tv [untitled] CSPAN March 11, 2010 1:00am-1:30am EST
withdrawal from iraq, demoralizes u.s. troops. the request of my staffers to me as they embark on their mission to afghanistan is to provide them with all of the tools and all of the support that they need to defeat the enemy and to win. they ask that we strengthen our commitment, our resolve to the mission in afghanistan and pakistan. our enemies are redoubling their efforts. we must also. in june of last year, osama bin laden noted that u.s. efforts had been, and i quote, transferred to afghanistan and pakistan. thus, jihad must be directed at that region, end quote. bin laden later said in september, and i quote, not much longer and the war in afghanistan will be over. afterwards, not even a trace of the americans will be found there. much rather they will retreat far away behind the atlantic. then, only we and you will be
they know that they are risking their lives in the lives of their families. this debate reminds me of the many times that have come down to the floor to speak against the forced withdrawal from iraq and the need to support our mission there. mr. speaker, it is an illusion to believe that we can protect herself from our enemies by picking and choosing easy battles and turning away from those that require patience and sacrifice. responsibility to defend our country and our citizens simply because the task seems too difficult. the men and women in uniform who willingly risk their lives to defend our country do not believe that. mr. speaker, as with all of my fellow members and citizens, i hope for a world one day without war. but in the world we live in, some wars are forced upon us and we have no choice but to fight and to win them if we are
to survive. i urge my colleagues to resoundly defeat this resolution, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: thank you, i rise in support of the resolution. i am not convinced that the united states and its allies can end the 35-year civil war in afghanistan. nor is it our responsibility. we should not use our troops to prop up a corrupt government. it's simply not good to sacrifice more lives and more money on this war. we must rethink our policy. if we do not we are doomed to failure and to further loss of american lives. in late 2001, we undertook a justified military action in afghanistan in response to the attacks of 9/11. and with moral clarity and singular focused, we destroyed the al qaeda camps, drove the taliban from power and pursued the perpetrators of mass
terrorism. i supported that action. today, however, our presence in afghanistan has become counterproductive. we are bogged down the longstanding war of feuding afghanistan of different tribes, classes and regions whose goals have little to do with our own. moreover, our very presence in afghanistan is fueled at the rising insurgency and embolden those who impose intervention or occupation of any kind who see us as foreign invaders. in seeking security and stability in afghanistan, we have supported corrupt leaders with the interest of ordinary afghans. by backing the afghan government, we have further distanced ourselves from the afghan people and empowered the insurgency. if our mission in afghanistan to indeed prevent the safe harbor of terrorists, that mission is largely accomplished. since we are told there are now fewer than 100 al qaeda in afghanistan. .
this does not mean we should stop pursuing terrorists. on the contrary. we must continue the multipronged effort to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy their ability to harm the united states. we must continue to track and block terrorist financing across the globe, increase intelligence activities focused on terrorists, increase diplomacy to rally our allies to the cause of terrorism, and if necessary use our armed forces to attack terrorist targets wherever they may be. a function quite distinct from using the military to secure a nation so that it can be rebuilt. rebuilding afghanistan is beyond both our capability and beyond our mandate to prevent terrorist from attacking the united states. i believe assuring the timetable for withdrawing our troops is the only way to prevent further loss of life and refocus our efforts more directly at the terrorist themselves. i do have one reservation that the resolution before us seems to leave no room for military
role in afghanistan under any circumstances. i believe we must reserve the right to use our armed forces to attack terrorist targets wherever they may be and that would include terrorist training camps in afghanistan if they were re-established there. but those camps are not there now and our troops should not be there, either. mr. kucinich's resolution points us in the right direction. a direction far better than the direction in which we are now headed. accordingly i urge approval of the resolution. i thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i'm going to recognize the gentleman from north carolina. mr. jones. for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker, i want to thank the gentleman from
ohio for presenting this resolution and secondly for fighting for so long to get us to have this debate. i want to say to mr. berman, thank you for agreeing to let this be debated. i want to start by saying that peggy noon has called for this debate, a necessary war. i want to read this. so far most invade over afghanistan has taken place among journalists and foreign policy professionals. all of them have been honest in their opinions about the war in afghanistan. but when you really look at the facts, nobody elected these people to debate the war. washington has to get serious and the american people have a right to know the facts and options. so thank you both for allowing this debate to take place today. but i join my friends in saying that it's time to bring an end to this war. i have camp lejeune marine base
in my district, cherry point, brave men and women, god bless them all. i want to start my comments and would like to share this with you. marine times, march 1, 2010. left to die. they call for help. army leadership refuse and abandon them on the battlefield. four died. handcuffed to do their job for this country. that's awfully sad to me. then i would like to read also marine times, caution, kill my son. marine family blasts suicidal tactics in afghanistan. i would like to read the words from a father whose son died for this country. i would like to read the words of this man because he served in the marine corps, a sergeant himself. his frustration about how his son died because he was not helped led him to write to admiral mullen and also senator
collins. this is his response back through letters admiral mullen and his response back to susan collins. sergeant bernard said, the letter is smoke and mirrors. and overlooked his consistent concern counterinsurgency strategy won't work as long as afghanistan is filled with warring tribes and no empathy for the united states and its way of life. he further stated in his letter to senator collins, i have already spoken to your office, and he further said, don't let him, meaning admiral mullen, spin this wrap crap. aim quoting him. this is what he said to admiral mullen, this is a father whose son died for this country. i repeat that. don't let him spin this crap. there is no indication that afghanistan has changed anywhere. our mission should be very, very simple. chase and kill the enemy. well, i just gave you two
examples of where we are not really fighting the war in afghanistan because why in the world would those marines have been killed who were asking for cover and yet the army said no. we can't give you cover because of our policy. our policy is, we don't want to kill civilians. sergeant bernard said, he's right, i've never been to war. let me be honest about it. but he has been to war. he knows that war is ugly and mean. therefore we are saying to our troops, we are going to handcuff you. and we are going to do what we can to protect those in afghanistan, but you might have to give your life and you couldn't even fire a gun. that is not what we should be doing in afghanistan. last point. the brook that's called the $3 trillion war. it is a book written by the economist, joe stiglick, he says in the book to take care of the wounded from afghanistan and iraq for the next 25 years,
a minimum cost of $2 trillion. i want to lead in with this story. three years ago, three years ago congress and gene taylor, walter jones, and myself went to walter reed to visit the wounded as many members of congress in both parties do. we go into a room where a young man, 19, had been shot in the neck sitting in a wheelchair, will never walk again. and as gene and i speak to him and tell him we thank him so much for his service, his mom comes in and she looks at us like a deer in headlights scared. she should be scared. she doesn't know what the future is for her son. and then she said to gene taylor and myself, after we introduce ourselves, can you guarantee me that this government will take care of my son 40 years from now? he's 19 years old. one of us said to her, this country should take care of your son 40 years from now. but you know what i would tell her today? i'm not sure we can take care of your son. we need to understand, we can't
police the world anymore. it's time that we protect ourselves from the enemy, the terrorists, but going around the world and trying to police the world doesn't work anymore. so i want to thank the gentleman for giving me this time and i join you in this resolution and i hope that these debates will continue and continue so we will meet our constitutional responsibility. and we'll be able to say one day to that 19-year-old soldier or marine, we will take care of you 40 years from now. because right now we cannot do it. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. the gentlewoman from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i would like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from texas, judge poe, an esteemed member of our house foreign affairs committee, as well as the judiciary committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. poe: thank you, mr.
speaker. this is about our troops. this is about americans who have been willing to protect the rest of us when duty calls and in time of war. army specialist juriet grimmle was one of those noble americans. he was a patriot and joined the united states army right out of high school. he had completed basic training before he graduated from high school, his junior year, at a high school in texas. in 2008 he married his high school sweetheart in a small ceremony before the justice of the peace. she joined him in alaska where he was deployed by the army to begin their young married lives together. he was a patrol supply specialists assigned to the 428th brigade special troops battalion, fourth brigade combat team, 25th division infantry division battalion. june jared was killed killed at the age of 20 in afghanistan.
this is his photograph. he is on this board. the board with 27 other texans from my congressional district area. he is the latest to have been killed in iraq or afghanistan as a volunteer to go overseas and protect the rest of us in time of war. he believed in protecting our country. he believed in it so much he was willing to leave his wife and go half way around the world to fight an enemy on the enemy's own turf. and he believed it so much he was willing to give his life for the rest of us. so, we pass this resolution, what message do we send to jared's family or young bride? that his sacrifice just wasn't enough? that it was all for natt -- naught? we don't quit war because war is hard. war has always been hard. every good thing this country has ever achieved has been hard. we don't quit and run because it is difficult. we stay because we believe like jared that the fight against
the enemy that has bent on our destruction is worth it. that's the reason these other 27 from all races and both sexes fought in iraq and afghanistan. afghanistan. last december i had th% @@@@@ they told me that they miss their families, they missed their kids, and they believe that the work that they are doing is working and they are eager to finish the job and get back home. the continued to fight and fight hard and i want success, and we must remember, mr. speaker, they are all volunteers -- america's finest. general mike crystal's new strategy is leading to victory and it makes no sense to all of the sudden pick-up and leave when we are the one winning this war and the enemy is receiving crushing blow after crushing
blow. we cannot pull out the rug from under our troops, and al qaeda and taliban would say, i told you so! the americans do not have the stomach for war. that would creep back into the seats of power and darkness and returned their countries back 1000 years. women would not be allowed to go to school. public -- political dissidents would be murdered in afghanistan would become a safe haven for terrorists to plot and plan the next attack against people that do not like our around the world, including americans. the cut and run crowd do not understand if we retreat unilaterally and quit this war, the war will not be over because our enemies will continue the war against us whether we continue against them or not. and our troops, they would return home with one question -- why? why would you bring us home with victory so close? why did we fight so hard, make
so many sacrifices only to have those that believe in peace at any price say it's time to quit? now is not the time to retreat. this enemy is real. it must be defeated. this is not the -- about the politics of fear with some hypothetical enemy but assessing reality and supporting these men and women and others that are over there and protecting our home from terrorists. they want nothing more than to destroy us wherever they find us in the world. past successes don't guarantee future success. victory is close but we have not attained it yet. abandonment and retreat, those are not strategies. we stay because it's in our interest to stay and secure a victory against the enemies of the world. general petraeus said, we got to show that we are in this. that we are going to provide sustained substantial commitment. make no mistake about it, mr. speaker, the troops and their families are watching this
debate today to see what we shall do here in congress. they are looking for who will support them and who will not. we must defeat this resolution and the taliban and the al qaeda and support our military. last saturday, march 6, was the anniversary, the 174th anniversary of a battle at the alamo where those people walked across that line rather than give in to the enemy and they -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. poe: i thank the lady. they were led by a 27-year-old individual from south carolina by way of alabama. he said at the alamo, i shall never surrender or retreat. and they did not surrender or retreat because war was hard then. and it cost them all their lives. but victory was attained later. and freedom was obtained. war is hard. it is always hard. and we shall not give in. we shall not you surrender or retreat. it is in our interest and the interest of america to defeat the enemy and let them have no
doubt in their mind we will be victorious. that's just the way it is. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i yield four minutes to mr. filner from california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. felipe calderon yes, mr. poe, war is hard. i -- mr. filner: yes, mr. poe, war is hard. talk to nelson mandela. peace is harder. peace is really hard. victory is close, i haired mr. poe's words. what message are we sending to our troops? the alamo is a metaphor for this? come on, mr. poe. and mr. poe started out, this is about our troops. that's exactly right. this is about our troops. thank you, mr. kucinich, for
allowing us to have a debate. here we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and we have had no real debate. so thank you for bringing this and allowing us to do this. and we need a debate in a democracy so everyone understands the costs, the cost of going to war and the cost of not going to war, the material cost, the human cost. this is about the troops, i agree with mr. poe. you know, we record, and i have been to iraq and afghanistan. i have met these incredible young men and women who are doing this battle, as mr. poe suggested. they are incredible. it's the policymakers i am worried about. we report 1,000 almost in afghanistan and we report around 40,000 casualties. let me tell you, i am chairman of the veterans committee in this congress.
we have had almost a million people from these wars show up at the v.a. for casualties received during the war. service-related injuries. hundreds and hundreds of thousands. this is not just a mathematical error by the department of defense. this is deliberate attempt to keep the cost of war from our people. we got hundreds of thousands of people with posttraumatic stress disorder. hundreds of thousands with traumatic brain injury. all of which were undiagnosed when they left the battle front. they don't want to know about these injuries. they don't want to tell it the american people about these injuries. -- to tell the american people about these injuries. this kind of war produces those injuries. i didn't hear that from mr. poe. what do we tell the mom? we tell the mom we shouldn't be sending her child there because of the nature of the war. there is no victory is close.
i'd like someone define me what that victory is. we have, as i said, almost a million people from these wars already come to the v.a. the sue sides among active duty troops in iraq and afghanistan are higher than the rate in vietnam which was the highest we had as americans. these are our children. these are our children.
these kids did not come home to kill the spices are their children. but they were so wounded and they were not taking care of. by our people who sent them there. we bring them home and we say, ok, you're on your own and then what do we have? suicides. this war is tearing apart those who are taking part of it and it will have the same influence that the vietnam war had on our civilian society. half the home was on the streets tonight are vietnam vets. give me 30 seconds. the rate of homelessness is higher by our troops today. more people have died, more vietnam vets have died from suicide and died in the iraq war.
that is what these wars are doing to our society. these are our children. it is time to take care of them and bring them home. but support the resolution on the floor. to four minutes to the chair of the house armed services committee, the gentleman from missouri, mr. skelton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. skelton: mr. speaker, have we forgotten, have we forgotten what happened to america on 9/11? have we forgotten who did it? have we fore goten those who protected and gave them a safe -- forgotten those who protected and gave them a safe haven? let me speak in favor of those men and women who wear the uniform today that are doing something about it.
i'm so proud of them. every american should be proud of them and their professionalism, their devotion to duty, their patriotism. thus, i rise in strong opposition to this ill-timed resolution that threatens to undermine the recent gains by u.s. forces and our afghan and coalition partners. six months ago i wrote a letter to the president while he was conducting a full review of our strategy in afghanistan urging him to adopt and fully resource an effective counterinsurgency strategy in afghanistan. i still believe that this offers the best chance for our success in the mission there. afghanistan is the epicenter of terrorism. we cannot forget that it was the genesis of multiple attacks that killed thousands of
americans, children, parents, spouses, neighbors. we must do everything we can to ensure it will not happen again and be used as a safe haven for those who seek to do us harm. last december after eight long years with no strategy in afghanistan, president obama recommitted our nation to defeating al qaeda and reminded us that the success of this mission requires us to work with our international allies and afghan partners and we are. the president also announced that our military commander in afghanistan, general stanley mcchrystal, the best we have in this time of conflict, would receive an additional 30,000 troops to implement this counterinsurgency strategy. these additional combat troops, combined with those already in theater, would allow our troops and civilian experts to partner with their afghan counterparts, reverse the momentum of the
taliban and create conditions needed for governance and the economic development. even if a fraction of these in place, we've already seen success. they launched an operation to push the taliban out of marja, a town of about 50,000 people that became a new hub of activity for the taliban and insurgence after our marines drove them out nearby. we successfully pushed the taliban out there and ban to re-establish the government there, the second phase of the operation. the new afghan administrator has been put in place, and the process of building that government has begun. additionally, in recent days pakistani forces made the most significant taliban captures since the war began, detaining the second in command, the
former taliban finance minister and two governors of the afghan provinces. this mission will be costly. it will not be easy. the afghan people have to recommit themselves to rebuild a government that is mostly free of corruption, that is capable of providing justice and security and it's unclear if there will be future captures in afghanistan and pakistan as well. but this counterinsurgency strategy is the best we have to prevent afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for al qaeda and those who wish to kill americans. if we pull out now and abandon those afghans who only recently been freed from the taliban, i have no doubt that the taliban would be able to re-establish their hold in southern afghanistan, if not the entire country. after eight long years we have a strategy for success in
afghanistan and we have a president who appointed the right leaders in general mcchrystal and ambassador -- we have the right leaders in general mcchrystal and the ambassador who is willing to provide those leaders with the military and civilian experts that they need. success is not guaranteed in this mission. but passing this resolution guarantees failure in afghanistan and poses a risk, a serious risk that we will once again face the same situation that existed on september 11, 2001. i hope my colleagues will join me in opposition to this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i proudly yield five minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. mckeeon, the ranking member mr. mckeeon, the ranking member on the house armed services
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