Woolsey Gives 350th Speech Against Wars
Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) made a commitment in 2004 to speak almost daily on the floor of the House of Representatives on the US’s war policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, she gave her 350th speech.
Here it is in its entirety.
FOR THE 350TH TIME: BRING OUR TROOPS HOME
APRIL 14, 2010
Madam Speaker, on April 20, 2004, I rose in this chamber to say that we needed a new approach to national security…to say for the first time, before any other member of Congress, that it was time to bring our troops home.
I have continued to speak out just about every night that the House was in session. But I never imagined that almost 6 years later, I would need to do so for the 350th time. But that’s what I’m doing today. Because our service men and women are still in harm’s way in both Iraq and Afghanistan…on missions that violate core American values and undermine American security. We have come a long way in building a movement that opposes these disastrous military conflicts, but still our leaders stubbornly cling to a disastrous policy.
What we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is disgraceful. It is a stain on our nation. It will someday be remembered as a shameful episode in American history.
7 years ago this week, Baghdad fell. Remember, that was the moment when Iraqis were supposed to throw flowers and weep with gratitude that we had invaded their country. But how did Iraqis recognize the 6th anniversary of their so-called “liberation”? With massive, colorful protests against the continued presence of American troops.
Protests that brought Shia and Sunni together. Protests organized around the very idea that national unity against the U.S. occupation is stronger than Iraqi sectarian divides that are centuries old. Protests that included the trampling of American flags. Protests, in once case at least, that featured the burning in effigy of President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Meanwhile, one of the big developments out of Afghanistan this week is the death of several civilian bus passengers at the hands of American gunfire near Kandahar. This tragedy comes at the very moment and in the very region where U.S. forces are prepared to launch a major offensive. The push to defeat militants in Kandahar will require strong support from the civilian population, but instead this incident has people taking to the streets shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to infidels!”
7 years in Iraq…8 and a half years in Afghanistan…and we still haven’t figured out that you can’t win people’s affection, loyalty and trust by waging war on their country. To truly capture their hearts and minds – and also to defeat terrorism and make America safer – we need a smart security approach. That means empowering Iraqis and Afghans with civilian support and humanitarian aid; with programs to alleviate poverty, build schools, promote public health, and so much more.
The current approach is alienating the populations we’re trying to win over…and emboldening the very insurgents we’re trying to destroy.
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