« ÎnapoiContinuă »
54th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
Mr. Michael Klosson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Department of
MARKUP OF H. CON. RES. 227
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 1998
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 4:28 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman GILMAN. [presiding] The Committee will come to order. Today we will be considering several measures in open session, and our first measure today is H. Con. Res. 227, relating to the withdrawal of troops from Bosnia. This resolution is privileged in the House, and we should report it either with or without a recommendation by the end of this week. The Chair lays the resolution before the Committee.
The clerk will read the title of the resolution.
Ms. BLOOMER. "H. Con. Res. 227, directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to remove U.S. Armed Forces from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.' Chairman GILMAN. The clerk will read the text of the resolution for amendment.
Ms. BLOOMER. "Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),
"Section 1. Removal of United States"
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, the resolution is considered as read and open for amendment at any point.
[H. Con. Res. 227 appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. The Chair will shortly recognize the distinguished gentleman from California, Mr. Campbell, for purposes of debate only, to introduce the measure.
For the benefit of Members, I'd like to have a general debate on the measure for a few minutes, and then I understand Mr. Campbell has one or more amendments to offer, and we'll recognize him again to offer and introduce them.
I ask unanimous consent Mr. Campbell have 10 minutes in favor of the resolution, and then Mr. Hamilton and I will divide 10 minutes in opposition to the resolution, and then we'll be open to debate on the regular order.
Is there any objection?
If not, it is so ordered.
Let me add that, unless I indicate otherwise, Members are being recognized only to debate the resolution of the amendment under the 5-minute rule.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your courtesy on this occasion and throughout this process.
Colleagues, I'd like to draw your attention, please, to a folder, a binder, which I prepared, my staff has put before you. If you'd kindly turn to the first tab after A, the first tab gives an indexafter that, we have the section "Hostilities exist in Bosnia."
Hostilities exist. Imagine how difficult it would be to say that there are no hostilities in Bosnia. There are hostilities in Bosnia. It's a different question whether we should be there, and it's a question that ought to be voted on by this Congress. But there really should not be a question that there are hostilities.
The definition is given there from the House Committee Report. So take a look at that. The best way of interpreting the legislation history in terms of defining a word is what the Committee that reported it out said. The word "hostilities" was substituted for the phrase "armed conflict" during the Subcommittee drafting process, because it was considered to be somewhat broader in scope.
I'm jumping ahead. "Hostilities also encompasses a state of confrontation in which no shots have been fired, but where there is a clear and present danger of armed conflict."
That has two important points here. First of all, that you don't need firing to have hostilities, but, second, at least by a negative pregnant, if you have shots fired, then that surely would be hostilities. That seems to me a fair reading of the history of the phrase.
I'm going to leave for later discussion the constitutional requirement about war, the declaration of war, but there is a very good reason to have a broad definition, rather than a narrow one. So that what starts out as a small war doesn't become a great war, and that the people's representatives are included at the start, and not simply after it's too late.
I then refer you to the second heading there: "Hostilities Since December 1995." If the shots don't have to be fired-and if shots are fired, it's conflict in constituting hostilities, I have a list of these events that have occurred in which American soldiers have been shot, and American soldiers have died in Bosnia.
Once again, I put to you, it's very difficult to maintain that there are no hostilities when Americans are dying in Bosnia. I emphasize, by the way, that the definition does not require a nation to be at war with another nation, and it does not require that there be a formal declaration. Obviously, that would moot the whole purpose here.
Third, if you turn the page, please, to the heading, "Inferences of Hostilities by Casualties to Non-U.S. NATO Troops," the framers of the War Powers Resolution were careful to include the situation where there was no damage done to American troops, but where the context was such that we were fighting on the side of other countries, and that they were subject to harm, to casualties, and that's for the obvious reason, that that is what you would contemplate by a condition of hostilities.
And there on section 3 I list those again, just that have come to the attention of the press, instances where NATO forces were shot at, wounded, killed in action in Bosnia.
Incidentally, we will, I know, hear from the Administration, but in the Administration's letter, Ms. Larkin, who's here to speak for herself, of course, refers only to deaths, and obviously, death is not the only way of defining hostility. Indeed, as I will say in a minute, it's an extremely dangerous way to define hostility because you then give a perverse incentive to somebody to kill an American in order to get a vote in Congress. That's the danger of defining this after we've already put our troops into a condition where hostilities are likely.
Please turn the page to No. 4, "The inference of hostilities from combat pay." It's a very fascinating argument here that was originally raised, at least in my research-I see the 4-minute light, so I assume I've got 6 more to go.
Chairman GILMAN. We will give you the additional time.
It came to my attention in regard to El Salvador, and there it was a big argument that the troops, that the military personnel were actually getting combat pay, but the phrase is "pay related to a hostile fire zone." I think the word "hostile" is of great importance and significance, and I found out, by calling the Secretary of the Army's representative, and I report it there, that our soldiers in Bosnia have been receiving hostile fire pay. So it's going to be very hard to argue that there are no hostilities in Bosnia.
Last, section 5, as you see at the bottom of that page and carried over to the next one, I anticipate the argument-I anticipate it; we'll hear it, of course, from the Administration-that, well, there may once have been hostilities, but there aren't anymore. The danger of this argument is that if that's the case, then it's very perverse because you evaded your obligation to get the approval of Congress at the time you put the troops in, and somehow the evasion matures into a right. That seems to be exactly contrary to logic.
Rather, at the time the President put troops in, in December 1995, the question should be asked: Was that a condition of hostilities or a condition where hostilities were imminent, as indicated by the circumstances? Both of the phrases, by the way, in the War Powers Resolution. And the answer is, yes, of course, there were hostilities at the time the United States put in troops; that's why we put them in.
Interestingly, even in the letter, to which I'm sure the Administration's representatives will shortly refer-this is dated March 10, by Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Larkin-she refers now that, if my resolution passes, she's against it, and there could be a return to genocide and war. And I emphasize the phrase in the Administration's own letter, "a return to genocide and war." I mean, they've got to admit there was war; there was a situation of hostilities.
And if you take a look at the next page in your binder, you'll see a letter from Under Secretary of Defense Slocum. After I had asked Secretary Cohen, are there hostilities in Bosnia, I got this answer back. And the answer was, well, no, there are not, but we're hopeful that the troops will prevent a recurrence, a return to hostilities-the phrase "a resumption of military hostilities."