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My colleagues, this list of questions is only illustrative; you know it could be much longer. The passage of H.J.Res. 114 today, momentous as it is, as necessary an action as it is, constitutes but the first step in the many important duties this Committee and Congress must pursue. We must be ready and fully committed to accomplishing them in a constructive, bipartisan effort with the Executive Branch.
Chairman HYDE. I thank the gentleman. The gentlewoman from California, Ms. Napolitano.
Ms. NAPOLITANO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Unfortunately, I had to leave yesterday afternoon before the completion of my colleague's points which have been stressed over and over again in regard to the issue we are facing today.
Now more than of our national security must be viewed as our primary consideration in our interactions with other nations. Specifically, our decade-long conflict with Iraq over the acts of aggression in Kuwait, the inhumane treatment of Saddam Hussein's own people, as we are hearing, the gassing of the Kurds, and most importantly, the unending efforts to develop various weapons of mass destruction-the chemical, biological, and nuclear.
We also know that all previous efforts to rein in Iraq through various U.N. resolutions, sanctions, and inspections have not produced the results or the United Nations that we had hoped.
Iraq still poses a horrible significant regional and global threat, operating with impunity, and outside of the various resolutions adopted by the United Nations, the resolutions we supported. To us the fundamental issue before this body is the extent of the threat and how best to respond to it, keeping disarmament as a major focus. However, without the support of the other nations, it is going to be very chancey for me to vote.
I had considerable doubts about the original request. Our President asked us to provide him with any and all authority he deemed necessary to react to the Iraq threat. That authority was too broad and the case for a military action, either unilateral or in concert with our allies, had not been articulated clearly or conclusively. I still believe we need to quantify that threat more thoroughly.
I also believe our primary focus should be first and foremost on a diplomatic solution, working through the United Nations Security Council and with our allies to remove those weapons of mass destruction.
Our strongest ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a Labor Party convention just a few days ago, agreed to a compromise resolution calling for Britain to obtain U.N. authority before taking military action. The resolution declares that British troops should participate in action against Iraq only after the exhaustion of all political and diplomatic means. This is the approach that is consistent with our national interests and it is one that the American public appears to support over unilateral action.
I must tell you, Mr. Chairman and Members, that I have hadas many of my colleagues had quite a number of telephone calls, faxes, e-mails and letters from the people that we represent. And, in my particular case, overwhelmingly veterans groups, individuals, residents, immigrants, are saying no war. Do the best you can to find out a diplomatic solution before we have to go and send our children and our grandchildren into war.
That being said, the resolution before us appears to have a more moderate and thoughtful attempt to address our concerns about
pursuing military action before we have exhausted all other options. My concern is that we have not allowed for any amendments, and hopefully we will be able to reach that agreement soon.
The resolution does not seek compliance through the U.N. Security Council, and recognizes that we want all relevant Security Council resolutions strictly enforced. It does limit the scope of the Presidential authorization to Iraq. It does require the President to submit to Congress a determination prior to using force, within 48 hours of using force, that we have exhausted all our efforts.
I have a problem with 48 hours. However, again, hopefully we will reach some kind of an agreement that will allow us to have a better option. It does require our President to comply with the War Powers Act in regular consultation and reporting to Congress.
In the end, if Saddam Hussein continues to thwart efforts to open all sites to U.N. inspectors, as he has so many times before, we may be left with no option other than military force. I hope, Í trust, I pray that this is not the case.
Saddam Hussein can act responsibly if he chooses to do so. He has chosen not to. But he can prevent destruction, remove current sanctions, and thereby improve the lives of his people and neighbors and the rest of the world. It is in his hands. But he must not misjudge our resolve to continue to ensure that he does not continue to develop or use weapons of mass destruction. There is not one person amongst us that wants war or would chose war without exhausting all other options.
I am pleased that the resolution before us provides a number of safeguards, rightly puts diplomacy first, and keeps Congress involved with the process. This is critical in all points.
Nonetheless, I continue to have doubts about the immediacy of the threat. Although there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has developed some weapons of mass destruction and continues to further refine them, ultimately whatever action we take must be done deliberately and with broad support of our citizens, should not be viewed as a partisan issue, as we all know the consequences of war, and it is a heavy burden on each and every one of us. I trust God will guide our hands.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you. I believe everyone has had an opportunity to make an opening statement, and so we will move to amendments.
Are there any amendments?
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk. Chairman HYDE. Mr. Sherman. The Clerk will report the Sherman amendment.
Ms. RUSH. An amendment in the nature of a substitute.
Mr. SHERMAN. I actually have three amendments at the desk. The longest of those amendments is the one I would like to bring up. I believe that is identified as Sherman 3. If there is any procedural problem with that amendment, then I will introduce Sherman 1 and 2 in order.
Chairman HYDE. Do we have all three of his amendments?
Chairman HYDE. You want Sherman 3?
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
TO H. J. RES.
OFFERED BY MR. SHERMAN
Strike the preamble and insert the following: Whereas Congress in Public Law 105-235, approved August 14, 1998, concluded that Iraq was then in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations and thereby threatened the vital interests of the United States and international peace and security, stated the reasons for that conclusion, and urged the President to take appropriate action to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations;
Whereas Iraq remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability and actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, thereby continuing to threaten the United States and international peace and security; Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and in thousands of instances by firing on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;
Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat that Iraq
could transfer weapons of mass destruction to international terrorist organizations that threaten the United States;
Whereas the United States has the inherent right, as acknowledged in the United Nations Charter, to use force in order to defend itself;
Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the high risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States in order to defend itself;
Whereas Iraq could seek to smuggle what weapons of mass destruction it possesses, or those it might acquire, into the United States and either use such weapons of mass destruction or threaten to use them in an effort to affect the foreign policy of the United States; and
Whereas Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its disarmament and other obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes use of all necessary means to compel Iraq to comply with these "subsequent relevant resolutions": Now, therefore, be it
Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the following: