Four Years After the Iraq Vote

The President came to Congress in October 2002 and asked Congress to authorize force against Iraq.  I voted against giving the President this authority, and parted ways with most of my colleagues in Congress.  This was not a popular vote at the time, but it was the right vote.  I was proud of my vote then, and I am proud of it now.

I have remained an outspoken critic of President Bush's policies in Iraq.  There was no connection between the events of 9/11 and the Saddam Hussein regime.  The Bush Administration distorted and misused intelligence information about Saddam Hussein's actual WMD capacity.  Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons, and did not pose an imminent threat to the United States.

During the debate in 2002, I stated on the House floor that I had “grave concerns Finally, I stated: “The United States will need the help of its allies as it attempts to transition Iraq from a dictatorship to a democracy."

Unfortunately, I was correct on all these counts.  We need an immediate change of course in Iraq, one that includes a draw down of U.S. combat troops.  The Iraqis need to start taking responsibility for the defense of their own country.
I also have called on the United States to convene an international conference on Iraq.  Such a conference should achieve three primary goals.  First, it should produce a verifiable cease-fire.  Second, it would establish a mechanism for the completion of the training of Iraqi security forces.  Finally, it would coordinate all international humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the new Iraqi government.