February 15, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) today delivered the following statement on the floor of the House of Representatives regarding H.Con.Res. 63, which reconfirmed Congress' committment to our troops and expressed opposition to the President's plan to escalate U.S. troop levels in Iraq by more than 20,000.

“A violent civil war is raging in Iraq with atrocities against innocent civilians mounting every day. Our troops are caught in the crossfire, dying and being maimed driving on local roads, patrolling neighborhoods, and moving about by helicopter. What is their mission today? What is the strategic objective of the escalation proposed by the President?

“President Bush’s plan to deploy 20,000 additional U.S. combat troops to Iraq is not a new strategy, and nothing I have seen or heard has convinced me that this escalation will make a positive difference in Iraq or hasten the safe return of U.S. troops. In fact, General Abizaid said that “more American forces prevent the Iraqis…from taking responsibility for their own future.” Four previous troop surges between December 2003 and October 2006 have not made a dent in the level of violence nor in the number of U.S. casualties.

“We have spent nearly $500 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet inexplicably our troops still do not have the protection they need. Throughout this war, many in Congress have addressed the lack of equipment and protection for our troops. Now, military leaders are saying that there are not enough armor kits and vehicles to protect these additional five brigades the President plans to send to Iraq. It is unacceptable to send more soldiers to Iraq, but it is unconscionable to send them without proper armaments or an explanation from the Administration about how our troops will be protected.

“3132 Americans in uniform have died and 23,417 have been wounded since the start of the war in Iraq. I visited our wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, and Bethesda Naval Hospital, and most recently at Landstuhl Military Hospital in Germany during my visit to Iraq with the Speaker. I stood at the bedside of a 23 year old severely wounded soldier – a soldier who was holding the hand of his 21 year old brother, currently serving in Iraq, and the hand of his father, who had also served in the armed forces – a soldier who will likely never come home. These families are making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I am humbled by their commitment, professionalism and dedication. We have a responsibility to our armed forces, our citizens and the constituents who have elected us to bring them home as quickly and safely as possible.

“I am convinced that the thorough analysis and conclusions of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group are correct. Iraqi leaders must take responsibility for the country’s security and government, and we must engage the international community to work toward stability in the region. There is no military solution to the crisis in Iraq and we cannot send more brave men and women to police a civil war.

“As I have said many times before, there are no good solutions to the quagmire in Iraq. This war was ill-conceived, poorly-planned and incompetently-executed. The best military minds must now focus their efforts on the safe and responsible redeployment of our troops rather than on this escalation. I cannot support sending more of our brave men and women in uniform on a last-ditch, misguided mission. We best support our troops and our national interest by adopting this resolution, and by expressing clearly, on behalf of the American people, our firm determination to change course in Iraq.”