House Republicans to boost their sagging poll numbers, and Nevadans see this move for what it was - a crass political stunt. In 2002, I voted to authorize President Bush to take military action in Iraq based on the intelligence he presented to Congress, but as we have now learned, the intelligence was both manipulated and inaccurate. The Republican authors of this non-binding resolution have continued to mislead the American people with more discredited claims that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks, when we know that to be a lie.
"I remain firmly opposed to any timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. But I cannot support a resolution that attempts to rewrite history by asserting that Saddam Hussein and the Baathist Regime in Iraq were the primary threat against global peace and security, while entirely omitting any reference to the architect of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, and omitting even a hint of a global strategy to defeat terrorism.
"I have the greatest respect and appreciation for our brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives for our nation each day. Americans remember all too well that it was President Bush and the Republican Congress who allowed these military heroes to be sent into combat without enough body armor, without enough armored vehicles and without a clear plan to win the war in Iraq. Those who would seek to turn this disastrous lack of leadership into political gain by falsely questioning the support of Democrats for America's military dishonor the sacrifices of our troops and their families back home.
"The divisiveness and rancor caused by the Republican leadership's political stunt cannot be helpful to our troops and their valiant fight against global terrorism.
"Republicans should join Democrats in demanding accountability for decisions made by the White House regarding this war and put an end to their on-going efforts to use Iraq as a campaign issue. Only an honest, frank and accurate accounting of how and why elements of this war have gone so catastrophically wrong will enable us to find the formula that will allow for a successful outcome in Iraq.
"At that same time, we must focus on steps that will enable the Iraqi people and their elected government to rebuild their nation and to end the insurrection that has already claimed too many lives. We must finish rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure so that families have reliable electricity supplies to light homes and schools and to power businesses. We must work with the government of Iraq to usher in an era of cooperation between competing factions. And we must help the Iraqi government disarm the violent militias that have turned the streets of Baghdad and other cities into killing zones.
"These goals can and will be reached, and we will be able to bring troops home having accomplished their mission. But again, we must support our troops by rejecting blatant political ploys such as the resolution I voted against today."