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Statement on U.S. Military Death Toll in Iraq Reaching 2,000

By Senator Barbara Boxer

Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, today is a very somber day. The U.S.military death toll reached 2,000 in Iraq, a figure that I -- and every American -- hoped we would never reach. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.

I pray for these young Americans, may they rest in peace; and I pray for their families, may they heal.

Let us honor their lives and their memory.

And let us honor the lives of those who continue to serve by developing a credible plan for Iraq. It is time for this Administration to level with the American people and provide a strategy for success.

As the current investigation into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame reminds us, this Administration took us to war on false intelligence, misstatements, and exaggerations.

This Administration told the American people that we had no other option but to go to war because the regime of Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of the United States.

However, no weapons of mass destruction have been found, and there was no serious link between Iraq and al Qaeda.

The Administration also provided rosy scenarios and false expectations about how the United States would be greeted as liberators in Iraq and how the war would be brief. In fact, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld actually said in February 2003 that the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

Yet here we are, two and a half years later, lamenting the death of the 2,000th soldier in Iraq. Of those 2,000 soldiers, 464 of these soldiers were either from California or based in California.

Even as attacks on American soldiers continue, the Administration refuses to level with the American people. In May 2005, Vice President Cheney proclaimed that: "I think the level of activity that we see today in Iraq from a military standpoint, I think will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

Since that day -- since Vice President Cheney told us that violence was coming to an end in Iraq -- more than 300 Americans have lost their lives. And the violence continues to escalate.

Today we do not just lament the strategic disaster in Iraq, the loss of U.S. credibility around the world, and the overwhelming costs to the American taxpayer. Above all, we mourn the tragic deaths of 2,000 young Americans.

These men and women voluntarily put their lives on the line to defend us when they put on the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. They put their trust in the government that we would only send them to war if there was no other recourse.

In rushing to war, in twisting and revising the case for war, and in failing to plan for the aftermath of the war, this Administration broke the trust with these young men and women at a catastrophic cost.

These 2,000 young men and women have sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, friends and extended family, all of whose lives have been forever changed by the consequences of this reckless war.

Today, let us remember these 2,000 brave Americans. Let us honor their lives and their memory by bringing this war to an end.

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