Barbara Boxer makes me proud to be a California voter. In her speech May 24 on the Senate floor, Senator Boxer explained why she was joining many other principled Democrats and a few Republicans in opposing a funding bill stripped of benchmarks and a timetable for our soldiers to leave Iraq. Good for them for standing firm with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and saying "No!" to a blank check to fund the president's failed efforts in Iraq.
"In March and in April I voted for emergency spending legislation that would have fully funded our troops in Iraq, but also changed their mission to a sound one. That mission would have taken our troops out of the middle of a civil war, and put them into a support role, training Iraqi soldiers and police, fighting al Qaeda, and protecting our troops.
"The President will not agree to that. As a matter of fact, the President won't agree to any change in strategy in Iraq, and that is more than a shame for the American people; it is a tragedy. It doesn't seem to matter how many Americans die in Iraq, how many funerals we have here at home, or what the American people think. The President won't budge.
"This new bill on Iraq keeps the status quo. With a few frills around the outside, a few reports, a few words about benchmarks. While our troops die.
"I understand why this particular legislation is before us today. It's because this President wants to continue his one man show in Iraq. The President doesn't respect this Congress or the American people when it comes to Iraq. He wants to brush us all off like some annoying spot on his jacket.
"We have lost 3,427 American soldiers in Iraq. Of those, 731 (21%) have been from California or based in California. There are 25,549 American soldiers wounded. And today, after several days of worrying and praying, we received the tragic news of the death of Private Joseph J. Anzack JR., 20 years old, of Torrance, California, who was abducted during a deadly ambush south of Baghdad almost two weeks ago.
"One member of his platoon, Spc. Daniel Seitz, summed it up this way to the Associated Press: "It just angers me that it's just another friend I've got to lose and deal with, because I've already lost 13 friends since I've been here and I don't know if I can take any more of this."
"And he shouldn't have to. But with this bill, he will.The first half of this year has already been deadlier than any six-month period since the war began more than four years ago. In this month alone, 83 U.S. Service members have already been killed in Iraq.
"Let me be clear, there are many things in this bill that I strongly support--many provisions that I actually fought for, for our troops, for our veterans, for our farmers, and for the victims of Hurricane Katrina--but I must take a stand against this Iraq war and therefore I will vote no on this emergency spending bill."