WASHINGTON (March 20, 2013) — U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement 10 years after the United States invaded Iraq:
“Ten years ago, our leaders made the costly and tragic decision to invade Iraq. Today, we commemorate the sacrifice of American troops and commit ourselves to never again send our men and women into war without a plan worthy of their sacrifice.
“In 2003, the Bush administration took us to war in Iraq claiming that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to al Qaeda have been disproven. Because of the Bush Administration’s decision, more than 1.5 million Americans were sent into harm’s way, and 4,500 American military men and women lost their lives.
“The American taxpayer will be paying for the Iraq War for decades to come. We will ultimately spend roughly $2.2 trillion on the war, and up to $4 trillion including interest payments, over 3,000 percent more than the Bush Administration’s initially estimates. Along with the war in Afghanistan and the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq War remains one of the largest contributors to our deficit.
“It is our responsibility as Americans and public officials to make sure our leaders never again take us into a war of choice without adequate public debate and discussion. And it is our responsibility to make sure every veteran is able to find a job when they return from war. With the unemployment rate for veterans after September 11 higher than the overall rate, too many of our troops still struggle to find work.
“As we wind down a decade of wars and turn to nation-building at home, we must never forget the lessons of Iraq.”