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The Honorable John P. Murtha
Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Room H-149 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Murtha,
As we enter the sixth year of the Iraq War, we urge you to draft a new supplemental appropriations bill that will direct the president to immediately begin the orderly removal of all U.S troops from Iraq and complete this process as quickly and safely as possible.
The Iraq War has taken the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers and caused the death and displacement of millions of Iraqis. Congress has already approved $500 billion for the war in direct costs. Our nation faces trillions in additional costs to care for veterans’ injuries suffered in the course of this conflict, not to mention the costs of financing the war. This waste of federal dollars comes at a time when our nation faces an economic recession. The war has hollowed out our military, diverted resources from the battle against al Qaeda and from homeland security, and deeply damaged our reputation abroad.
Despite clear mandates from your subcommittee and Congress to seek a change in course, Senate Republicans and President Bush have combined to veto measures calling for a sensible withdrawal from Iraq. In January, the President went even further, issuing a signing statement saying that his administration is not bound by the provision in the 2008 Defense Authorization Act that bars the use of appropriated funds in this Act for the construction of permanent American military bases and U. S. control over Iraqi oil resources. He also rejected language to establish an independent, bipartisan "Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan" to investigate allegations of waste, mismanagement, and excessive force by contractors.
Furthermore, at the end of last year, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki signed a “Declaration of Principles” providing an outline for negotiating an “enduring” U.S.-Iraq relationship for security, economic, political, diplomatic, and cultural relations. President Bush has rejected the notion that Congress has a role in these negotiations over the future U.S. presence in Iraq.
With these actions, the president has made clear his intention to stay the course in Iraq while deepening the U.S. military commitment for an indefinite time and attempting to tie the hands of the next president. Mr. Chairman, it is past time to bring the Iraq war to an end. The costs are too great to allow it to continue indefinitely. The best course of action in the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill is to provide funding only for the safe and timely redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq and end the occupation.
As part of a responsible redeployment, we support funding for a diplomatic offensive as suggested by the Iraq Study Group. Greater resources and resolve for diplomacy to end the Iraq War are needed for a comprehensive solution.
In addition, we strongly urge you to cease funding for military construction in Iraq and for U.S. military contractors in Iraq. Given the president’s use of signing statements on these issues, the only way to ensure compliance with Congress’ directives is to remove such funding.
Finally, we ask that it be made clear that no funds will be made available for any formal U.S.-Iraq agreement based upon the Bush-Maliki “Declaration of Principles” unless the agreement is approved by Congress and the Iraqi parliament.
Thank you for your continued leadership in the effort to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. Your courage and tenacity in the face of attacks and criticisms is most admirable. We are eager to work with you and your colleagues in the critical weeks and months ahead to end the debacle in Iraq and bring our men and women in uniform home.
The Win Without War Coalition
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities
Center for International Policy (CIP)
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Council for a Livable World
Fourth Freedom Forum
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
National Council of Churches
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Pax Christi USA
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Psychologists for Social Responsibility
The Tikkun Community
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church: General Board of Church and Society
United for Peace and Justice
US Labor Against War
Veterans For Peace
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
Artists United to Win Without War
Musicians United to Win Without War