Rep. Robert Wexler on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. From his email:
This evening will mark 5 years since President Bush officially launched his ill-conceived preemptive invasion of Iraq.
At the beginning of this war, whether we agreed with it or not, Congress and the American people saluted the brave service of the men and women of our military.
Today, five years later, it is well past time that we truly honor this service by bringing all American troops home from Iraq. This war has affected the lives of so many American families. The stories we hear from our friends, family members, and co-workers are truly heartbreaking – from the tragic losses of life and devastating injuries, to those who have returned but still suffer mental trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Many of us personally know one of the 4,000 soldiers who have died or one of nearly 40,000 Americans who have been wounded.
Many of us have a friend or family member who has had to suffer repeated 15-month tours – separated from family and often with little break in between assignments.
Beyond the personal losses that so many have endured, now all Americans are feeling the financial effects of the war, as the fruits of our economy (nearly $500 billion to date) are drained into this never-ending engagement. Just imagine the investments that could have been made if this money was spent here at home, rather than fueling this massive war machine half a world away.
This tragedy extends to innocent Iraqis as well. From children to their teachers, shopkeepers to waiters – even the low estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths are near 90,000. Some estimate the death toll to be in the hundreds of thousands.
Americans will sacrifice a great deal to protect our national security and to bring peace to troubled regions of the world. But what have we gained for all of our sacrifices in Iraq? Today, we are more vulnerable then ever with a rebuilding Al Qaeda, a resurgent Iran, and a totally destabilized Iraq.
Even worse, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney brought us into this calamity in Iraq based on deliberate lies and misdirection. The Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people with false claims of Iraqi nuclear weapons, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and Iraqi relations with Al Qaeda. These lies were fed with great enthusiasm by those who stood to benefit financially and politically from this war.
We must renew our call for a dramatic change of course. Last week in Congress, I introduced a resolution that condemns the Bush Administration for this unnecessary war and calls for an immediate redeployment of troops. Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor this important resolution.
It is time to confront the stark reality of our situation.
MoveOn.org is hosting vigils all around the country to protest the war. Click here to find the location nearest you. Other marches and protests will be held commemorating this sad anniversary. If you can't make it to one of them, might I ask you to consider joining in the Fax-in on Congress?