THE WAR -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 20, 2007)
* Mr. CLAY. Madam Speaker, in the fall of 2002, I was among the majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives who voted against the Iraq war resolution. Claims about weapons of mass destruction had not been substantiated and there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was linked to al Qaeda and the 9-11 attacks. I did not accept--as administration officials asserted--that the costs of the war and rebuilding of Iraq could be financed by Iraqi oil revenues. At that time, I told my colleagues that Iraq did not pose a direct threat to our national security and that we should concentrate our power on capturing Osama Bin Laden and destroying al Qaeda.
* The invasion and occupation of Iraq has not achieved what its proponents promised. The war has degraded our military, undermined our nation's influence in the world, vitalized terrorists, and left the American people more vulnerable to attack than we were before the war.
* Now, the National Intelligence Estimate confirms that while the administration vainly wrestles to salvage some semblance of victory in Iraq, Osama Bin Laden and his followers are poised for a resurgence. Al Qaeda's terrorist network, which was weakened but not destroyed after we invaded Afghanistan, never lost sight of its enemy. Today, al Qaeda poses as grave a threat to the United States as it did before 9-11.
* As long as we remain in Iraq, al Qaeda will profit and the American people will pay the price. The security of our Nation demands that we withdraw from Iraq and use all of our military, intelligence and diplomatic resources to tear down the terrorist networks that want to destroy our way of life.
* This Administration must stop blindly pandering to elitist dreams of rebuilding other nations in our image. Protecting the American people is a fundamental purpose of our government. The Iraq war is not advancing our national security; it is time to bring our troops home.
* The Bush policy in Iraq has already cost the lives of over 3,600 brave Americans, with over 26,000 wounded. It has squandered and scattered resources that we should have devoted to our homeland security. And it has cost the U.S. citizens over half a trillion dollars in hard earned wages and lost Government services.
* When history is written, it might say that we lost the first battle in the war against terrorism, but I pray it will not say that we lost the war.