Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Now, the scientific world speaks of necessary and sufficient conditions in order to bring about change. This resolution is a necessary condition to bring about change in Iraq, to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Only time will tell if this is a sufficient condition. I fear that it will not be.

There is nothing that has been done so far with regard to U.N. resolutions and Saddam's unwillingness to abide by them that gives me any confidence that this will be a sufficient condition. That is why this resolution is so important. It puts forward necessary conditions. But also, if those are not sufficient, we give the President the authority to go in and actually use the means of force to bring about our objective.

I applaud the President, Speaker, the Minority Leader and others who have sought to put this together in a way that it could bring support from the Congress. I urge support of the resolution. And yield back the balance of my time.

Chairman HYDE. I thank the gentleman.

The gentlelady from Nevada, Ms. Berkley.

Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this very important hearing. Much of what I have to say has been said by others, and said quite eloquently, but I would appreciate the opportunity to put my thoughts on the record.

Iraq, under the tyrannical dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, has been in violation of 16 different United Nation resolutions over the past decade, resolutions passed to ensure that Iraq dismantle its chemical and biological programs, and destroy any remaining weapons of mass destruction.

Ensuring compliance with these U.N. resolutions, which represent the will of the international community, is essential. Iraq has demonstrated its willingness to use these horrific weapons in battle and against its own people. One particularly gruesome example occurred in the late 1980s when Saddam Hussein's military unleashed deadly chemical gas attacks over entire villages in Iraq, killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

Given Saddam Hussein's 11-year record of defying and misleading the international community, I believe the United States, its allies, and the United Nations are justified in their efforts to rid Iraq of biological and chemical weapons. Month by month, Saddam Hussein increases his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, while he aggressively works to build nuclear weapons.

September 11th taught us that there are those who would use any means to harm innocent Americans. I am increasingly concerned about weapons of mass destruction being transferred from Iraq to terrorists like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, bent on attacking Americans.

The United States should seek to achieve this objective with as little risk to Americans and the Iraqi civilian population as possible. However, we must act, and act decisively, to permanently disarm Saddam Hussein, because the cost of lives and misery if we don't act will be incalculable. It is not a matter of choosing between war and peace. It is a matter of choosing between war on our terms or war on Saddam Hussein's terms.

Before any action is taken, the President is right in seeking approval of Congress, and I appreciate that and applaud that. I com

mend him for that. Further, it is important that we continue to make every effort to marshal international support. The changes to the original proposal, that have been agreed to by the Administration, have improved the original resolution.

I am mindful of my duty and responsibility on this occasion, and I shall be voting in favor of the resolution before us. I yield back the balance of my time.

Chairman HYDE. Thank the gentlelady.

The gentlelady from the Mother of Presidents, Virginia, Ms. Davis.

Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, as you know, I very rarely give opening statements, but I appreciate the patience to be able to give one on such an important matter.

Let me start by saying that, from the beginning, I have had reservations about this decision, and I share the same concerns as my colleague from Colorado, Mr. Tancredo, with regards to retaliation on our own soil, as well as the possibility of the state of Israel. Both I believe to be very, very strong possibilities.

What we are about to undertake is of monumental proportions, and as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and one who represents a very heavy military district, I know all too well the effect that our decision to take military action against Iraq will have on the course of our Nation-for decades, I am afraid. However, we must move forward with this resolution against Iraq for the preservation of our own way of life. We cannot and shall not and will not live in fear.

This decision will, however, impact the lives of the men and women who serve our Nation. We must assure them that this war will be fought swiftly, with all intent to win, to win decisively, and to have a clear exit strategy. I don't take this vote lightly because I do represent the very men and women who will leave the ports in Virginia to face evil and risk their lives for our freedom.

With all that said, Mr. Chairman, after eight or nine classified and open briefings in the Armed Services Committee and many hearings in this Committee, I believe that we must move, and we must act and pass this resolution. I believe we must do it now. And for that reason, I will be voting "yes" on this resolution.

And I thank you for your time, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. I thank the gentlelady.

The gentleman from California, Mr. Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Saddam Hussein has killed hundreds of thousands of people. He has gassed his own people, he has risked his life several times, all in an effort to expand his power. If he had a nuclear weapon, he could smuggle it into an American city, because after all, a nuclear weapon is about the size of a person. He could hide it in an apartment and then could invade Kuwait or Saudi Arabia with impunity.

We must prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons. The question is, what resolution will best achieve that goal?

I will vote for final passage of whatever resolution this Committee finally agrees to, but I hope that we will come up with a

different resolution than the one presented by the Chair, although as I say, I will support that if that is the final vote of this markup. There are two approaches that can be taken to try to prevent Saddam from developing nuclear weapons. One is what I call the Powell-Blair approach, which is to authorize the use of force only if inspectors are thwarted. The other is what I would call the Cheney or Richard Perle approach, which is to invade Iraq regardless of whether Saddam will allow unrestricted inspections.

I think this Committee and this Congress should choose and authorize one of them. Instead, we have a resolution which, while it gives some advice to the President, authorizes the President to either use the Powell-Blair approach or the Cheney approach.

Accordingly, I will introduce an amendment in the nature of a substitute which will differ from the Chairman's mark in several respects.

First, the "whereas" clauses will describe only the nuclear threat and threat of other weapons of mass destruction that Iraq poses. It will not mention those U.N. resolutions that call upon Saddam to treat his own people with justice and fairness. That is because we should not give as a reason for the use of force the abuse of human rights by Saddam, which will raise the question in the world, what about other countries that are not democracies or that violate human rights? We must have reasons for the use of force that relate exclusively to the weapons of mass destruction.

Second, the amendment I will put forward will authorize the use of force only if Iraq fails to promptly agree and allow an effective weapons inspection and disarmament program, and-or if Iraq interferes with that program after agreeing to it. It will define an effective inspection and disarmament program as requiring immediate, unobstructed, and unannounced entry into all facilities, including, of course, those so-called "presidential palaces."

Finally, the amendment will direct the President to seek a U.N. resolution to achieve these inspections, but it will not condition the President's authority to use force on the U.N.'s action, because we should not endanger the security of the United States just because we can't get France or China or Russia to vote for a particular resolution.

I hope we go to the U.N. I hope we get the kind of U.N. resolution that Powell is seeking. But we will have to act as if we have that support from the United Nations whether we get it or not, unless we are willing to perhaps risk American cities based upon the vote of one of the other members of the Security Council.

As a matter of the technical rules of this Committee, I may have to offer this amendment in the nature of a substitute in two parts, one part changing the "whereas" clauses of the Chairman's mark, and the other changing the "resolved" questions or action of provisions of the Chairman's mark. I hope to be able to present it-in the interest of time, to present it as a single amendment.

We need to give the President the tools necessary to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons. Those tools are to be able to go to the United Nations, to be able to go to Saddam Hussein and say, either we will have the most incredibly invasive inspections program or we will use force. That is the approach I think we should take, because it will show the world that while we

are anxious to prevent Saddam from developing nuclear weapons, we are also anxious to avoid war.

The approach that I fear might be taken by this Administration and one of the two approaches authorized by the Chairman's mark would be to invade, whether or not Saddam agrees to intrusive inspections. That approach will not have the support that we ought to get from other countries around the world.

Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.

Mr. SHERMAN. Nor will it demonstrate our dedication to peace.
I thank the Chairman for his indulgence.

Chairman HYDE. The gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Green.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As one of the last speakers tonight, I would like to step back a little bit as we look at this resolution. I would like to begin by thanking the Chairman, as so many others have, for this markup. I think, thanks to this markup and to the hearings that we have had and the briefings that we have had, I can say, Mr. Chairman and Members, that we are ready. I think we are ready for this debate today, and I think we are ready to make some final decisions. Now, in the end, some of us will vote "yea," some of us will vote "nay." But despite those differences, I think we can all safely say that we have cast our votes after a full and healthy debate based firmly on the best, the most complete, information that we could possibly have.

As so many others have said, we are about to tackle the most difficult decision that any public official can ever make, the decision to authorize the use of military force. Of course, that is high-sounding language, but what it really means is placing people, young people, our young people, in harm's way. It is a decision that weighs on every one of our hearts and one that must be treated with extraordinary caution and care.

I can say confidently that I have spent the last 3 months preparing for this day. I have traveled to the Middle East, I have spoken with military personnel from Marine Corps corporals to Army generals. I have heard from constituents on both sides of this issue, passionately on both sides of this issue. I have been briefed, as other Members have, by CIA Director Tenet, by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and others. I have read everything I could get my hands on and I have heard from expert after expert at the hearings that have been convened.

Mr. Chairman, like others, I have been in so many ways conflicted, but I can finally say that I feel ready to make some of the difficult decisions that our work will require. I must say I have been surprised by the number of our colleagues on both sides of this subject who have pledged their votes before even seeing this resolution, before even getting some of the information that I have received, that has been offered to us, that I think is too important to ignore. This is too serious a matter for knee-jerk reactions and closed minds.

Of course, like everyone, I have my biases, I have my leanings; and in my view, history-both decades-old history and fairly recent history-shows the flaws and defects in a policy of appeasement in the face of a dangerous tyrant, a tyrant who clearly has designs on power and empire. There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein

has routinely violated agreements, resolutions and, most significantly, human rights.

With this resolution, it is clear that our Committee is not debating peace versus war. I take issue with how some have framed this. I am for peace. We all must stand for peace. The question we debate is how we secure that peace in the long run, and how we avoid having a potentially devastating attack or conflict thrust upon us. The question is, what should we do in the face of a gathering storm, a gathering threat?

Some, including some here, would put their faith in diplomacy alone. Others of us would truly like to have faith in diplomacy alone, but we cannot; we dare not ignore the history of the current Iraqi regime.

In any case, the time has come for us as Committee Members and Members of this institution to use our preparation, to use our knowledge and, Lord willing, our sound wisdom and judgment to make these tough calls. I know we are ready.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your role in making us ready. And I yield back my time.

Chairman HYDE. Thank you, sir.

The gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff.

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I would like to address one question that has been central to the debate over Iraq. It is a question that has been raised in one form or another in every concern that has been expressed on the use of force. And that is, is the threat to the United States from Iraq imminent enough to warrant an invasion of Iraq?

Part of the difficulty we have all had in answering this question is owing to the fact that the nature of the threat to the United States has changed. As long as we are the world's lone superpower, we will never face hostile troops amassing on our borders. We will not likely to find a military colossus built on world domination threatening our allies in Europe or attacking us in the East.

The threat we now face comes from terrorists and from states that support them. The threat comes from those who cannot be adequately contained and cannot be deterred.

Even with the benefit of the hindsight we now possess, with all the intelligence we have gained since September 11th about what we knew before September 11th, we might ask of ourselves, then, the same question we now ask today.

When, prior to September 11th, was the threat from al-Qaeda imminent enough to warrant an invasion of Afghanistan? After all, we all knew that al-Qaeda was a threat prior to September 11th. We knew that al-Qaeda was involved in attacking American interests at home and around the world. We knew the Taliban served as host and sponsor for this terrorist filth.

Were we having this debate on September 10th, over a year ago, would we have adjudged that the danger from al-Qaeda was imminent enough to justify military action? And yet surely we need not wait, we cannot wait until 3,000 Americans lie in their grave to decide that present danger is imminent enough.

There are certain facts in my judgment that are indisputable: First, that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons and is developing a nuclear weapons capacity.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »