On October 10, 2002, Congressman Rothman voted, along with U.S. Senator John Kerry and the majority of the U.S. Congress, to authorize the use of U.S. military force against Iraq necessary to defend the national security of the U.S. and to enforce all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
At the time, Congressman Rothman stated that “Now, especially in the light and shadow of September 11, there is a new immediacy and power to Saddam Hussein’s longstanding and oft-stated threats against America. For years, Saddam Hussein has been a well-known patron and financier of some of the world’s most lethal anti-American terrorist and terrorist organizations. Now, al Qaeda has joined him….The thought of Saddam Hussein sending these same al-Qaeda ‘martyrs’ to America to spray chemical or biological poisons over America’s reservoirs in our most populated cities, is a thought so horrifying, yet so real a possibility, that I cannot in good conscience especially after the surprise attack of Sept. 11, permit this to happen”.
On December 7, 2005, Congressman Rothman signed on as a co-sponsor of Rep. Jack Murtha’s bill calling for the redeployment of all U.S. troops from Iraq. The bill stated in part that U.S. forces had become the target of the insurgency, 45 percent of the Iraqi people felt that the attacks on U.S. forces were justified, and recent polls in Iraq showed that 80% of the Iraqi people wanted the U.S. forces out of their country.
On February 22, 2006 in a press conference, Congressman Rothman became the first member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to publicly call for a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
In an op-ed for The Record newspaper the next day, Congressman Rothman stated that “After September 11th, along with most members of Congress and the majority of the American people, I believed President Bush when he told us that terrorist acts by Saddam Hussein’s agents were ‘imminent,’ would involve ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ and would take place ‘on American soil’. I accepted his counsel that all of these terrible things would be prevented if we removed Saddam Hussein from power. Now we know that Saddam possessed no weapons of mass destruction and there was no such imminent threat. If I knew at the time of my vote what I know now, I would never have supported the President’s invasion of Iraq.”