By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, delivered her 400th speech against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the House floor Tuesday.
Woolsey, a former Petaluma city councilwoman who was elected to Congress in 1992, began by noting that her series of anti-war speeches — delivered every day Congress was in session — began in April 2004, a year after the invasion of Iraq.
“And so since that day, I’ve stood here in this spot to say over and over again that these wars are eroding our spiritual core; bankrupting us morally and fiscally; teaching our children that warfare is ‘the new normal,’” she said.
Woolsey noted that the Iraq war and former President Bush were “quite popular” in 2004, but that “gradually, the tide of public opinion turned” and the war began “winding down.”
Two polls support her contention.
Pew Research Center found in April 2003 that 74 percent of respondents felt the U.S. was right to use force in Iraq and 19 percent felt it was wrong. Last September, 41 percent said it was right; 51 percent wrong.
CBS News Polls in August 2003 found a virtual tie on the question of whether the Iraq war was worth the loss of American lives and other costs: 46 percent said yes; 45 percent no. Last August, 20 percent said the war was worth the costs; 72 percent said it was not.
Woolsey said she is “proud of what we have accomplished” but also frustrated because the wars continue, with more than 6,100 Americans dead and $3.2 trillion spent over 10 years.
Woolsey, who announced last month that she will retire next year after completing 20 years in Congress, said she will give “as many of these speeches as I can” in her remaining year and a half in office.