WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement after Saddam Hussein was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging:
"Today, justice was served when the deposed Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein was convicted of crimes against humanity for the murder of 148 villagers in al-Dujail in 1982. That number is but a small percentage of those that Saddam is believed to have ordered slaughtered.
"Tragically, I believe today's verdict does not change the fact that the Administration's policy in Iraq has been the most incompetent execution of American foreign policy in my lifetime.
"It is telling that gunfire between the Iraqi Army and Sunni insurgents punctuated the announcement of this verdict. Unfortunately, the conviction of Hussein does nothing to improve the situation on the ground in Iraq, which even the Defense Department has concluded is edging towards chaos. More than 2,825 American servicemen and women have given their lives in Iraq; the American taxpayer has spent $350 billion on this war; $8.8 billion in reconstruction funds remain missing; and 14,030 semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weapons that the Pentagon began supplying to Iraq since the end of 2003 are unaccounted for, having possibly landed in the hands of the insurgents and the militias.
"The Republican-led Congress has been complicit in our failure to secure and stabilize Iraq. The Rubber-Stamp Republican Congress has failed to ask the tough questions and conduct real oversight. The Republicans shamelessly tucked into the FY07 Defense Authorization bill a provision to close the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction --- the very office which has courageously documented the waste, fraud and abuse taking place in Iraq. This is another example of the continuing Republican policy of cover-up and lack of accountability.
"The conviction of Saddam Hussein was just. But the failed policies of the Bush Administration, Secretary Rumsfeld and Ambassador Bremer have left a legacy of chaos, insecurity and death. Our brave servicemen and women certainly deserve better, the American people deserve better, and the Iraqi people deserve better. It is time for a new direction in Iraq."
Congressman Hoyer is the Federal Representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Maryland. The Fifth District encompasses all of southern Maryland. Members of the United States House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Mr. Hoyer also serves as the Minority Whip. The Minority Whip is a member of the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives who assists the Minority Leader in coordinating the party caucus in its responses to legislation and other matters.
Mr. Hoyer's website is located at http://www.hoyer.house.gov/. His office can be reached at (202) 225-4131. More biographical info on Mr. Hoyer can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steny_Hoyer.