tv [untitled] CSPAN March 10, 2010 3:30pm-4:00pm EST
the gentleman from california. mr. berman: yes, madam chair, before i yield to the gentlelady from california, i just want to take 30 -- 15 seconds to make a point with respect to the gentleman from ohio that while the authorization for the use of force in 2001 certainly referenced the war powers act, our point is that while this debate makes sense and is appropriate, it is truly not pursuant to the war powers act because the war powers act says an authorization -- the direction to withdrawal comes when there has not been an authorization for the use of military force, and here there was an authorization for the use of military force.
i'm for the debate. i'm against the basis on which the debate is being held. i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california, the chair of the intelligence subcommittee of homeland security subcommittee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for two minutes. ms. harman: i thank the gentleman for yielding. madam speaker, our colleague, mr. kucinich, should be commended for causing us to debate this issue on the house floor. this is a good and thoughtful debate and i applaud, especially, the passionate statement of patrick kennedy of rhode island. madam speaker, the war in afghanistan has continued for nine years and the obama administration continues to rely on the legal authority of the almost decade-old authorization to use military force which congress passed as we have heard by an overwhelming vote a few days after 9/11/2001. most who voted for it, including me, thought it was limited in time and place. but it became the basis for many actions taken by the bush administration.
in my view, the aumf has been overused and abused as the basis for policy. it is time for to us consider whether it should sunset and i believe that it should. but the resolution before us is not in my view the right place to address that issue. after years of giving afghanistan short solicit, tolerating rampant government corruption and standing by as the taliban re-established itself, we now have a better strategy. that strategy, developed by president obama late last year, includes a promised drawdown of our troops there beginning in july, 2011, or possibly sooner according to defense secretary robert gates who visited there earlier this week. let me be clear, i do not support the surge of an additional 30,000 american troops in afghanistan. i do support multinational nato-led efforts to clear, hold, build and transfer to a noncorrupt afghan government
control over parts of that country which are or could become training grounds for terrorists intent on attacking the united states. the good news is that pakistan is making greater effort to crack down on taliban and al qaeda terror groups on its soil and those efforts are yielding results which should help stabilize afghanistan. like mr. kucinich, i want the u.s. -- may i have an additional 30 seconds? mr. berman: the gentleman is recognized for an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for an additional 30 seconds. ms. harman: i want the u.s. military out of afghanistan at the earliest reasonable date. but accelerating the obama administration's carefully calibrated timetable could take risks with our national security. i share mr. kucinich's sentiment, but not his schedule. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: thank you. i want to thank mr. berman for
agreeing to make this debate possible. i do appreciate it very much. and you have been open to that and i'm -- i think the country should appreciate that about you. i also want to say that this study, congressional research study, on the authorization for the use of military force, makes it very clear in it that the war powers act is not superseded and i'd like to submit this for the record without objection. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. kucinich: i'd also like to say that section 4 of the war powers act requires the president to report to congress whenever he introduced u.s. armed forces abroad in situations. and in key importance is section 4-a-1. section 4-a-1 requires reporting within 48 hours, in the absence of a declaration of war, congressional authorization, the
introduction of u.s. armed forces into situations where imminent involvement in his tilts is clearly indicated by the -- hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances. the resolution that is before us, h.con.res. 248 therefore directs the president pursuant to section 5-c of the war powers resolution to remove the united states armed forces from afghanistan. i want to yield the gentlelady from california, ms. woolsey, four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california will be recognized for four minutes. ms. woolsey. ms. woolsey: madam speaker, i read a news article in which defense secretary robert gates during a visit to afghanistan just recently cautioned against overoptimism about how the military campaign is going over there. well, no worries there, mr. secretary. i can't muster optimism for a
war that's been going on for 8 1/2 years and still hasn't achievedity objective, nor has it defeated the enemy. in fact, it's hard to be optimistic now that we've lost more than 1,000 brave americans in afghanistan, nearly 1/3 of them, 1/3 of them since this last summer. and frankly, mr. speaker, i'm downright pessimistic about the government we're propping up in afghanistan which seems to reach a new low for corruption and incompetence every single day. that's why i enthusiastically support the resolution offered by my friend, the gentleman from ohio, to bring our troops home from afghanistan by the end of the year at the latest. the fact is that our military presence is what's fueling the very insurgency we're trying to defeat. you'd think we would have learned a lesson of history by now, actually. the afghan people have always resisted occupation whether it
was great britain in the 19th century or the soviet union just 30 years ago. madam speaker, ending the war does not mean ending american support. it would be completely irresponsible of us to wash our hands of afghanistan. about there's too much humanitarian work to be done there -- there's too much humanitarian work to be done there. i propose that we replace our military surge with a civilian surge as part of a new smart security plan. we can protect america, fight terrorism, stabilize afghanistan with more compassion and goodwill than we can with rockets and guns. so let's bring the troops home, let's replace them with more development workers, democracy promotion specialists, economic development experts. it costs, as we've all learned, a staggering $1 million to deploy a single soldier to afghanistan for a year. smart security would not only be more effective and more peaceful
it would be fiscally responsible to do that in the first place. the money we're currently spending in afghanistan desperately needs to be invested in our struggling families right here at home. soon, madam speaker, the congressional progressive caucus which i co-chair with congressman raul grijalva, will release its 2011 budget alternative. it will call for redirecting billions of dollars in military spending into domestic programs that have been overlooked for far too long right here at home. like school construction, affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure, job training, health care, on and on. it's nothing short of appalling that during a crippling recession we here in the united states are nickel and diming the american people over things like unemployment benefits while the pentagon gets a blank check to continue a failed war.
secretary gate warns of dark days ahead. while i appreciate his refusal to be a pollyanna about afghanistan, the fact is there have been more than 3,000 dark days in afghanistan already and the patience of the american people is wearing thin. i encourage my colleagues to support h.con.res. 248, bring the troops -- bring the troops home, bring them home safely and end the dark days once and for all. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. who seeks recognition? the gentlewoman from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, madam speaker. i'm completion pleased to yield two minutes to the gentlelady from florida, congresswoman ginny brown-waite, a member of the house committee on ways and means. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida is recognized for two minutes. ms. brown-waite: thank you,
madam speaker, and i thank the gentlewoman for yielding. you know, earlier today, this afternoon, our democratic colleague, mr. skelton, a decorated war hero himself, came down to the floor and he said he opposed the question, have we forgotten -- he posed the question, have we forgotten 9/11? i think this resolution perhaps sends the wrong message that this congress has forgotten 9/11 and also the wrong message to americans. just as our young men and women are always ready and always there for us in the military, we must show equally steadfast loyalty to them. over 1.4 million men and women are bravely serving our nation in active duty military duty today. i've attended sendoff ceremonies for the troops from my district headed overseas and i've well welcomed them home. i've rejoip joyced with those mothers and -- i've rejoiced with those mothers and fathers and wives who after months of not being with their loved soldier they're able to spend
time with him. or her. and i've also wept for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, i've wept with their families, they made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, for our safety. every single sold that are i've spoken to who has been to iraq -- soldier that i've spoken to who has been to iraq or afghanistan would say that they would go back again. they believe in the mission, pretty sad that congress doesn't. they believe in the work that they're doing out there and they need our support. not this resolution which is, i believe, a demoralizing resolution to our troops. rather, i would encourage my colleagues to vote against this resolution because by voting against this resolution i believe you'll be voting for our troops. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. kucinich: i yield three
minutes to the gentlelady from wisconsin, ms. baldwin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from wisconsin is recognized for three minutes. ms. baldwin: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, i rise today in support of the effort by my colleague from ohio to draw our collective attention both in this congress and throughout the nation to bringing our troops home from afghanistan. in september, 2001, following the al qaeda attacks on new york and washington, d.c., congress approved a resolution authorizing then president bush to, and i quote, use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts
of international terrorism against the united states by such nations, organizations or persons. i voted in favor of that resolution and continue to support all efforts focused on achieving that limited and specific mission. that resolution led to our military action in afghanistan because at the time al qaeda was using afghanistan as a safe haven for its terrorist training camps and the taliban government in afghanistan was supporting al qaeda's presence within its borders. as a result of the u.s. combat operations in afghanistan, the taliban was driven from power, many al qaeda operatives were killed and others fled to nearby pakistan or other more distant countries. national and local democratic elections have been held, a constitution has been written and ratified by the people and attempts have been made to
establish stability and the rule of law in afghanistan. yet after more than eight years at war, there is evidence that -- evidence that democratically-elected government -- evevidence the democratically elected government has little control outside of kabul. many parts of the country are lawless. opium production is increasing and the al qaeda terrorists who we seek to kill or capture are no longer present in afghanistan. i am deeply concerned that our brave men and women in harm's way in afghanistan are now expected to perform functions not authorized in the september, 2001, authorization of military force and president obama's strategy for moving forward in afghanistan places insufficient emphasis on political, diplomatic and development initiatives and ignores -- contains no real exit strategy and ignores the clear fact of mission creep. nobody can question the bravery of our men and women in harm's
way in afghanistan. their service is courageous and admirable, bringing peace, stability, health and well-being to a country that has suffered throughout years of conflict and war. but we can question whether these efforts extend beyond the very limited and specific mission articulated in the authorization of the use of military force. mr. kucinich: i yield the gentlelady another minute. ms. baldwin: thank you, madam speaker. i remain deeply committed to keeping america and american interests abroad safe from acts of terrorism. but we cannot afford to have tens of thousands of troops remain in a country where al qaeda no longer operates and at a time when our nation is facing such extraordinary challenges at home. i believe we should focus on rebuilding our own nation and putting our people back to work
i yield back my remaining time. the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: yes, madam chair. i'm pleased to a yield to many of our committee and -- to yield to a member of our committee, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. tanner. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized for two minutes. mr. tanner: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: so ordered. mr. tanner: thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. chairman. the fact is i am presently serving as the president of nato parliamentary assembly. the afghan effort is a nato-led effort. nato arguably, one, if not the
most successful military alliances in the modern era. not only is involved with us as allies in afghanistan but we know that our military might is no longer a deterrent like it was most of our my life, most of our lives during the cold war. even though you had the war of the east versus the west, the ussr, the allies, there was this not only feeling but we were protected by our military might. 9/11 shattered that. these people who are trying to kill us don't care how many aircraft carriers we have, how many tanks we have, how many submarines we have. it doesn't matter. therefore, if our military
might is no longer our primary defense, what is? i say it's accurately, timely, intelligent, to know who, what, when and where they will attack us and how we can stop it. how do we maximize that defense? we do it through allies. we do it through friends of ours. the french really have the best intelligence network in africa. they're helping. they're helping in nato. you look at all of the former warsaw-pact countries that are now members of nato. mr. berman: i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. tanner: former warsaw-pact countries. nato is evolving from a static land-based defense force to a
security force that relieves our men and women to the extent they supply troops. it relieves the american taxpayer to the extent they help us pay for these efforts for our common defense. again, were this just an american expedition perhaps this debate would be more worthwhile. but it's not. and so i would urge the strongest possible terms to reject this. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. grayson. the speaker pro tempore: mr. grayson is recognized for four minutes. mr. grayson: madam speaker, i have good news. the good news is this, we won the war in afghanistan. now, it happened a while ago, so i may be the only person who actually remembers this.
but after the 9/11 attack, within three months we had expelled, expelled the taliban government and we do so with the use of only 1,000 u.s. special forces troops. within four months we had expelled al qaeda from the afghanistan. and if you don't believe that you can listen to general petraeus who said a year ago that al qaeda isn't in afghanistan anymore. i have more good news about iraq. the news is we won. we won the war in iraq years and years ago facing the fourth largest army in the entire world. we swept through iraq and we got the sdamsdam out. we won and now -- saddam hussein out. we won and now we can go home. we should have left a long time ago. what's happening in afghanistan and iraq is not a war.
it's a foreign occupation. you can read the constitution from beginning to end and you find nothing in the constitution that permits a foreign occupation, much less one that goes on for almost a decade. with you simply can't afford these wars anymore, both in the price of money and in the price of blood. i'd like to call your attention to a report in "the new england journal of medicine" dated january 31, 2008. this report says that 15% of all the troops that serve in iraq return with permanent brain damage. that's right, permanent brain damage. here's some of the symptoms described. a loss of consciousness, general poor health, missed work days, medical visits, and a high number of post concussive symptoms. -- postconcussive symptoms. later on on page 459, nearly
15% of soldiers had a loss of consciousness or loss of mental state. and they have something that is caused mild traumatic brain injury, were significantly more likely to have an injury than the 17% of soldiers who reported injuries. so mr. president, when you say you are sending 50,000 more troops to afghanistan, what you're really saying is that you are condemning 7,500 young americans to live for the rest of their lives with brain damage. that's what you're really saying. and beyond that we spent over $3 trillion on the war in iraq. that's over $10,000 for every man, woman, child in this country. over $70,000 for my family of seven. and for what? what have we accomplished in 2010 that we could not have accomplished in 2009 or 2008 or 2007 or 2006?
in fact, what have you heard from the other side today that they couldn't have said back then and they want to say next year and the year after that? now, think about this our total national wealth is only $50 trillion. we spent $3 trillion, 6% of that, 6% of that on the war in iraq. that kind of economic damage is something that could not have possibly been accomplished by al qaeda themselves, osama bin laden's best day couldn't have done anything like that. would you have vaporized all of new england to come close. listen, we are the most powerful nation on earth. nobody can force us out of iraq. nobody can can force us out of afghanistan. we have to make that decision ourselves. but remember, we need only not strength but we need wisdom. we need to know that the worse things that happen to us as a country are the things we do to ourselves, including these two wars. thank you very much. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from florida is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: madam speaker, i'm pleased to yield five minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. hunter, a member of the armed services committee, who during his service with the u.s. marine corps served a combat tour in afghanistan and we thank him for his service. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california, mr. hunter, is recognized for five minutes. mr. hunter: thank you, madam speaker. i thank the gentlelady from florida for yielding. i speak to you today, madam speaker, not just as a united states congressman but as a united states marine. that's what my title says in san diego, it says u.s. representative, marine. i served in iraq twice. i served in afghanistan once. i was part of the force marine division. and i for one don't appreciate being lectured to, especially from a gentleman that spoke from florida who say i am brain injured, about how i might have
ptsd, about how i am less of a person because i served overseas. it's a resolution that's hurtful to our troops on the ground fighting and it's hurtful to their families. if we passed a similar resolution about iraq we would not be victorious in iraq now. we wouldn't have less than 1,000 marines in iraq because they've all pulled out. why did they pull out? because we've won. iraq is no longer a threat. i had friends give their lives for this great nation in both iraq and afghanistan. a vote for this resolution is sending a message to their families that their sacrifices and willingness to stand in the gap against tyranny and destruction and radical islam was false. this is the wrong message to send. our message should be one of support and encouragement. and as congressional representatives we should be standing side by side with our troops in the field, not abandoning our cause when our military needs us the most.
if we were to pull out of afghanistan we would be inviting those terrorists and al qaeda to attack us here again on american soil. we don't need another 9/11. this resolution could well be named the retreat and abandonment of our military resolution. i don't believe the purpose of this resolution is to protect our men and women serving in harm's way. the point of this resolution, i think, would be to make america weaker. i tell you why i believe this. because i have served both in iraq and afghanistan. unlike any other member of congress. and unfortunately not any person who's in favor of this resolution has ever come and talked to me. the gentleman from florida never came to me and asked me what i thought about it. this isn't about the military. this is about a political ideology to make america wreak and to lose our strength as a great nation. i would appreciate it if maybe i could be listened to next time if we are going to work in a bipartisan fashion and if
this resolution is truly for the men and women of the military. i've been here for 15 months and never talked to anybody about it. we need to make sure we support our families, that we support our troops and not allow al qaeda to become stronger by passing this resolution. once again, i've raised my right hand like every other member of congress here to support and defend the u.s. constitution, but i also did that as a united states marine. one of the first officer candidate classes after 9/11. i graduated march, twue. i deployed in 2003 in iraq. 2004 to the battle in fallujah. and 2007 to afghanistan. my wife and three kids have lived at camp pendleton, they lived on the base. i know what families in the military live like. i know what marines on the ground are going through right now. i know what victory costs. i know what victory takes and what it doesn't take is a misrepresenting resolution that's going to hurt our military when it needs us the
most. did i enjoy going overseas, did i enjoy leaving my three small kids and family behind, did i enjoy leaving steak and all the great comforts of this nation behind? no. but it was worth it because i know in my heart that what we're doing in afghanistan is going to make my children not have to go over and fight the same islamic fascists that we're over there fighting now. i know we're going to have a safer country because of me and people like me and people serving over there right now because they're over there fighting my kids won't have to. so was it fun going to war? no. was it worth it? yes. and i urge my colleagues to vote no on this resolution. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i just want to say to the gentleman who just spoke, mr. hunter, that we honor his service to our
country both as a member of congress and in the military as we honored your father's service and he served this country well and we appreciate that you're here. i yield three minutes to mr. davis from illinois. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for three minutes. mr. davis: thank you very much, madam speaker. i rise in strong support of h.con.res 248 and commend the gentleman, my friend from ohio, for his introduction of it. madam speaker, i yield to no man, no woman in terms of my support for the heroic sacrifices that our troops in the military make each and every day of their lives and each and every day of our lives. but they make sacrifices on the battlefield. they fight the wars. we are e