“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington, D.C. – On April 27, 2006, at 9 AM sharp, in Room 2325 of the Rayburn Building, on Capitol Hill, the highly-respected Chairwomen, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), called to order the second Congressional public forum on how to bring the troops home from Iraq. She is one of the cofounders of the House of Representatives’ “Out of Iraq Caucus.” One of the other cofounders of that anti-Iraqi War group is Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), an African-American member of the House of Representatives, who even before the March 20, 2003 invasion, dared to challenge the Bush-Cheney Gang, on the legality and morality of the blood stained conflict.
At the Forum, Lee also testified.  She said: “Everyone here knew early that there weren’t any Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. And for the most part, we sounded a clarion call way before the actual bogus debate took place on this issue. Now, we are beginning to see the public’s voice being heard a lot more prominently here [on Capitol Hill], finally. Before the war, we wanted the United Nations (UN) to continue with the inspection process. We did not need to go to war. The UN inspection process would determine if there were [any] WMD. Had our Resolution, which urged that route, and which was endorsed by 72 members [of the House of Representatives], passed, we wouldn’t be where we are today.” 
As of April 30, 2006, 2,400 brave American military personnel have been killed, another 17,469 have been wounded, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi have also been wiped out in the war.  A country of 27 million lies in ruins. The cost for treating the retuning veterans injured in the conflict, along with the economic impact of the war, could reach as high as one to two trillion dollars, according to some experts.  The effect on the troops as a result of their contact with the toxic depleted uranium also remains a serious problem, which hasn’t been properly addressed by the Bush-Cheney Gang. The cost of the Iraqi conflict now stands at a staggering $277.1 billion, and rising.  Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) recently pointed out that the federal government “could employ 4,269 elementary school teachers or 4,027 secondary school teachers for one year,” for the moneys it spends in Iraq in just one single day of combat. 
“As we look at this ‘Axis of Evil’ and ‘Preemptive War’ strategies of the Bush administration,” Lee underscored, “we have got to remember that history in terms of how this [government] got us into this war.” The ‘Axis of Evil’ phrase was coined by David Frum, one of the speechwriters for President George W. Bush’s war enflaming “State of the Union” address of Jan. 29, 2002. One of the countries that Frum was referring to was Iraq.  The ‘Preemptive War’ or “First Strike Doctrine” was a Dr. Strangelovian scheme devised by the then-Deputy Secretary of State, Paul Wolfowitz, a Neocon, and the prime architect of the Iraqi War. He now, incredibly, serves as head of the World Bank. 
Lee concluded her remarks by saying, “The Administration tried to convince the public that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and 9/11, Iraq and Saddam Hussein. And that just wasn’t the case. The ‘9/11 Commission’ verified that. Every report, every intelligence report indicated that. So, why in the world did this Administration do it? And, that is the question, we still have to ask as we move forward and talk about how we must bring our troops home and end this war right away.”
Finally, the late, great Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., had once wrote: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” I think if King were still around today, he would be proud of Rep. Barbara Lee, a very dedicated individual, indeed, and of her sterling efforts to stop the unjust Iraqi War and to bring all our troops home. Lee, who has been in the Congress, since 1998, represents the 9th district of California, which encompasses parts of Oakland and Alameda Counties in the Golden State.
]1]. Video of Rep. Barbara Lee’s remarks: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/iMovieTheater189.html. Photos of the “Out of Iraq Caucus” Forum: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/PhotoAlbum188.html . http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1681119,00.html . http://icasualties.org/oif/ . http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182 . http://democracyrising.us/content/view/352/165/ . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_of_evil . http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-1533085,00.html