|February 14, 2007|
|Caitlin Carroll |
CSPAN: Rep. Kay Granger
REP. KAY GRANGER: Mr. Speaker, Sunday afternoon, I drove about 20 miles to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Balint in willow Park, Texas. I had the honor of giving them the medal of commemorating their son, Paulie. The captains -- the parents of captain Balint talked about the pride of their son and his lifetime desire to serve in the military. They have never waffled in their belief that the war in Iraq is our nation's commitment. They experienced a loss no one ever wants to share while he was fighting to preserve our freedom and our way of life. As I wish them well and turned to leave, they asked me to bring a message back to Washington. They said to tell you to stay firm because we need to finish the job in Iraq. So I’m speaking today in memory of Paulie -- Paulie and his mother and father and those still fighting for us and listening to what we have to I will not speak by calling say into question anyone's patriotism or motives. All of us, republicans and democrats alike, recognize that much is at stake in Iraq and undoubtedly we all feel passionately about doing our duty to move forward and address what I consider to be the issue of our lives. The worldwide war against terrorists and a battleground of that war which is Iraq. This responsibility in this war has within discussed during this debate and I believe it's an important issue when addressing Iraq and addressing this resolution. Certainly in the change of direction the president has presented, the Iraqis have a clear responsibility to meet the goals of securing their own future. Likewise congress has a clear responsibility to produce meaningful legislation to provide effective oversight of our government's actions. Especially during time of war. Put another way our citizens hold their elected representatives accountable to craft legislation that results in meaningful and positive change. That is precisely what is so disappointingly unacceptable about this nonbinding bill which fails to do anything, which holds no one accountable, and does not move our country forward on this critical issue. Frankly those many who criticized the administration for staying the course too long are now presenting us with a bill that is a stay the course piece of legislation that both advocates failure and a position of status quo. More specifically the bill ignores two of the most important parts of our nation's role in Iraq, the consequences of failure and the principle support that we should provide our troops during times of war. Let's say we do redeploy, which means quit. Or let's say the congress takes the next step that's being talked about and that's stopping the funding in Iraq. Let's look clearly at the consequences of a failed state in Iraq, not only for America but for the world. Let there be no mistake, Iraq is but one front in a long war against a fanatical enemy who does not value human life and who seeks to destroy those who do. Failing to secure Iraq will result in massive instability in the Middle East which will undoubtedly spill over to the rest of the world. Consider the fractured nature of the Middle East and the nature of the dangerous threat we face. Iranian television stations routinely broadcast commercials that are designed to recruit would-be terrorists. In one ad specifically for children, cartoon characters entice them to be suicide bombers. Imagine a society that views indoctrinating 10-year-olds in the joys of martyrdom as a positive action. Yet that's precisely the hate filled enemy we face in this war where Iraq is just a battle. A failed Iraq would provide international terrorists fertile ground to sow the seeds of just that kind of hatred and thought. These terrorist groups are cold and brutal and fully dedicated to our destruction. In a failed Iraq terror organizations would employ the populace who is distrustful of person democracies, who turned their backs on them. These people would be ripe for terrorist recruitment. Just yesterday many of us met with the ambassadors of jordan and equipped who warned us of the consequences should we take the step steps -- next steps that have been hinted at during this debate and meetings held in congressional offices. America can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the past by withdrawing from a direct confrontation with radical terrorists. Should we retreat, the enemy will continue to intensify their attacks against America just as they did following the 1983 bombings of the marine barracks in Beirut, the first world trade center bombing in 1993, the 1996 attack on the khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa in 1997, and the brazen attack against the U.S.S. Cole in 2000.
Many of the speakers of this resolution have cited the widely accepted Iraq study group report which showed the consequences the world would face should we fail in Iraq. What they choose to ignore is that the bipartisan authors of this report stimulated that they would agree with a short-term surge of American forces to bolster security and train Iraqi forces, which is precisely what our new strategy does. Two weeks ago the national intelligence estimate on Iraq was published and it largely concurred with the findings of the study group of the results that failure in Iraq would bring. Retreat from Iraq would result in pervasive instability in the Middle East, encourage rogue regimes and give terrorists a secure base in which to launch attacks against free nations everywhere. No one disagrees that the situation in Iraq has become more dangerous. But let me be perfectly clear. The consequences of failure in this fight would be catastrophic. Not only for America but for the entire world. While this war is certainly a test of our resolve, America’s faced tough decisions during critical war years in the past. In 1862 debate over the civil war threatened the success of campaigns that our troops were engaged in. During the opening days of World War II while the troops were engaged in the fight for their lives, the pacific, congress bickered over strategies of isolationism based in fear. Now in 2007 we find ourselves in a fight of our generation. With all my heart I believe we stand at a crucial crossroad where the decision we make will affect not just us but our children and their children and generations to come. Our enemies have demonstrated that they are willing to kill us, even if they have to die themselves. Thankfully our service men and women are willing to bravely defend our freedom as we in congress go through the semantics of debating a nonbinding resolution. For this reason and all the other reasons I have outlined today I will not support a resolution that sends anything less than a clear message of support for our troops who are deployed in harm's way. As senator Joe Lieberman stated last week in the Senate, this bill is a resolution of irresolution. If you believe the president's new strategy is unsound, then offer a better solution to win. If that's where your convictions lie, then have the courage to act decisively and be ready to accept the consequences of your convictions. Now, that would be a resolution. The nonbinding resolution before us is at best confusing, at worst immoral. It pledges to support the troops in the field but washes its hands of what they are doing. We can't have it both ways. And we can't say that our military men and women have our full support while disapproving of their mission on the eve of their battle. The bill does not resolve to do anything. It doesn't offer a solution. It only offers political expedient top cover. It would be nice to play the game of nonbinding actions, but our soldiers and marines in Iraq don't have that option. And neither should we. In fact, the troops in Iraq if they cared to watch what we were doing in congress this week they would be outraged. Fortunately for us they have more important things to do and they live in a world where bullets are real and words alone carry little meaning. I'll close by asking all of you to picture yourself as an 18-year-old or 19-year-old marine or soldier preparing for eminent battle in Baghdad. This very moment you would be fueling your humvee, loading your ammunition, checking your gear and equipment, taking time out to pray a private, quiet prayer. If you're lucky you might be able to call family and friends to tell them how much you love them. All the while the back ever your hair is standing up and the back of your neck is itching because the support you feel that's necessary from your government is lacking. As you prepare for battle, the best of your elective representatives back home can do is debate a nonbinding resolution that has no real significance except to call in question the nation are you about to embark on. Quit? Unthinkable. Stop the funding while they are fighting, immoral. Stay the course and do nothing, outrageous. What the nation and our troops deserve is our best thinking and our best support. Thank you.