Eshoo Supports Redeployment of U.S. Forces from Iraq

December 9, 2005
Press Release

December 9, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, made the following statement on the House floor in support of H.J. Res. 73, a resolution calling for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Joint Resolution introduced by Representative John Murtha. This Resolution should be brought to the floor because the time has come for a change in our Iraq policy.

"I believe our military has done its job. They were sent to Iraq to depose a tyrant and free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. They accomplished what can be described as one of the most successful and well-executed military campaigns in history, defeating the Iraqi army in a matter of days and going on to hunt down and capture Saddam Hussein.

"The issue before us is not 'surrender' or 'cut and run'. Our troops have accomplished their mission. What they're now having to battle is an insurgency comprised largely of Iraqis who they were sent to liberate. According to our top military leadership, fewer than 7% of the insurgents in Iraq are foreign militants and the primary target of the insurgents are U.S. troops.

"The violence is taking its toll on the Iraqi people, the vast majority of whom want a stable, secure Iraq free from foreign occupation. A recent poll taken in Iraq indicated that 80% of Iraqis want the American military to leave, and most chilling, 45% believe attacks against U.S. forces are justified. The daily toll inflicted on our military and our national purse (close to $1 billion per day now), is simply unsustainable.

"Congressman Murtha has proposed a plan calling for the redeployment of U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, the creation of a quick-reaction force in the region and an 'over-the-horizon' presence of Marines, and the pursuit of security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

"Congressman Murtha based his sober and professional judgment on the following:

  • "The U.S. and coalition troops have accomplished all they can in Iraq and the American people have not been shown clear, measurable progress for the establishment of a stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy.
  • "American troops have become the primary targets of attacks in Iraq, which is significantly impeding progress. Continued military action is not in the best interest of the United States, the Iraqi people, or the Persian Gulf region.
  • "As Commander of Iraqi forces, General George Casey stated in a September 2005 hearing, 'the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.'
  • "The cost of the War to our country, and the burden on the troops to whom Congressman Murtha has dedicated his life, is skyrocketing.

"Congressman Murtha knows of what he speaks. He is a 37-year veteran of the Marine Corps, a Colonel, the first Vietnam War veteran elected to this body and an unimpeachable, first-hand authority on the needs of our military.

"Congressman Murtha is one of the most decorated veterans in the Congress. No one has taken care of our troops on a more consistent basis since coming to the Congress than Jack Murtha. Previous Presidents know this, this President knows it, present and former members of Congress know it, and most importantly, our troops know it.

"Congressman Murtha has been standing side-by-side with our troops throughout the Iraq war, from his presence in Kuwait just days before the start of the war, to his ongoing weekly visits to wounded troops at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to his regular travel to the region to be with our troops. Each and every step of the way Jack Murtha has made sure that our troops have what they need, that their families are cared for, and that our country honors their service as deeply as he does. In one case, when a mother told him that bureaucratic red tape would prevent her son, a young man severely wounded in service to his country from receiving a Purple Heart, Jack Murtha said that if her son didn't get a Purple Heart, he would give him one of his. This is Jack Murtha.

"After great personal reflection on the war and its effects and constant consultation with the military leadership, Congressman Murtha has done what members of this body are charged to do: He spoke truth to power. He announced it was "time for a change in direction" in Iraq. He did not call for an immediate withdrawal. He has not called for surrender and he has not called for retreat.

"Whether Members agree with Congressman Murtha's judgment on the individual details of his proposal, it's become clear that our current policy in Iraq is unsustainable. It's time to tell the Iraqis that the training wheels have to come off¦it's time for the Iraqis to take charge of Iraq. Today the American people are ahead of us, with some 65% saying it's time for a change. It's time to begin the overdue debate on how and when we bring our troops home. Congressman Murtha has set forth a pragmatic and clear proposal. I'm proud to support it."

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