In October 2002, Rep. Eshoo voted against President Bush’s war resolution because of her serious concerns about the unprecedented U.S. policy of preemption and unilateralism. Her vote was part of the minority of Members of Congress to voice these concerns and oppose the resolution.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq transitioned from a dictatorship to a plural political system in which varying sects and ideological and political factions compete in elections. The first election of the post-Saddam Hussein political transition was held in 2005, but many believe it may have worsened the violence by exposing and reinforcing the political weakness of Sunni Arabs. Sectarian violence became so serious, that in 2007 the U.S. began a surge of about 300,000 additional U.S. forces.
Since the war began, Rep. Eshoo traveled to Iraq, most recently in May 2011, to assess the situation. She witnessed firsthand the Bush Administration’s lack of a plan following the invasion for post-war security and reconstruction; its permissive attitude toward the early looting and violence; its failure to secure the borders against foreign insurgents; its disbanding of the Iraqi security and professional police forces; and its refusal to assemble a coalition of allies to share the rebuilding of Iraq. The mismanagement of the war and the rebuilding effort has resulted in a situation in which the country continues to be plagued by sectarian violence and political unrest, while more than $2 trillion of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been expended, not including the costs of caring for the war’s veterans.
Rep. Eshoo welcomed the news that the Obama Administration was proceeding with a timetable for withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq in August 2010, and the removal of our remaining training forces and advisers by December, 2011. The country, however, continues to face problems stemming from sectarian disputes. In the final months of 2012, disputes between elites led to mass unrest which threatened to bring about major sectarian violence. Tensions have continued to grow in the early months of 2013, exemplified by the April Hawijah incident in which ISF forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in the town of Hawijah killing 40 civilians.