Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke Tuesday night at an event at which Democratic Senators and Congressmen, Iraq war veterans, military families, and concerned citizens called for Republicans to stop obstructing and join us to change of course in Iraq. Following are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“It is dark in Washington. It is dawn in Baghdad. Six thousand miles from here, 160,000 American troops are awakening to a new day – the 1,582nd day of this war. One hundred sixty- thousand of our sons, daughters, parents, friends and neighbors, are rising on foreign sand to face another day of violence, chaos and constant danger.
“The high temperature in Baghdad today is 113 degrees. But our troops will wear their 100 pounds of gear and bravely go about the jobs that they are given. By nightfall, it is likely that some of them will die. It is certain that more will be wounded. The rest will end another day on foreign sand, not knowing when they will come home to American soil.
“Those 160,000 troops are heroes. Every single one of them. They are serving with courage despite enormous hardships and without even proper equipment. They are serving with courage despite a President who took us into war falsely, prematurely and recklessly. They are serving with courage despite a President who refused to form a coalition of nations to share their awful burden of sacrifice. They are serving with courage despite a President who has never had a plan for peace. And they are serving with courage despite Republicans in Congress who are blocking us from passing laws that will bring a responsible end to the war.
“I want everyone here tonight – every American from coast to coast – to know that we won’t stop fighting until we end this war. That is what this night is all about.
“But we all know this debate won’t end tonight. It won’t end because for all the encouraging words we’ve heard from some Republicans these past few weeks, too few of them are willing to vote the right way too. It won’t end because the majority of Republicans continue to ignore the will of the majority of Americans – and continue to protect the President instead of our troops.
“You are holding candles tonight to honor those troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice and all of those who remain in harm’s way. But you are also holding candles to shine a bright light on the Republicans in Congress who continue to stand in the way of progress. You will keep the pressure on them. We will keep the pressure on them. And together, you – and we – will deliver the new direction that our troops and all Americans demand and deserve.”