Ruppersberger Statement On the Iraq Resolution
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of the Iraq Resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 63, supporting our troops who are bravely serving in Iraq and disapproving of President Bush’s troop surge.
The following is Congressman Ruppersberger’s statement as prepared.
“Madame Speaker, the resolution before the House today is very clear. Congress and the American people support our troops who serve bravely in Iraq and Congress disapproves of President Bush’s decision to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq.
There is not a Member of this body who does not pray for our nation’s success in Iraq and in the Global War on Terror. Our brave servicemen and women have performed in Iraq with valor and honor. They have done everything that a grateful nation has asked of them since the beginning of this war. Whether you are for or against this war, we must support our troops. This resolution does that.
The only people sacrificing in this war are the troops and their families. Many military personnel have served two and three tours of duty. It has been difficult on their families here at home. More than 3,100 of our finest sons and daughters have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. More than 25,000 troops have been wounded.
I do not believe we need new troops in Iraq. I believe we need a new strategy in Iraq. The current strategy is clearly not working. We have increased the number of American troops in the past and it has not done anything to calm the violence. In fact, in certain circumstances, the violence has increased. Even General Abizaid, former Commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has stated “more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.” I completely agree with him.
I serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I have been to Iraq four times and have met with America’s top Generals, US and Iraqi troops, and Iraqi elected officials. We must give the Iraqis more responsibility to take control of their own country. We must cut the apron strings and let the Iraqis patrol their own streets. American troops will guard the perimeter areas and back-up the Iraqis in an emergency. I call it the “Perimeter Plan.”
Redeploying troops to perimeter areas and lowering the profile of American forces will break the dependency the Iraqi military has on U.S. forces. The Iraqis will gain more confidence in their own abilities to secure their own country and we can begin bringing our men and women in uniform home.
It has been said by my friends on the other side of the aisle that the Democrats don’t have a plan. This is not true. Other Members of our party have a plan and I have a plan. In fact, I shared the “Perimeter Plan” with the President and Members of his Cabinet on two occasions at the White House. I also gave a copy of my plan to the Iraq Study Group that reviewed it before issuing its recommendations that have been largely ignored by the President.
This is not “cut and run” like some on the other side of the aisle would like you to believe. It is a way to force the Iraqis to take more control of our country while also allowing the U.S. military to do what it does best. We have some of the best Special Operations forces – Marines and Rangers – and technology in the world. These forces can focus on backing up the Iraqi military.
As Thomas Payne insisted during the American Revolution, we need to let those who want independence test their will and try their soul. More American troops hinder the Iraqi democracy from testing its soul and hurt the world in the Global War on Terror.
More than $400 billion has been spent on this war by the American taxpayer with little or no oversight by Congress. From the invasion of Iraq and the start of the war, a Republican House and Republican Senate have given the President almost whatever he wanted both in money and strategic resources. The days of the blank check are over. The stakes are too high to allow this money to be spent unchecked. In the first six weeks of this new Congress, the Democrats have held 52 House and Senate hearings on Iraq. We are conducting oversight and holding the Administration accountable.
Iraq was not a hot bed for terrorists before the war but it is now. The country has become a magnet for those who want to harm Americans and Iraqis and disrupt this new democracy. Terrorists have used Iraq against us to recruit and spread their twisted ideology worldwide. But the Global War on Terror is much more that Iraq. While we are spending much of our precious resources in Iraq, we are NOT focused on fighting terrorism worldwide. We are taking our eye of the ball. We must refocus our efforts in other parts of the Middle East, Asia, South America, Africa, and other parts of the world.
Good intelligence is the best defense against terrorism. This takes resources. We must prioritize where we put our money. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, it is about all Americans and keeping this country safe for our children and grandchildren.
Madame Speaker, this is a critical moment in the War in Iraq. More troops will not help Iraq. A new strategy will. Democracy is rooted in independence and self-sustainment. By implementing the “Perimeter Plan”, we encourage the Iraqis to take control of their own country. This strategy will allow us to be successful in Iraq and win the War on Terror.
This is why we must vote for this resolution. I urge Members to support it.”