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“I have delivered these speeches as a member of the majority and the minority…when the President was a member of my party and when he was not. And today, I am doing it for the 400th time. 

“When I began, we were just one year removed from the invasion of Iraq. The war was still quite popular, as was the president who launched it. But we spoke out anyway, refusing to bend on principle. My colleagues Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and I – ‘the Triad’, we called ourselves -- started the Out of Iraq Caucus, and we forced the first House vote to bring our troops home. Along the way, I visited Iraq, a trip that confirmed my feelings about the war, even as it increased my admiration for our troops. 

“Gradually, the tide of public opinion turned. President Bush lost the confidence of the American people and eventually had to start winding down the war. I don’t believe that would have happened unless a few lonely voices had dared to be heard in those early days.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I’m also frustrated. Because nearly a decade after the first American boots hit the ground in Afghanistan…here we are. Still at war. Still occupying sovereign countries, on missions that aren’t making us safer or advancing our interests. 

“The cost has been devastating. Over 6,100 Americans are dead. Thousands more civilians have died for the cause of their so-called liberation. Thousands of U.S. servicemembers have come home alive but may never be the same, either because of physical wounds or mental health trauma, which can destroy lives just as well. 

“In addition to the staggering $3.2 trillion price tag that has piled up over the last 10 years, I don’t think we’ve even come to grips with the resources the V.A. will need for the next 50 years to meet the responsibility we have to our veterans as a result of these wars.

“I’m not suggesting we abandon the people of Afghanistan or Iraq. Anti-war doesn’t mean anti-engagement or anti-security. The underlying principle behind my 400 speeches has been that we need a completely different approach to protecting America, one that emphasizes diplomacy, reconciliation and peaceful conflict resolution. 

“From the beginning, I’ve been pushing my own solution called Smart Security -- fighting terrorism with better intelligence and multilateral cooperation; with a stronger nuclear nonproliferation program; with humanitarian and economic aid that will give hope to people around the world; with less spending on weapons systems and more on homeland security, human rights monitoring and energy independence.

“Most importantly, Smart Security insists that war be an absolute last resort. Because, for the sake of the future of the human race, we must – and we can – figure out a way to resolve our differences without resorting to violence and warfare.

“I will continue to do this for my remaining year and a half in Congress, giving as many of these speeches as I can. Madam Speaker, I will not rest until we finally bring all our troops home and we adopt a Smart Security approach to preventing war and preserving peace.”