ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – On the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Congressman Ron Paul, member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement:
“The occupation of Iraq began five years ago today, but few realize that the march to war began ten years ago under Bill Clinton, when regime change became official U.S. policy. In 1998, I took to the House floor in protest of the Iraqi Liberation Act to warn that, ‘I see this legislation as essentially being a declaration of virtual war. It is giving the President tremendous powers to pursue war efforts against a sovereign Nation.’ My warnings were largely dismissed at the time, but five years later, we were bombing Iraq.
“After five years of occupation, today is a good time for reflection. The cost to America has been great: 4,000 soldiers are dead, 30,000 have been severely wounded, and over 100,000 have applied for disability. In addition, the war has put a tremendous strain on our economy. As we spiral toward recession and experience an assault on our dollar, we spend $12 billion per month financing our Iraqi operations. The war has cost us nearly $1 trillion dollars, or over $3,300 per American man, woman, and child.
“In a recent presidential debate, I was asked whether the war was ‘worth it.’ I said, and still say, ‘absolutely not.’ In addition to the tremendous costs to America, the war has been helpful to our enemies. The war has strengthened Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and Iran. And yet the other presidential candidates want to keep troops there for at least five more years. One even says we should keep American troops in Iraq for 100 years.
“As I have repeatedly said when discussing United States policy in Iraq, when you find yourself going the wrong way down a one-way street, you need to look for the nearest off-ramp. The only solution to the mess in Iraq is to promptly bring our troops home. Our bad policy spans at least ten years and two presidents and has had severe costs in lives and economic consequences. Continuing down the same road will solve nothing and compound our already substantial problems.”