Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, whose 46th District covers eastern portions of Long Beach, the city waterfront and the port, on Tuesday accused the Iraqi people of being ungrateful for American sacrifices since the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and blamed sectarian violence in the country on Iraqi 'bloodlust.'
Rohrabacher's comments came during a session of the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight which had been called to discuss sovereignty and stability issues in Iraq. Offering testimony during the hearing were two members of the Iraqi government's Council of Representatives, Saleh al Mutlaq and Ayad Allawi. The two spoke on Iraq's future and the importance of the country's upcoming national elections.
Speaking to the panel, Mutlaq called for a "moral and responsible" withdrawal of U.S. troops adding that the U.S. invasion of his country was "irresponsible."
Allawi, who also previously served as Iraqi interim Prime Minister of the post-invasion government, raised concerns that sectarian violence could impact the results of the upcoming January election. Allawi called for monitoring of the elections by the U.S., the United Nations, the Arab League and other non-governmental organizations.
Rohrabacher, who is the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, took exception to the Iraqi officals' comments.
"I have never heard one word of gratitude from the Iraqi people about the 4,300 Americans who lost their lives," Rohrabacher said. "We went to Iraq to try and free your people and now we're being blamed for sectarian violence. Don't blame us because that type of bloodlust exists in your society."
Mutlaq replied, "You were the ones who pushed your troops. We did not invite you."
Rohrabacher, according to witnesses, then threw up his hands and stormed out of the room.
Following Rohrabacher's departure from the hearing, subcommittee chairman Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-MA, informed the Iraqi officials that weapons of mass destruction, and not Iraqi freedom, were the reason the U.S. invaded Iraq.
Numerous international groups have estimated that in addition to combatants killed on both sides of the conflict, the total Iraqi civilian violent death toll due to the Iraq War now exceeds 1.2 million people.