Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Congressman Christopher Murphy (CT-05) deliver speeches that opposed the escalation troops in the Iraq war. The final vote on the measure is anticipated Friday.Congressman Joe Courtney delivered the following statement during his five minute address (as prepared for delivery):Click here to watch him deliver it. “Mr. Speaker, we stand here today one hundred days after an historic watershed election in this country in which the American people spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted a new Congress to rise to its constitutional duty and hold this administration accountable for its war policy in Iraq. The day I was sworn in as a new member of Congress, I accepted this responsibility and I rise today in opposition to the President’s escalation of the war.”
“Make no mistake about the significance of what is happening this week-This new Congress will go on record for the first time in almost four years in opposition to the Bush administration’s legacy of mistakes and misjudgments in Iraq. It will be a stark contrast to eight months ago when the prior Congress did exactly the opposite – that Congress lined up in lockstep with a war resolution written by and for the White House.”“That shameful resolution completely brushed over the misleading and manipulated intelligence that got us into this conflict, the strain of this war on our brave men and women in uniform and the drain on our nation’s military readiness that is undercutting critical efforts in Afghanistan and our overall defense infrastructure and instead just rubberstamped the administration’s rhetoric and failing policy.”“Opponents of this resolution are claiming that it will damage our troops’ morale – as a member of the Armed Services Committee I believe the opposite is true.” “Let us be very clear about where the 20,000 troops will come from. President Bush cannot simply dial 911 and 20,000 fresh troops appear. This escalation can only happen by extending the deployments of deployed soldiers beyond their already promised commitments, or by accelerating the arrival of preexisting rotations. Upon close examination it is clear that the impact of this surge lands squarely on the backs our men and women in uniform who already have borne an unfair burden.” “As we debate this resolution, there are nearly 1,900 men and women from my state of Connecticut, including 962 from the Connecticut National Guard, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have all honored our nation with their service and sacrifice. They have done all that has been asked of them and more, and their families have shown strength in their absence.” “Earlier this month, I was forwarded an email from a constituent serving in Iraq which demonstrates the consequences of these unsustainable policies. In it, he described how morale in his unit fell when they found out that their tours were unexpectedly being extended another four months. He said: “These guys have seen so much of the fighting here. To see the looks on these soldiers’ faces was heart breaking. A lot of these guys had plans made already with their loved ones like weddings, trips, or family that traveled from faraway to see them get off that plane. There are children that were all excited holding signs they made waiting to see their fathers again only to have that shattered. How much more can soldiers like this take it? These guys deserve the right to go home, they earned it.” “Letters like these demonstrate the real impact on our troops from the President’s policy. And they are reinforced by the testimony I have heard at Armed Services. Over and over again we have heard about the deterioration of our military readiness caused by over deployment of our troops. Consider that today, as a result of the strain of the war, we currently have no active duty or reserve brigades considered “combat ready” in the continental US, leaving our nation dangerously unprepared and vulnerable if needed to respond to other global threats or domestic emergencies.”“Consider that the Army National Guard has only 30 percent of its essential equipment on hand, and nearly 40 percent of the Army and Marine Corps equipment is deployed in Iraq.” “Despite the huge costs to our troops and our national defense, the President has opted to aggravate the holes in our defense with a plan to escalate the number of troops in Iraq. For what?”“Yesterday, I read the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. What I found in this report is a deteriorating security situation in Iraq whose fundamental cause is political-not military. This finding completely dovetails the findings of the Iraq Study Group who came to exactly the same conclusion.”“Instead of absorbing the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group report and the NIE and surging diplomacy and political solutions the President instead has opted to escalate the war by sending 21,500 more troops into the middle of a violent sectarian conflict.”“Where are the plans to equitably divide oil revenue or revisit the Iraqi constitution that was left incomplete two years ago or the push to create a real power sharing arrangement between the Shiia and the Sunni? Nowhere do we see any effort to get to the root causes of the violence. Instead, it is more of the same – asking our brave troops to do the impossible and settle a sectarian conflict that goes back centuries in time.” “President Bush has made his choice, now it is Congress’s turn as a co-equal branch of government to make ours. I firmly believe that passage of this resolution will go down in history as the first stirrings of life from a Congress that has been in a stranglehold for four long years. It is an honor to be part of this history on behalf of one of the districts that had the courage to vote for change.“Murphy spoke in Congress Wednesday in support of a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to add 21,500 more combat troops in Iraq. Below is his prepared speech:Click here to read his speech on The Corner Report.