WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement that all U.S. troops will be removed from Iraq by the end of this year:
“As founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives, I salute President Obama for fulfilling his commitment to responsibly end the war in Iraq. Today’s announcement that all remaining U.S. troops will return from Iraq by the end of 2011 is a welcome development that will surely warm the hearts of many families this holiday season.
When I joined with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and other members of Congress to organize the Out of Iraq Caucus, we were concerned that the reasons for the U.S. to engage in war in Iraq were not based on sound intelligence and further, that the war would place members of our armed forces at great risk while also depleting resources needed for our nation's domestic agenda. After nearly $1 trillion spent and more than 4,000 American lives lost, the costs to our country have been great.
As the war in Iraq draws to a close, it is my hope that this conflict will serve as a solemn reminder of the costs of war. We must carefully reexamine our approach to national security and how we view the United States’ role in promoting international peace and security. If we are to remain leaders in the world, we must always use our best judgment to determine when and how we engage other nations and other actors – particularly if we are considering the use of military force.
While we are always prepared to meet the challenges of keeping our nation safe and secure, we must value the lives of our young men and women in uniform who bear the brunt of the responsibility for our decisions. To that end, I commend the President for his leadership in ensuring the responsible draw down of troops and eventual end to the U.S. war in Iraq.
My thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the more than 4,478 brave men and women who lost their lives in the eight years we occupied Iraq. I believe their legacy and heroism will live on in history and with the servicemembers who fought alongside them.”