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Rep. Maxine Waters Statement on Iraq
For Immediate Release Contact: Mikael Moore
December 7, 2005 (202) 225-2201
Members of the 'Out of Iraq' Caucus Urged to Support Murtha's Iraq Resolution
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-25), Chair of the 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus sent a letter to the seventy-one members of the 'Out of Iraq' Caucus urging them to cosponsor Congressman John Murtha's resolution, H J Res 73, which would redeploy US Forces from Iraq.
Today, Congresswoman Waters signed on as a cosponsor of H J Res 73.
The text of Congresswoman Waters' letter is as follows:
December 6, 2005
Dear 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus Member:
As you know, the 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus was formed in June 2005 to bring a debate to the Congress about our involvement in Iraq and to urge the conclusion of the war as soon as possible. The Caucus has grown to include 71 Members of Congress. Throughout its existence, the Caucus met with numerous individuals that provided their thoughts on how to conclude the war and bring our troops home.
Because the Administration has refused to develop a credible plan to end the war in Iraq, the 'Out of Iraq' Caucus recently decided to file a discharge petition on H J Res 55, a bill authored by Congressman Neil Abercrombie and Congressman Walter Jones which calls on the President to begin bringing US troops home from Iraq no later than October 1, 2006.
On November 9th, Members representing the 'Out of Iraq' Caucus met with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jack Murtha to discuss the decision to file a discharge petition on H J Res 55. During that meeting, Congressman Murtha announced that he wanted to deal with the prison abuse situation before taking any actions on an exit strategy.
The following week, on November 17th, Congressman Murtha held a press conference during which he announced that he supported "an immediate re-deployment of U.S. forces from Iraq." He said that he believed that "it can be accomplished in as little as six months but it must be consistent with the safety of U.S. troops."
Since that announcement, the Democratic Party is being criticized because it does not have a position on Iraq. The media and others note that Senator Kerry is advocating the withdrawal of about 20,000 US soldiers if the December 15th Iraqi elections are successful. Senator Feingold has proposed that December 31, 2006 be the target date for the completion of the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. And Senator Clinton said it would be a "big mistake" for U.S. troops to pull out immediately. Instead, she said that "we must set reasonable goals to finish what we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis."
I believe that the Murtha position is the result of a thoughtful analysis of the situation in Iraq and that Congressman Murtha has the knowledge, experience and credibility to call for a redeployment of US troops at this time. I believe that Congressman Murtha's position should not be characterized as an immediate withdrawal, but rather as a sensible strategy since it reduces our exposure in Iraq, which fuels the insurgency, while creating a 'quick reaction force' in the region and 'an over- the- horizon presence of Marines' to help protect our nation's security. We should all be willing to embrace and support this strategy as outlined by Congressman Murtha. Therefore, I encourage you to cosponsor Congressman Murtha's resolution.