Statement Of Congresswoman Barbara Lee Opposing Military Action In Iraq

Washington, DC B Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) today joined Representative Dennis Kucinich in condemning proposed attacks on Iraq after a hearing that included the testimony of Scott Ritter, Former Chief Weapons Inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq.

“I have been deeply worried about the expansion and escalation of military action since Congress’s vote last September to grant the President such sweeping war making authority,” Congresswoman Lee stated. “Now, with rising calls from members of the Bush Administration and some members of Congress demanding war with Iraq and increasingly dangerous rhetoric from the President himself, those fears are becoming a reality.”

“We have seen no evidence tying Iraq to the atrocities of September 11th, and our own allies, not only in the capitals of the Middle East but in Europe, Asia, and Africa as well, are strongly opposed to an assault on Iraq,” the Congresswoman continued.

“Today, we are at a critical crossroads and there has been far too little honest and open debate about where our policies should go from here. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has held hearings on the Iraqi question, but key witnesses such as Scott Ritter, Former Chief Weapons Inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, were excluded from participation in that dialogue.”

“This hearing today seeks to broaden that debate and ask crucial questions regarding security priorities and international opinion, among others. I am working as well to raise similar issues within the House International Relations Committee. A U.S. invasion of Iraq escalating and expanding conflict in the Middle East without constitutional authority, international support, or legal justification would represent a tragedy of immense proportions. Members of Congress must stand up and oppose this dangerous course of action and work to promote a policy that advances real U.S. security interests through renewed U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq and engagement rather than invasion.”