FAIRFIELD, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, today congratulated President Barack Obama for committing to bring all U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of the year. He issued the following statement:
"President Obama has put America’s national security and the wellbeing of our brave men and women in uniform first by committing to bring our troops home from Iraq by the end of the year. I want to congratulate President Obama for definitively ending this misguided war. Airmen at Travis Air Force Base will play a critical role in bringing our service members home, and I look forward to thanking many of them in person soon.
"Every American willing to risk everything for our country is a hero and deserves a hero’s welcome. I recently visited Walter Reed hospital, where I met with wounded warriors and saw first-hand the devastating effects of war – sometimes visible but often psychological. My staff is prepared to help every returning combat veteran in our district gain access to the resources they need to live long and fulfilling lives.
"It is the job of the military to defend America. It is the job of Congress to make sure that we never put our troops needlessly in harm’s way, and I would be negligent in my duties if I didn’t examine what the Iraq War means for the security of America. I was opposed to the Iraq War from Day One, because I thought it was a war of choice that distracted our country from the very real threat of al Qaeda.
"As we’ve seen in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, people-powered movements, sometimes with international assistance, offer a far more effective and affordable opportunity to rid the world of tyrannical regimes.
"Iraq’s future is now in the hands of Iraqis, and I wish them all the best. America still has a role in helping the people of Iraq transition to a freer, fairer, more democratic, and more prosperous country that respects human rights. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I know that an American hand extended in friendship can transform lives and even reshape the hearts and minds of people who have been traumatized by the specter of war. With America’s military involvement in Iraq now over, I hope our country remains committed to being a productive voice in the peace building process."