Last week Congress considered a non-binding resolution disapproving of the President's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. The additional troops are part of General David Petraeus' new strategy to combat sectarian violence in Baghdad. The resolution was offered for political purposes and does nothing to help our troops accomplish their important mission. I was proud to join 181 of my colleagues in opposing the resolution.

Democrats have called for a new Secretary of Defense, new leadership on the ground in Iraq, and a new strategy. We now have a new Secretary of Defense and a new Commander in Iraq who are working with the Iraqis to implement a new strategy. I believe we should give the new strategy a chance to succeed.

Democratic efforts to be part of the solution in Iraq have proved disappointing thus far in the 110th Congress. As Republican Leader John Boehner stated, we don't need a resolution about Iraq, we need resolve. If the Democrats have an alternative strategy for success in Iraq, now is the time for serious discussion and debate. But plans for immediate withdrawal and the elimination of funding to troops in the field would only lead to certain defeat.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I serve on the Subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations. One of our primary responsibilities should be to focus on serious oversight efforts for our mission on the ground. We must work cooperatively on crafting policies that will aid the effort to fight the spread of terrorism and Islamic extremism around the world.

As my colleague Representative Pete Hoekstra passionately argued, "We are not at war with a tactic. We are at war with a group of militant Islamists who hate us and who hate much of the rest of the world." I agree with Mr. Hoekstra. I also share the belief of many that this is not a new war, that in many ways we have been fighting the effects of Islamic extremism since the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. Only now the war is on America's doorstep.

Now is the time to face this challenge. We must continue to fight the terrorists in Iraq, or we will have to fight them elsewhere. When the United States pulled out of Somalia precipitously in the early 1990s, Osama Bin Laden used that as an example of America's lack of will to fight and used it as a recruiting tool. If we hand Al-Qaeda a victory in Iraq, it will embolden terrorists to attack us more; it will not pacify them.

While this resolution lacked the force of law, next month my colleagues and I will have the opportunity to vote on the Department of Defense's supplemental funding request. Included in this request is $5.6 billion in funding to pay for the troop increase. This will give us all the opportunity to support the troops by approving funding critical for the success of their mission.

I am disappointed that this resolution ultimately passed the House of Representatives. I believe its passage only served to hurt the morale of our troops who are serving abroad while doing nothing to solve our problems in Iraq. So far similar resolutions have been blocked in the Senate. I look forward to voting on meaningful legislation that will truly impact our strategy in Iraq and provide the resources our troops need to help keep America secure.


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