PALLONE STATEMENT ON FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF IRAQ WAR
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement today on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.
"It is hard to believe that five years ago today President Bush initiated a preemptive war against Iraq. At the time, the administration believed it would be a relatively quick and painless war. What a tragic miscalculation that was. To date, that miscalculation has cost nearly 4,000 brave American soldiers their lives, and has led to the wounding of an estimated 29,000 additional men and women who have risked their lives on the frontlines in Iraq. Each of these men and women deserve our deepest respect and appreciation. Mindful of those who have been lost and wounded and the 170,000 troops that remain on the battlefield in Iraq, we gather today to call for an end to the war in Iraq.
"Last year at this time, we were optimistic that with a new Democratic Congress and with American opinion on our side, that we could finally convince President Bush to support our efforts to bring our troops home this year.
"Instead, President Bush, with help from Congressional Republicans, has stubbornly maintained the status quo. The president continues to support his troop escalation plan even though it has not produced the political reconciliation that he promised. Last week, General David Petraeus told reporters that 'no one feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation.' And yet, both the President and the General say the status quo must continue.
"The American people are not the only ones skeptical of the status quo, our troops themselves are also questioning the policies of the Bush administration. In a recent poll of current and former military officers, three-quarters of those surveyed said that civilian leaders in Washington are setting 'unreasonable goals for the military in post-Saddam Iraq.'
"Our nation has sacrificed enough over the last five years. While our troops continue to serve as referees in a deadly civil war, our military is nearing the breaking point. Army Secretary Pete Geren said last month that 'our soldiers and families are stretched. We are an Army out of balance. And we are consuming our readiness as fast as we build it.'
"And it's not only our military that is suffering. Within this hour, this administration will spend more than $14 million in Iraq. This month, it will spend $10.3 billion. The war in Iraq has played a contributing factor in the weakening of our economy. It has led to a spike in oil prices; has resulted in massive barrowing by the U.S. government; and has diverted funds that should have been invested in research and development, education and infrastructure here at home. Such investment would have helped us stimulate this sluggish economy.
"I opposed giving President Bush the authority to go to war. And I have opposed every war spending bill that did not include a timeline for withdrawal. We have done everything we can for Iraq. It is now up to the Iraqis to take full control of their own futures so that we can finally bring our troops home."