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Archive for June, 2008

See his speech here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7354M1QmGYQ&fmt=18

This man is my President.  Absolutely Brilliant, truth to a nearly empty chamber. 

Here’s the unofficial text of his speech:

“Today the Dow Jones Average was down 350-some points, gold was up $32, and oil was up another $5. There is a lot of chaos out there and everyone is worried about $4 gasoline. But I don’t think there is a clear understanding exactly about why that has occurred.

We do know that there is a supply and demand issue, but there are other reasons for the high cost of energy. One is inflation. In order to pay for the war that has been going on, and the domestic spending, we’ve been spending a lot more money than we have. So what do we do? We send the bills over to the Federal Reserve and they create new money, and in the last three years, our government, through the Federal Reserve and the banking system has created $4 trillion of new money. That is one of the main reasons why we have this high cost of energy and $4 per gallon gasoline.

But there is another factor that I want to talk about tonight, and that is not only the fear of inflation and future inflation, but the fear factor dealing with our foreign policy. In the last several weeks, if not for months, we have heard a lot of talk about the potential of Israel and/or the United States bombing Iran. And it is in the marketplace. Energy prices are being bid up because of this fear. It has been predicted that if bombs start dropping, that we will see energy prices double or triple. It is just the thought of it right now that is helping to push these energy prices up. And that is a very real thing going on right now.

But to me it is almost like deja vu all over again. We listened to the rhetoric for years and years before we went into Iraq. We did not go in the correct manner, we did not declare war, we are there and it is an endless struggle. And I cannot believe it, that we may well be on the verge of initiating the bombing of Iran!

Leaders on both sides of the isle, and in the administration, have all said so often, ‘No options should be taken off the table — including a nuclear first strike on Iran.’ The fear is, they say, maybe some day [Iran is] going to get a nuclear weapon, even though our own CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate has said that the Iranians have not been working on a nuclear weapon since 2003. They say they’re enriching uranium, but they have no evidence whatsoever that they’re enriching uranium for weapons purposes. They may well be enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, and that is perfectly legal. They have been a member of the non-proliferation treaties, and they are under the investigation of the IAEA, and El Baradei has verified that in the last year there have been nine unannounced investigations and examinations of the Iranian nuclear structure and they have never been found to be in violation. And yet, this country and Israel are talking about a preventive war — starting bombing for this reason, without negotiations, without talks.

Now the one issue that I do want to mention tonight is a resolution that is about to come to this floor if our suspicions are correct, after the July 4th holiday. And this bill will probably be brought up under suspension. It will be expected to be passed easily. It probably will be. And it is just more war propaganda, just more preparation to go to war against Iran.

This resolution, H.J. Res 362 [listed as H. Con. Res 362 online] is a virtual war resolution. It is the declaration of tremendous sanctions, and boycotts and embargoes on the Iranians. It is very, very severe. Let me just read what is involved if this bill passes and what we’re telling the President what he must do:

This demands that the President impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran, and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials.

This is unbelievable! This is closing down Iran. Where do we have this authority? Where do we get the moral authority? Where do we get the international legality for this? Where do we get the Constitutional authority for this? This is what we did for ten years before we went into Iraq. We starved children – 50,000 individuals it was admitted probably died because of the sanctions on the Iraqis. They were incapable at the time of attacking us. And all the propaganda that was given for our need to go into Iraq was not true.

And it is not true today about the severity [of the need to attack Iran]. But they say, “Yeah, but Ahmadinejad — he’s a bad guy. He’s threatened violence.” But you know what? Us threatening violence is very, very similar. We must – we must look at this carefully. We just can’t go to war again under these careless, frivolous conditions.”

Incredible! 

Deja Vu all over again…..(giggle, giggle) 

 

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An Honor That Bush Is Unlikely to Embrace….(LOL…no shit?)

 

Published: June 25, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — Reagan has his highways. Lincoln has his memorial. Washington has the capital (and a state, too). But President Bush may soon be the sole president to have a memorial named after him that you can contribute to from the bathroom.

From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

The plan, naturally hatched in a bar, would place a vote on the November ballot to provide “an appropriate honor for a truly unique president.”

Supporters say that they have plenty of signatures to qualify the initiative and that the renaming would fit in a long and proud American tradition of poking political figures in the eye.

“Most politicians tend to be narcissistic and egomaniacs,” said Brian McConnell, an organizer who regularly suits up as Uncle Sam to solicit signatures. “So it is important for satirists to help define their history rather than letting them define their own history.”

Not surprisingly, those Republicans in a city that voted 83 percent Democratic in 2004 are not thrilled with the idea. Howard Epstein, chairman of the ever-outnumbered San Francisco Republican Party, called the initiative “an abuse of process.”

“You got a bunch of guys drunk who came up with an idea,” Mr. Epstein said, “and want to put on the ballot as a big joke without regard to the city’s governance or cost.”

The renaming would take effect on Jan. 20, when the new president is sworn in. And regardless of the measure’s outcome, supporters plan to commemorate the inaugural with a synchronized flush of hundreds of thousands of San Francisco toilets, an action that would send a flood of water toward the plant, now called the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant.

“It’s a way of doing something physical that’s mentally freeing,” said Stacey Reineccius, 45, a software consultant and entrepreneur who supports the plan. “It’s a weird thing, but it’s true.”

Original story here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/washington/25rename.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

 

That in the above parentheses, was my input, and worth what you paid for it. 

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By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Individual Americans have a right to own guns, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday for the first time in history, striking down a strict gun control law in the U.S. capital….

read more here:   http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSWBT00928420080626

This is just in time for Independence Day!  Good news for the Constitution and Americans!  On another note, I cannot help but notice that it coincides with a HUGE fall in Wall Street.  The DOW down over 300 points!  See market report here:  http://finance.yahoo.com/marketupdate/overview

Kind of appears like the Bankers don’t like our Liberties and Freedoms preserved to me. 

Maybe it’s just a coincidence?

 

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Below is a text of the Act, and Congressman Ron Paul speaking in opposition to it on the House floor.  This is October 5, 1998.  Paul is a precious, shining jewel in a setting of tarnished, rusted tinmen politicians. 

SEC. 5. DESIGNATION OF IRAQI DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION ORGANIZATION.
(a) Initial Designation: Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
(b) Designation of Additional Organizations: At any time subsequent to the initial designation pursuant to subsection (a), the President may designate one or more additional Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
(c) Criteria for Designation: In designating an organization pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only organizations that–

(1) include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individuals, groups, or both, opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime; and

(2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq’s neighbors, to maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity, and to fostering cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime.
(d) Notification Requirement: At least 15 days in advance of designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to this section, the President shall notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his proposed designation in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.

SEC. 6. WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR IRAQ.
Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of Representatives on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 78, 105th Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13, 1998), the Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.

SEC. 7. ASSISTANCE FOR IRAQ UPON REPLACEMENT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN REGIME.
It is the sense of Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq’s transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq’s foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq’s foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) and the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton) each will control 20 minutes.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire whether or not either gentleman is opposed to the bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman from Indiana opposed to the bill?

Mr. HAMILTON. I support the bill, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I request the time in opposition.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) will control 20 minutes in opposition and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) will control 20 minutes in support of the bill.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman).

 

GENERAL LEAVE

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on this measure.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?

There was no objection.

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. Gilman asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I introduced H.R. 4655 , the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, in late September in order to give our President additional tools with which to confront the continuing threat to international peace and security posed by Saddam Hussein.

For almost 8 years, since the end of Operation Desert Storm, we have waited for Saddam Hussein’s regime to live up to its international obligations. After dozens of U.N. Security Council resolutions and compromise after compromise, we have too little to show.

The dilemma of current U.S. policy is dramatically illustrated by the events we have witnessed this past year. In January and February, our Nation was on the verge of launching massive military strikes against Iraq in order to compel Saddam to afford U.N. weapons inspectors access to certain sites that he had declared off-limits. Our Nation stood down after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan brokered a deal in which Saddam promised to behave better in the future. But, our leaders said, if Saddam violates his agreement with Kofi Anan, we will retaliate swiftly and massively.

After spending over $1 billion to build up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf earlier this year, those additional forces were slowly drawn down and brought home. And then, of course, Saddam reneged on his commitments once again.

Today is the 61st day without U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq. The situation as regards weapons inspections is far worse today than it was back in January and February when our Nation was threatening military action.

One of the reasons our Nation did not undertake military action in February, and one of the reasons our leaders are not today delivering on their threats of swift and massive retaliation, is that the kind of military action they have in mind just might not work. Certainly we can inflict massive damage on Saddam with air strikes. But what if he simply absorbs the damage and continues to defy the U.N.?

As things stand today, we would have only three alternatives in such a situation. First, we could forge ahead with our air strikes, bouncing the rubble in Baghdad, but increasingly making it appear to the world that we are the aggressor, not Saddam. Second, we could mount a second invasion of Iraq by U.S. ground forces. Or, third, we could admit failure and give up.

Of course, none of these alternatives have been considered acceptable. And so today we find our Nation paralyzed by indecision. Saddam has never before been in such clear violation of his international obligations. Our government has never before been so obviously unwilling to do anything about it.

The purpose of the Iraq Liberation Act is to try to break this logjam. It creates a fourth alternative, an alternative that meets both our short-term and our longer-term requirements with regard to Iraq. In the short term, we need to be able to bring more effective pressure to bear on Saddam in order to force him to comply with his international obligations. In the longer term, we need to remove his regime from power. 

Let there be no mistake about it. Saddam is the problem, and there will be no permanent solution as long as his regime remains. The Iraq Liberation Act gives the President tools that he should find useful in designing a comprehensive strategy to deal with Saddam both in the short term and over the longer term. The legislation does not require the President to equip a rebel army in Iraq, but it gives him all the authority he needs to do so. If he uses that authority, it will cost money, perhaps as much as $99 million that the bill authorizes, perhaps ultimately more, but whatever the cost, it will be far less than the $1.4 billion supplemental appropriation we provided this year alone for unbudgeted U.S. military operations against Saddam Hussein.

Since this bill was introduced, Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the administration to try to refine it in order to make it most useful to the President. At their suggestion we have incorporated a number of changes at our committee markup last week to improve the legislation, and as a result of our work with the administration I have been informed the administration does not oppose enactment of the bill.

With regard to one technical matter, I note that the criterion in Section 5 (c)(1) for designation of Iraqi opposition organizations is intended to ensure that only broad based organizations are designated. They may be broad based by having a broad spectrum of groups cooperating within one organization. In the case of organizations composed primarily of one ethnic sector such organizations may also be designated if they include a broad spectrum of individuals within the sector. In any event, I would expect the designation issue to be the subject of dialogue and accommodation between the Executive Branch and Congress as required by the notification provision contained in section 5(d).

Mr. Speaker, this bill will give our government additional tools with which to confront the threat to international peace and security posed by Saddam Hussein, and for this reason I believe it deserves the support of our Members. Accordingly, I urge our colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 4655 .

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, understand this legislation came before the committee on Friday, one legislative day prior to today. There has been no committee report filed, and it was brought up under suspension. And I believe this legislation is very serious legislation. It is not a casual piece of legislation condemning a leader in another country that is doing less than honorable things.

I see this piece of legislation as essentially being a declaration of virtual war. It is giving the President tremendous powers to pursue war efforts against a sovereign Nation. It should not be done casually. I think it is another example of a flawed foreign policy that we have followed for a good many decades.

For instance, at the beginning of this legislation it is cited as one of the reasons why we must do something. It says on September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran starting an 8-year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops, very serious problems. We should condemn that. But the whole problem is we were Iraq’s ally at that time, giving him military assistance, giving him funds and giving him technology for chemical weapons.

So here we are now deciding that we have to virtually declare war against this individual. It is not like he is the only hoodlum out there. I could give my colleagues a list of 15 or 20. I do not like the leadership of China. Why do we not do something about China? I do not like the leadership of Sudan. But all of a sudden we have to decide what we are going to give this President to pursue getting rid of Saddam Hussein.

Just a few months ago, or last November, we passed a resolution, and the resolution was H.R. 137. It sounded very general and very benign, and it talked about the atrocities caused by Saddam Hussein, and we asked to condemn and also to set up a U.N. commission to study this and give the U.N. authority to pursue arrests and convict and try Saddam Hussein. So this is not something we are doing for the interests of the United States. We are doing this under the interests of the United Nations, but we are the spokesperson for them.

Not too long ago, a few years back, in 1980s, in our efforts to bring peace and democracy to the world we assisted the freedom fighters of Afghanistan, and in our infinite wisdom we gave money, technology and training to Bin Laden, and now, this very year, we have declared that Bin Laden was responsible for the bombing in Africa. So what is our response, because we allow our President to pursue war too easily? What was the President’s response? Some even say that it might have been for other reasons than for national security reasons. So he goes off and bombs Afghanistan, and he goes off and bombs Sudan, and now the record shows that very likely the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was precisely that, a pharmaceutical plant.

So I say we should stop and think for a minute before we pursue and give the President more authority to follow a policy that to me is quite dangerous. This to me is equivalent to declaring war and allowing the President to pursue this.

Another complaint listed on this legislation: in February 1988 Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their homes. Terrible thing to do, and they probably did; there is no doubt about it. But what did we do after the Persian Gulf war? We encouraged the Kurdish people to stand up and fight against Saddam Hussein, and they did, and we forgot about them, and they were killed by the tens of thousands. There is no reason for them to trust us. There is no reason for the Sudanese people to believe and trust in us, in what we do when we rain bombs on their country and they have done nothing to the United States. The people of Iraq certainly have not done anything to the United States, and we certainly can find leaders around the world that have not done equally bad things. I think we should stop and think about this.

Just today it was announced that the Turks are lined up on the Syrian border. What for? To go in there and kill the Kurds because they do not like the Kurds. I think that is terrible. But what are we doing about it? Who are the Turks? They are our allies, they are our friends. They get military assistance. The American people are paying the Turks to keep their military up. So we are responsible for that.

This policy makes no sense. Some day we have to think about the security of United States. We spend this money. We spent nearly $100 million bombing nobody and everybody for who knows what reason last week. At the same time our military forces are undertrained and lack equipment, and we are wasting money all around the world trying to get more people, see how many people we can get to hate us. Some day we have to stop and say why are we pursuing this. Why do we not have a policy that says that we should, as a Congress, defend the United States, protect us, have a strong military, but not to police the world in this endless adventure of trying to be everything to everybody. We have been on both sides of every conflict since World War II. Even not too long ago they were talking about bombing in Kosovo. As a matter of fact, that is still a serious discussion. But a few months ago they said, well, we are not quite sure who the good guys are, maybe we ought to bomb both sides. It makes no sense. Why do we not become friends to both sides?

There are people around the world that we deal with that are equally repulsive to Saddam Hussein, and I believe very sincerely that the founders of this country were on the right track when they said stay out of entangling alliances. And we should trade with people; we would get along with them better. We have pursued this type of policy in Cuba for 40 years, and it has served Castro well. Why do we not go down and get rid of Castro? Where do we get this authority to kill a dictator? We do not have that authority, and to do it under one day of hearings, mark it up, bring it up the next day under suspension; I do not understand why anybody could vote for this just on the nature of it.

We should not be doing this. We should stop and think about it and try to figure out a much better way.

I, for instance, am on a bill to trade with Cuba. Oh, how horrible, we should not trade with Cuba, they are a bunch of Commies down there. But we should be selling them rice and we should be selling them our crops. We should not be bombing these people.

As my colleagues know, at the end of this bill I think we get a hint as to why we do not go to Rwanda for humanitarian reasons. Now there is some atrocities. Why do we not clean that mess up? Because I believe very sincerely that there is another element tied into this, and I think it has something to do with money, and I think it has something to do with oil. The oil interests need the oil in Iraq, and he does not, Saddam Hussein does not, comply with the people of the west. So he has to go.

But also at the end of this legislation it tells us something about what might be going on. It is they are asking to set up and check into the funds that Saddam Hussein owes to the west. Who is owed? They do not owe me any money. But I will bet my colleagues there is a lot of banks in New York who are owed a lot of money, and this is one of the goals, to set up and make sure Saddam Hussein pays his bills.

All I do is ask my colleagues to think about it, urge them to go slowly. Nothing is so pressing that we should give the President this much authority to go to war.

Under the appropriations it is endless, it is open, endless, and here we are concerned about saving Social Security. Any amount of money spent on this bill comes out of Social Security. Yes, there was yelling and screaming about a tax cut. Oh, it is coming out of Social Security. Well, this money is not appropriated, and it is such sums as necessary for military and economic benefits. After we get rid of one thug, we are going to have it in. I hope we make a better choice than we did with Bin Laden. I mean he was our close ally.

Please think twice, slow up, vote against this bill. We do not need this.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. 

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 8 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton), and I ask unanimous consent that he be permitted to control this time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Miller of Florida). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?

There was no objection.

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for this generous grant of time, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill, but I do have some concerns about it. The bill appears to be simple. It authorizes U.S. assistance for Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. There are very good intentions behind it. Almost all of us oppose Saddam Hussein, and we would like to see him out of power. We all want to support a viable Iraqi opposition.

Having said that, the bill does have some serious implications for United States efforts to retain the sanctions on Iraq and maintain strong international support for our policies toward Iraq.

My understanding is that U.S. policy toward Iraq since the Gulf War has been a policy of containment. We have pursued that policy now for over 2 administrations. That policy has been reasonably successful at a price that we are willing to pay. We have protected fundamental American national interests in the region, stability, the free flow of oil, the security of friends and allies. We have specifically rejected an invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Such an invasion would take several hundred thousand troops. There is no guarantee that we would get Saddam Hussein or that his successor would be any better. 

Having rejected an invasion of Iraq, but still seeking to get rid of Saddam, we now come to this bill. The policy message that Congress sends with this bill is different than the stated policy of the United States.

This bill states that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein. What is striking about the bill is the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, would depend on third parties, not even third countries, to carry out its policy objectives.

Let me state several concerns about the bill even though I support the bill. First no one should underestimate the difficulties of uniting the Iraqi opposition. It includes some 70 groups and at least three or four major groups.

We have tried over many years to unite the Iraqi opposition, and it has not happened. There is, however, modest reason for encouragement. The two main Kurdish groups have a fragile agreement with each other, but they don’t want to work with Ahmed Chalabi.

We have aided some of these opposition leaders since the early 1970s. We have worked hard since 1991 to bring them together. Success has been limited. Any program for unifying the opposition and turning it into a viable alternative through the current Iraqi regime is a long-term proposition.

Second, I am concerned about creating false expectations. Iraqi opposition leaders may misinterpret this bill as an open-ended U.S. commitment to their cause.

When the Kurdish leaders were in town last week, they talked about security assurances from the United States. It is apparent from their comments that they expect very substantial support from the United States, including air power.

We have to spell out very carefully and in writing what the United States is prepared and not prepared to do. On at least three occasions, Iraqi opposition leaders felt that the United States broke its commitments, and we should not contribute to false expectations again.

Third, there is a wide gap here between means and objectives in this bill. When we declare that our policy is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, we raise the objectives of our policy very high. Yet we provide modest means to achieve what has proven to be a very difficult objective. When you have a gap between goals and means, that often leads to trouble in the conduct of American foreign policy.

Fourth, I wonder whether the bill is at all workable, whether it is possible for the administration to implement a program of military assistance. For example, can we identify any country that is prepared to accept military equipment in the presence of armed Iraqi opposition groups on its territory? I am not able to do that as of now.

Finally, the bill could harm the ability of the United States to keep U.N. sanctions in place against Iraq. If it becomes the public policy of the United States to remove Saddam Hussein, as this bill seeks to do, then there will be less unity in confronting Baghdad, more criticism of the United States, and probably more difficulty in getting support for sanctions and for U.N. weapons inspections among Arab States and among Security Council members.

Under present circumstances, it is hard to name one Arab country or one Security Council member that would support a U.S. program to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

I understand that some Members question how well the sanctions are working, but we should not throw out one of the key elements of our strategy.

No Member should think that by supporting this bill, we are strengthening sanctions against Iraq. We risk the opposite.

To conclude, this is a very serious piece of legislation the committee has produced. I will not oppose the bill, because I, like most of us, feel the opposition should be supported, and Iraq and the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein.

But we should have a clear idea of what we are doing. We are making a down payment on support for the opposition. We should have no illusions about the bill.

Uniting the opposition will take a long time. The bill could create false expectations. There is a wide gap between means and objectives in this bill. There is plenty of doubt whether the bill is workable. The bill does risk the weakening of sanctions against Iraq.

Let us be very clear about what the bill does and does not do. The bill states the sense of Congress. It does not change U.S. policy. The bill does not compel the provision of military assistance to Iraqi opposition groups. The bill leaves the administration flexibility in carrying out U.S. policy toward Iraqi opposition groups. I understand that the administration does not oppose the bill.

So despite some of my concerns, I support the bill. As the legislative process moves along, I hope improvements can be made in the bill.

 

 

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This was Congressman Paul’s speech on the House Floor against HR137.   Congressman Ron Paul is an Eagle, harrassed and harangued by crows in Congress. 

EXPRESSING SENSE OF HOUSE CONCERNING NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL TO TRY MEMBERS OF IRAQI REGIME (House of Representatives – November 13, 1997)

Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I agree certainly with the sharp criticism against the government and the leaders of Iraq. I do disagree with what we are trying to do here, not because it is not well motivated, but I do not see that we have the authority to all of a sudden impose our system of justice across the entire world. I do not think it is effective. I think it drums up anti-American hostility more than it achieves justice.

But there is a bit of inconsistency here. Earlier it was mentioned that it is not only the Iraqis that abuse the Kurds, the Turks do it as well. Why are the Turks not included in this? Why do we not call them out and put them on the carpet and demand justice from the Turks? But they happen to be our allies.

At the same time, we ignore other major problems. What did we do with China? The leaders of China came here, they got the red carpet treatment and a promise of more money. But how do they treat their people at Tiananmen Square and currently throughout their whole country? They abuse civil liberties there.

But are we going to do the same thing? Do Members think we can do that? We pick and choose and pretend that we are going to perform this great system of justice on the world. Indonesia today, they are getting bailed out by the American taxpayer to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. They mistreat in a serious manner the people in East Timor. But here we decide all of a sudden that we are going to, through the United Nations, expose the American taxpayer, expose young American soldiers, because how are we going to enforce these things? Where do we get this authority to be the policeman of the world?

I do not believe we have this authority. I believe it is detrimental overall to our national security. I believe it is a threat to the American people and indirectly, in many ways, to the taxpayer. I object. I object generally to so many of these amendments, so well-intended. I do not disagree with the challenges, the charges made against Iraq and the leadership. I strongly criticize the approach to trying to solve this very serious problem.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. PAUL. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. First, would the gentleman suggest that there is not a relationship between freedom and peace?

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the gentleman is getting at. I know the most important thing for freedom and peace is for me to obey the Constitution. Where is it the authority of the Constitution for us to police the world?

Mr. ROHRABACHER. The gentleman is suggesting, then, that this body should not have condemned Adolf Hitler until he actually attacked the United States, is that what he would suggest? Is that his foreign policy?

Mr. PAUL. I think that is not the debate on the floor right now. I think when our national security is threatened, the American people have a right to vote through their Congressmen for a declaration of war.

This is the kind of thing that leads to Vietnam War-type wars and U.N. sanctions. This is the kind of thing that leads to Koreas, Vietnams and useless wars. This is why we did not win the war in the Persian Gulf and why we are still faced with this problem.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Short of a declaration of war, the gentleman does not think the United States Government should do anything about tyranny?

Mr. PAUL. I believe in the responsibility of this U.S. Congress to assume that they are the ones that declare war in a proper manner.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I have no criticism about those who are challenging the leadership in Iraq. I condemn them. I challenge, though, the technique that we are using, the process that we are using. I do not believe we have the authority. Long-term, it is not effective.

It is totally inconsistent when we are dealing with China. These token resolutions that we dealt with on China will have nothing to do with solving the problem. At the same time, we give them more money, we give the Turks more money, we give China more money, we give Indonesia more money, and they are all in the process of abusing civil liberties. I just think that we have conveniently picked a whipping horse and we are pretending that we are doing some good.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Porter].

Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to say to the gentleman who just finished speaking that I certainly respect the consistency of his ideas, but I disagree. If he had expressed those ideas as a member of the parliament in Turkey or if he expressed them in Iraq or in Indonesia, he might well find himself in the same situation as Leyla Zana and the Kurdish parliamentarians found themselves and, that is, behind bars. It seems to me that if we do not recognize that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, that our freedoms and theirs are in some way connected, we will invite the kind of terrorism that Saddam Hussein practices on his people and others practice on their people throughout this world. 

Let me agree with him, however, in part. Let us stop giving money to the Turks as long as they repress their people. Let us stop giving money to the Indonesian Government that takes away the religious freedoms of the people of East Timor. Let us stop supporting dictators that deny the basic human rights of their people.

I believe that we attempt very strongly to be consistent. We passed nine bills dealing with China. Those bills do have a potential, particularly the one on Radio Free Asia that will broadcast to China and Tibet and North Korea and Burma. I think we have a potential for positively impacting their society.

Let us never give up our ideals and our beliefs in human freedom, the very foundation of this society, because we might see a little inconsistency or cannot find the exact words we want to give us authority. The authority is moral authority, and it has a great power in this world if only we will exercise it.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Snowbarger). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman] that the House suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 137.

The question was taken.

Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

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