Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) announces that the Massachusetts Senate today joined the growing outcry over the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy by approving a resolution calling on Congress to stop the planned escalation and begin bringing our troops home.
“At a time when many Americans are calling for a time table for redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq,” explains Downing, co-sponsor of the resolution, “passage of today’s resolution sends a clear message to Congress that a policy calling for a troop surge is not what we want, nor is it what the situation needs.”
The resolution, which was read into the record during today’s Senate session, opposes the Bush Administration’s escalation plan and calls on Congress to explore using its budgetary powers to reduce troop levels in Iraq, with an eye toward ultimate withdrawal, and to provide better health care services for military personnel. Copies of the resolution will be sent to President Bush, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and the U.S. Congress.
This is the second action the Massachusetts Senate has taken recently regarding veterans’ issues. Last week, the Senate approved a resolution by State Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) that calls on Congress to increase funding for veterans’ services above the 6% increase proposed by President Bush.
RESOLUTION OPPOSING ESCALATION IN IRAQ
Stan Rosenberg, Robert O’Leary, Karen E. Spilka
Michael W. Morrissey, Jarret T. Barrios, Edward M. Augustus, Patricia D. Jehlen,
Susan C. Tucker, Robert L. Hedlund, Pamela Resor, Mark Montigny, Cynthia Stone Creem, Marc R. Pacheco, Benjamin B. Downing, Steven C. Panagiotakos, Harriette L. Chandler, Thomas M. McGee, Dianne Wilkerson, Gale D. Candaras
WHEREAS, THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES ARE COMPRISED OF THE FINEST AND BRAVEST MEN AND WOMEN IN THE WORLD; AND
WHEREAS, THE CITIZENS OF THE COMMONWEALTH HAVE THE GREATEST PRIDE IN THE MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED FORCES AND STRONGLY SUPPORT THEM; AND
WHEREAS, THESE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE CONSISTENTLY AND UNWAVERINGLY PLACED THEMSELVES IN HARMS WAY TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES; AND
WHEREAS, MORE THAN 3,000 OF THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE AND GIVEN THEIR LIVES AND OVER 22,000 MEN AND WOMEN HAVE BEEN WOUNDED AND DISABLED IN DEFENSE OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE COURSE OF THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ; AND
WHEREAS, THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE SELFLESSLY PERFORMED THEIR DUTIES IN IRAQ WITH EXCELLENCE, PATRIOTISM AND BRAVERY IN THE FINEST TRADITIONS OF OUR ARMED FORCES UNDER INTENSE AND TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING ENDURING ADDITIONAL COMBAT TOURS OF DUTY; AND
WHEREAS, THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF HAS PROPOSED AN ESCALATION IN THE NUMBER OF U.S. TROOPS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ; AND
WHEREAS, THIS PROPOSED ESCALATION MAY FURTHER EXTEND THE TOURS OF MASSACHUSETTS NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS IN IRAQ ;AND
WHEREAS, A SIGNIFICANT BURDEN HAS BEEN BORNE BY THE NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ WITH 320 MASSACHUSETTS NATIONAL GUARDSMEN CURRENTLY SERVING AND A TOTAL OF 3,100 WHO HAVE SERVED THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE CONFLICT; AND
WHEREAS, THE LOSS OF LIFE, THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL TRAUMAS SUFFERED AND THE DISRUPTION OF FAMILY LIFE ARE AMONG THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OF THOSE BURDENS; AND
WHEREAS, AS OF JANUARY 2007, MORE THAN $357 BILLION HAS BEEN APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS TO FUND MILITARY OPERATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION IN IRAQ; AND
WHEREAS, THESE FUNDS, HAD THEY NOT BEEN EXPENDED FOR THIS PURPOSE, COULD HAVE FUNDED EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION, PUBLIC SAFETY AND OTHER PROGRAMS AND SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES; AND
WHEREAS, THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES HAS WITHIN ITS AUTHORITY THE ABILITY TO LIMIT FUNDING OF ALL MILITARY MATTERS THEREBY LIMITING ESCALATION AND/OR FORCING REDEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS; AND
Whereas, the Congress of the United States has the authority to pass legislation providing full benefits, adequate health care and other needed services to ALL U.S. service men and women and their families and to fully fund such services; THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, THAT THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATE, ON BEHALF OF THE CITIZENS OF THE COMMONWEALTH, URGES THAT THE UNITED STATES MOVE TOWARDS A REDUCTION IN TROOPS AND WITHDRAWAL OF THE US ARMED FORCES FROM IRAQ, AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS WORK TOGETHER TO DEVELOP A PLAN FOR EXPEDITING AN END TO OUR MILITARY ENGAGEMENT IN IRAQ; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT A SUITABLE COPY OF THIS RESOLUTION SHALL BE SENT TO GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO THE MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, AND TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS.