Rising Public Concern Is Shifting Congressional Debate on Iraq War
(Excerpts from remarks made at FCNL’s Annual Meeting, Nov. 10, 2005)
War is not the answer. It’s time to bring our troops home [from Iraq].
Two thousand deaths is 2,000 too many, especially for a war that was sold with distortions and deceit. Especially for a war that is inspiring the insurgency rather than defeating it. Especially for a war in which our government has established secret gulags that violate international law and every standard of human decency.
I have been beating the anti-war drum all year long. In January, I introduced the first "bring home the troops" resolution. In the spring, I forced the first vote on the issue by offering a troop withdrawal amendment to the defense authorization bill. At the time
we got 128 votes. Something tells me we’d get a few more than that if the same vote were taken today.
How are we going to get out of Iraq? It is going to be the grassroots [pushing for a change in the current policy]. It’s going to be the people insisting that their elected representatives do the right thing. Middle America needs to accept that they didn’t agree to send their neighbor’s kid to this war, and they need to tell their representative this... Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents that they want a debate [on ending this war].
I repeatedly called for hearings to explore Iraq exit strategies. But, with the congressional majority seemingly content to abandon its oversight responsibilities, I took the matter into my own hands and convened a hearing in September. The idea behind the hearing was to fill a policy vacuum, to ignite a conversation that the nation wants and deserves.
My constituents are the wind behind my sails [in my efforts to end this war]. And that’s the kind of pressure that every member of Congress needs.
(Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s was the recipient of this year’s Edward F. Snyder Award for National Leadership in Advancing Disarmament and Building Peace, presented at the FCNL Annual Meeting. Past recipients include Reps. Frank Wolfe and Donald Payne, and Sen. Jim Jeffords. For a full list see “about us” at www.fcnl.org)