On November 14th I voted for and the House passed H.R. 4156, the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act. I believe this legislation is the most important bill the House takes up this year because it will bring an end to the war in Iraq by bringing our troops home safely, honorably, and responsibly.
The bill mandates the start of an immediate and orderly withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq within 30 days after enactment. It also requires that the reduction of forces be done in conjunction with comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategies involving Iraqs neighbors.
This legislation provides $50 billion for the cost of redeployment, not the $196.4 billion the President requested to keep the war going.
H.R. 4156 prohibits the use of torture on any person under U.S. custody. This is absolutely necessary because the Administration continues to defend this technique which is not sanctioned in the U.S. Army Field Manual.
The war in Iraq has taken a severe toll on our military. 1.5 million military personnel (or 30 percent of our military) have been deployed to Iraq more than once. Many of our soldiers are redeployed in less than a year. Our troops are exhausted, their equipment is shot and yet the President remains firmly committed to a Korea-like presence in Iraq for years. Our military readiness is severely threatened and our country is less safe today because of the Presidents ill-conceived and botched-up execution of this war.
The legislation recognizes our military readiness is at its lowest point since the Vietnam War and in order to reverse this, the bill requires that the President certify to Congress 15 days prior to deployment that our armed forces are fully mission capable.
The Presidents justification for the surge was that reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible. By all accounts, including the August 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the Iraqi governments political progress is stalled. The NIE stated that the Iraqi Government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance. The NIE goes on to state that broadly accepted political compromises required for sustained security . . . are unlikely to emerge unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political developments. It is clear from this NIE that the Iraqi government has done little if anything to initiate political reconciliation. This legislation sends a strong message that our military commitment in Iraq is not open ended.
I will continue to do everything I can to bring this war to an end and bring our troops home safely and soon.
Should you have any questions or comments, let me hear from you.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress