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United States House of Representatives 1400-1500
HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE: The House meets for Legislative Business. VOTE expected late afternoon on Iraq Resolution Consideration of H.Con.Res.63 - Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq (Reps. Skelton, Lantos, Jones (NC) - Armed Services, Foreign Affairs) (Continuing Consideration) H.Res. 161 -Providing for consideration of H.R. 976 under Suspension of the Rules (Rules) Suspensions (1 bill): 1) H.R. 976 - Small Business Tax Relief (Reps. Rangel, McCrery - Ways and Means) 14:00:15.5 all the other. as it has before in the darkest ages of human existence. my friends, we must heed the better angels of this nature. we must unite this house behind the self-evident truth, all human beings are endowed by 14:00:31.4 their creators with their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. we must extend freedom to the iraqis and in so doing enhance the liberties of all free peoples and inspire all those caged in tyranny and embrace. 14:00:48.2 we must let hope flow from the hands of god. epans pate humanity and -- emancipate humanity. madam speaker, we must reject 14:01:01.8 this resolution, unite behind our heroic troops and be free. the speaker pro tempore: jaths. -- the gentleman's time has 14:01:16.6 expired. mr. lantos: madam speaker, i'm delighted to yield to my good from mississippi, congressman thompson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for five minutes. mr. thompson: thank you very 14:01:31.8 much, madam speaker. madam speaker, three months ago the american people sent a resounding message for change. they voted for a new direction in congress and new direction for the war in iraq. in solemn tribute to the 14:01:48.9 sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces in mississippi's second congressional district who have served in iraq and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. i'd like to recognize some of mississippi's second district 14:02:03.9 heroes. staff sergeant kenneth bradley, hometown utica, mississippi, age 39 years old, died may 28, 2003 in operation iraqi freedom. larry k. brown, hometown 14:02:21.9 jackson, mississippi, age 22 years old, died april 5, 2003, in operation iraqi freedom. rayfield s. davis, hometown tuck weiler, mississippi, age 24 14:02:37.8 years of age, died december 22, 2003, in operation iraqi freedom. captain kermit o. evans, holendale, mississippi, age 31 years old, december 3, 2006, in 14:02:54.4 operation iraqi freedom. joshua s. ladd, port gibson, mississippi, 20 years old, may 1, 2004, in operation iraqi freedom. 14:03:10.0 master sergeant brian mcnulty, hometown vicksburg, mississippi, age 39 years of age, december 11, 2006, in operation iraqi freedom. staff sergeant john mcgee, carrie, mississippi, age 36 14:03:29.3 years, may 2, 2005. staff sergeant joe wilson, crystal springs, mississippi, 30 years of age, november 2, 2003, in operation iraqi freedom. madam speaker, the department of 14:03:45.9 defense reports that as of february 15, 2007, 3,126 u.s. military service members have died as a result of their service in iraq. more than 25,000 have been 14:04:03.1 wounded. this bipartisan resolution before us today asks members a straightforward question -- do you approve of the president's announced proposal on january 10, 2007, to deploy more than 14:04:17.9 20,000 additional united states combat troops in iraq? there is no question that the way forward in iraq is one of our greatest challenges. the open debate offered here today allows us all an opportunity to express our 14:04:33.3 sentiments and on the administration's proposal. the sacrifices, dedication, patriotism of our elite military and their families deserve no less. i oppose the president's proposal. 14:04:46.6 until the president is willing to sit down with congress and provide accurate data on what is really going on in this war, i cannot on good conscience support putting more men in harm's way. this administration used bad 14:05:03.1 intelligence to justify the rationale for war, and i fear they are using bad judgment here today in their call for sending 25,000 more troops into harm's way. the administration keeps calling this proposal a troop surge. let's call it what it is. 14:05:20.1 the proposal is a troop increase. rather than a troop surge, what we need from this administration is a truth surge. the incompetence and misinformation that has gotten us into this mess is not the competence that it will take to 14:05:35.6 get us out. the president and this administration must remain faithful and truthful to congress and the american people by openly discussing appropriate measures to resolve the situation in iraq that is worsening daily. 14:05:50.2 the president must allow congress to do what was formed to do under the constitution. his decision to continue in this direction is not democratic, and therefore, does not demonstrate the best example of what we are fighting for in iraq. we must not allow the president 14:06:06.9 to escalate the iraq war without specific congressional approval. madam speaker, we must send the president a message you cannot ignore. we must pass the skelton-lantos-jones resolution. 14:06:22.0 with that i yield back the balance of my time. thank you, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, at this time i would like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from virginia, mr. cantor, the deputy whip of the minority. 14:06:41.2 the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. cantor: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, just two days ago on february 14, osama bin laden's deputy, zawahiri, posted a speech on an islamist website where he blessed jihad fighters 14:06:56.7 in iraq, afghanistan and smalla and urged them to remain -- somalia and urged them to remain steadfast. he mentioned those in the islamic jihadist media. 14:07:13.4 there is no doubt about it, madam speaker, we are fighting against an enemy that uses every weapon at its disposal to inflict casualties upon our soldiers in the field. this enemy seeks not just victory in iraq, but a caliphate that would threaten the security 14:07:31.0 of america and freedom-loving people throughout the world. today, this house will vote on a nonbinding resolution that disapproves of a surge in iraq. a resolution that discourages our troops, yet fails to satisfy a the anti-war movement of america's left. 14:07:46.9 the resolution will likely pass today with a near unanimous support of my friends on the other side of the aisle. yet, madam speaker, i am troubled by their seeming unwillingness to accept the real consequences of this outcome. this from the party of john f. 14:08:04.4 kennedy who so inspired our nation when he said in his inaugural address, let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe in order 14:08:21.0 to assure the survival and the success of liberty. madam speaker, we have come a long way since our nation's 35th president spoke those words 46 years ago. this debate arrives at a historic time in our nation's 14:08:36.9 history, not because of the resolution we are considering today, but because of the results of our efforts in iraq will have a true impact on the lives of our soldiers and the security of all of us for generations to come. recently, i received a letter 14:08:51.9 from one of my constituents who expressed some very real concerns about the democrats' view of the war in iraq. 14:09:00.0 he writes -- i am a service member that has served in iraq training iraqis. i have 19 years of service. i spent six years in the virginia army national guard, and i'm entering my 13th year of active federal service. pulling out of iraq doesn't send the right message to those we 14:09:15.1 are fighting, he said. not enough is being said about what the u.s. will do if we withdraw and what will happen in the midst of a power vacuum. the soldier went on to say, i personally served in the streets of baghdad in 2006, and i would have felt better serving 14:09:32.2 thinking that both houses of congress gave me their full support. madam speaker, what we debate in this house, how we conduct ourselves does have real consequences. some of our country's bravest are on the battlefield and on the streets of baghdad as we 14:09:49.9 speak. we have seen throughout our history what happens when our resolve is weak. in 1993 this congress half-heartedly supported the commitment of troops to subdue the violent warlords of somalia. the precipitous withdraw in the 14:10:03.8 face of casualties left a chaotic nation, to this day, that harbors terrorists and is a feeding ground for instability. the lessons of history must not be forgotten as we face a determined enemy of islamic terrorists who are waging a war 14:10:19.1 upon freedom. madam speaker, the american people want us to fight and win in iraq and bring our troops home. our soldiers seek nothing more than the support they require to perform their mission and the 14:10:34.3 knowledge that the american people believe that their sacrifice is necessary and noble. contrary to those -- some of those on the other side of the aisle who have stood here in this well believing and saying that this debate is a breath of fresh air. 14:10:51.6 our enemies will be the only ones satisfied by this debate. they will have received all the political rhetoric they require to convince their followers that complete victory is at hand. one can only imagine with horror how many islamic radicals will 14:11:08.2 be inspired to continue the fight after this house resolves that it supports our troops but not the mission we ask them to perform. to those who support this resolution and oppose any effort to achieve victory in iraq, i challenge you to be true to your 14:11:25.5 convictions and bring a binding resolution to the floor to cut off funds for our troops because that's really what this is all about. madam speaker, i oppose this resolution and urge my colleagues to vote no and send a message worth hearing to 14:11:40.7 america, her soldiers and our enemies. and with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: madam speaker, at this time i'd like to yield five minutes to the gentleman from 14:11:56.6 florida, mr. putnam. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. mr. putnam: thank you, madam speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. while this resolution may be nonbinding, we will all be bound by its consequences. the immediate and long-lasting 14:12:13.9 consequences, those here and in the combat zone. democrats continue to put forward an inherently contradictory message with dire consequences. on one hand offering rhetorical support for the troops, and on the other advancing a slow bleed 14:12:32.1 strategy that methodically construed those troops to succeed. from the testimonyals we heard, it is clear our troops believe their mission is winnable. and the message they are routinely delivering to us could 14:12:44.8 not be more clear. they want the chance to get the job done. ladies and gentlemen, our troops are not speaking off of a slickly produced focus group tested set of talking points. they're vocalizing the 14:13:01.3 overwhelming sentiments that exist on the frontlines. we do a disservice to those troops -- we do a disservice to the very troops we claim to support when we advance a slow-bleed strategy that cuts 14:13:17.5 off their lifeline of support. we don't support them when we choke off the funding they need to succeed. we don't support them when we erect political roadblocks designed to deny them the equipment they need to carry out their mission. we don't support them when we tie their hands behind their 14:13:34.5 backs. and we don't support our troops when we attach strings to the funding needed to ensure that when they need help it is on the way. yesterday, the chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee unveiled this dangerous slow-bleed doctrine on 14:13:51.0 a website that is directly affiliated with some of the most extreme elements of the anti-war left. 14:13:59.3 this is a political machine designed to elect and defeat politicians by using our troops as pawns. and now they seek to deprive those same troops of the resources they need to succeed in their mission. according to news reports, these 14:14:14.9 groups are prepared to spend $8.5 million on a national ad campaign to target lawmakers who did not adhere to their extremist, defeatist views. this resolution is not an earnest expression of 14:14:32.6 congressional sentiment. it's phase one of the far left's plan to elect more of their own. and all of this is for what? to send a message or settle a score with our commander in 14:14:47.9 chief, to raise campaign cash? it turns out our worse fears are true, that this resolution is in fact a first dangerous step to cutting off the funds our troops so desperately need. 14:15:02.6 . the remarks of the speaker with major national reporters, lending support to the slow bleed doctrine. next week, senior house leaders will convene to map out their 14:15:18.9 strategy for maximizing their ability to defund the troops while minimizing the political fallout. before you cast your vote today, you should see this resolution for what it is. phase one of a political campaign to strip our troops of 14:15:36.3 the funds they need. right now in some cave in iraq or afghanistan, information is being located on a hard drive that talks about a plan for a new attack in america. right now somewhere in the 14:15:52.6 middle east teenage boys are being groomed to be human bombs, to further the aims of these islamic extremists. right now money is being transferred across a global finance network to fund the attacks here on our soil or on 14:16:11.6 other allies' soil who believe in the types of freedom and open society we enjoy. in madrid, in london, in hamburg, in new york, in washington regardless of how many republicans cross the aisle and vote with the 14:16:24.4 democrats or how many democrats cross the aisle and vote with the republicans, tomorrow morning the terrorists will still wake up with hate on their hearts plotting the next scheme to bring down our economy. 14:16:38.3 to bring down our system of government. to bring down the lives of innocent. as recently as last august, as if we didn't learn from the events of 9/11, as recently as last august there was still an attempt to blow up 10 more airliners using baby food as 14:16:58.6 the means for bringing on the explosive device. resolutions like this do nothing to stop that type of hate. they only send the wrong signals to the men and women on 14:17:13.1 the frontlines for all of us. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: at this time i would like to recognize the gentleman from missouri, mr. blunt, the minority whip. 14:17:31.3 for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri is recognized for five minutes. mr. blunt: i thank the gentleman for the time. madam speaker, i rise again today asdy at the beginning of this debate to urge a no vote on this nonbinding resolution. we spent the week discussing 14:17:46.7 the situation in iraq and trying to find out what the resolution may really mean. as i said at the start of this debate, it's hard to imagine a less qualified group prepared to determine tactics on the ground than 535 members of 14:18:03.1 congress or 535 members of anything else. how many troops to deloy, where to deploy -- deploy, where to deploy them, which car to stop, where does it end? there is a disagreement on how we should fight this war on islamic totalitarianism, but 14:18:19.5 this fight is the challenge of our generation. mr. speaker, many of my friends on the other side of the aisle supported this mission at the beginning, now they are ready to give up in the middle of the fight. those who join me in opposing this nonbinding resolution have been saying all week, while 14:18:36.4 this resolution will have no impact because it's nonbinding, it's still the first step toward cutting funding for our troops. yesterday we were told that this is the first step toward pulling the rug out from under our troops in the field. this week, one of the veterans, 14:18:52.8 one of the veterans on our side of the aisle, was accused of being dishonest in her 14:19:00.5 representation when she said that this resolution will vote -- we'll vote on today did not support those who are deploying, but the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murtha, said just yesterday during the 14:19:14.1 unveiling of his strategy to pull the rug out from under our troops, quote, this, they won't be able to continue, they won't be able to do the deployment, they won't have the equipment, they don't have the training, and they won't be able to do the work, end quote. 14:19:31.1 but he also said, another quote, i think first of all we have to be careful that people don't think this is the vote. the real vote will come on the legislation we are putting together. this nonbinding legislation is just an opinion. 14:19:47.7 end his quote. i would say this resolution says just enough not to say anything at all. we have already heard the democrats calling the debate this week the bark before the bite. their so-called slow bleed approach is the bite that will 14:20:03.8 surely hurt those fighting under america's flag overseas. this nonbinding resolution is the first step in an all too binding spiral toward defeat in a fight that we cannot afford to lose. 14:20:20.1 i am not pleased to vote no today, but i will vote no knowing that the no vote is the right vote. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. lantos: madam speaker, as we come to the end of this 14:20:38.8 debate, i want to commend every participant on both sides for conveying powerfully and eloquently their deeply held views. 14:20:51.5 i started this debate in the firm belief that escalation is a flawed idea. after listening carefully for the past four days to all of my colleagues, i am more convinced 14:21:08.6 than ever that escalation is a flawed idea. escalation is not only the wrong policy for the united states, it is also the wrong policy for iraq. 14:21:27.4 if iraq is to succeed as a stable and prosperous state, it must learn to take responsibility. it must learn to take difficult die significances. 14:21:44.2 it must amend its constitution in the interest of iraqi reconciliation. it must devise an equitable law for sharing its oil and gas revenues. and it must take primary responsibility for its own 14:22:01.3 security. unless we de-escalate, iraq will never step up to the plate . but that is not the only reason we must de-escalate. unless we do so, our great 14:22:19.4 nation will be unable to fulfill its many far-flung global responsibilities. unless we dee escalate, we -- de-escalate, we will simply 14:22:33.6 lack the resources for crittaltasks here at home and overseas -- critical tasks here at home and overseas. all of us, madam speaker, are passionately committed to supporting and defending our troops. in the coming weeks my fellow 14:22:51.5 democrats and i will bring forth specific proposals to enhance this nation's support and defense of our brave troops. madam speaker, the american 14:23:06.3 people are not well served by this surge and by our present course in iraq. this omelette cannot be unscrambled. there have been far too many 14:23:20.8 mistakes made to undo the damage. for the sake of iraq, for the sake of our own national interest, and for the sake of our incomparable troops, deescalation -- de-escalation 14:23:40.0 must begin and it must begin now. i strongly support our resolution. urge all of my colleagues to do so and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the 14:23:56.5 gentleman from california is 14:23:58.0 recognized. or -- the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: thank you, madam speaker. at this time i'd like to yield four minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. rogers. the speaker pro tempore: the 14:24:13.6 gentleman from kentucky is recognized for four minutes. mr. rogers: madam speaker, i rise today to support our troops and our nation. it's really that simple. we in congress have an obligation and duty to debate the many different issues facing the country. our words and our actions 14:24:31.4 traditionally make their way to our constituents' living rooms and the national news, but now with communications being what they are, to our troops in the field through the internet. our words are the guiding principles by which the voters 14:24:46.0 ultimately make their decision on who they want representing them here. and this week obviously is no exception. our words will carry on for many months to come. our constituents are listening as there is no issue more sobering or more somber than 14:25:00.7 this one. over the last four days, though , i have been struck not so much by the rhetoric on display here by the effects this debate will have on the morale of our troops. our words have carried much further than those living rooms 14:25:16.2 this past week. this debate will inevitably make its way to our troops there in iraq, standing watch in some remote outpost, training iraqi security forces -- the speaker pro tempore: the house is not in order. 14:25:30.9 the chair wants to remind all the members that any member that's speaking deserves the full attention of the house. so let's give the member that. the gentleman may resume. mr. rogers: this debate will inevitably make its way to the parents of our troops, their spouse, their children. 14:25:47.9 these children will remember parts of this debate and will grow up learning just how much their country supported their parents during these trying times. the talk also goes to the enemy who is watching and listening to us in the caves, on the 14:26:06.7 battlefield, the terrorist cells, wherever they may be. they are monitoring what we are saying to learn of our resolve so even if it's just talk, we ought to be very careful what we say. the world is watching and 14:26:19.6 listening. since we have the power to fund our military, i want to talk wreefly, -- briefly, we have one commander in chief, the president's premise for going to war in both afghanistan and iraq has always been to go on the offensive. it's hard to prove a negative, but it's obvious that we have 14:26:35.3 not had one terrorist attack in the u.s. since 9/11. that's not all because of our decision to go to war in iraq, but it's one of the reasons. everybody ought to know by now the basic mindset of the terrorist jihadist. 14:26:50.7 they are attracted to volatile parts of the middle east where broken regimes make it ok to practice hatred and violence. they are looking for safe sanctuary that provides secrecy, communications capabilities, and a basic infrastructure with which to concoct their next scheme. 14:27:08.1 they plan and plot and wait to pounce in various hot spots around the world just as they have done in kenya, tanzania, and the u.s.s. cole, madrid, london. it's a low grade world war. if we finish this job iraq might be a place where people 14:27:25.7 are more concerned with getting to work and raising a family than one where terrorists can plan attacks and sectarian violence is rampant. it won't be perfect. let's be honest about what's called sectarian violence. where did that come from? 14:27:40.7 a lot of it from terrorist organizations and al qaeda foremost. it's provoked and producted along because our enemies know it will test our resolve. listen to the tapes of osama bin laden and al-zawahari, they talk about it all the time. 14:27:57.9 what they want for the -- for themselves is for the u.s. to give up. they call us a paper tiger. a country that gives up when support wanes or when the going gets difficult. in their view after we give up, they will claim victory and 14:28:15.3 turn iraq into a terrorist factory of training camps, weapons making, and surveillance operations. all designed for the express purpose of waging the next attack in the u.s. or otherwise advancing this low-grade world war. 14:28:30.5 the president knows this and we need to end this war. he has taken the input of others and readjusted our strategy. as we speak, his readjusting our tactics. the iraqis must take charge of their own security. our military is pressing for 14:28:47.4 action. action from our own troops to quell the violence and action to get the iraqi security forces trained, equipped, and ready to act. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. 14:28:57.3 mr. rogers: i hope to bring the kentucky troops home but not until the work is done. oppose the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. lantos: madam speaker, this is a bipartisan resolution and 14:29:16.2 i'm pleased to call on my friend and colleague from north carolina, mr. walter jones. the speaker pro tempore: how much time? mr. lantos: five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for five minutes. mr. jones: madam speaker, thank 14:29:30.0 you very much. i am grateful to chairman skelton, chairman lantos for giving me the opportunity and the privilege to be part of this resolution. first of all to thank our men and women in uniform for their service, and secondly to 14:29:47.0 question whether the sending of 20,000-plus troops to be policemen in baghdad is the right thing or the wrong thing to do. i think this has been a great debate no matter which side of the aisle you have been on or which position you have had. 14:30:01.4 but, madam speaker, i want to again as i did two days ago, i know we cannot live in the past , but i will tell you my heart has ached ever since i went to a marine's funeral in april of 2003, michael bits died a sergeant, a sergeant who left a 14:30:22.8 wife and three children, twin that is were born two weeks after he was deployed, he never saw them, and at the funeral the wife read the last letter word for word. she cried and i cried, too, by 14:30:37.2 god. . then i started questioning, was the intelligence given to the congress and the american people, was it verified, was it true? 14:30:52.0 then i started speaking out and asking for those who were on the inside. and that's what i want to read to you today very quickly. general gregory newbold, marine general, and as far as i'm concerned, he is a hero because 14:31:10.8 he gave up a third star because he could not sit there and see the manipulation of the intelligence to send our troops to iraq. and i quote very quickly from an article that he wrote for "time" 14:31:26.6 magazine, april 9, 2006. two senior military officers are known to have challenged defense secretary rumsfeld on the planning of the iraq war. army general eric shinseki publicly found himself 14:31:45.0 marginalized. gregory newbold, the top officer, voiced his opposition and then retired in part out of opposition to the war. and i further read from his writing for "time" magazine. from 2000 to 2002, i was a 14:32:02.9 marine corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the joint chief of staffs after 9/11 i was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of iraq, an unnecessary war, an 14:32:20.9 unnecessary war. inside the military family, i made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense, and i think i was outspoken enough to make those 14:32:31.7 senior to me uncomfortable. but i know regret that i did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were priffial to the real threat, al qaeda -- peripheral to the real threat, al qaeda. 14:32:48.0 i retired because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. he further stated, to be sure the bush administration and 14:33:03.3 senior military officials are not alone in their culpablity, members of congress from both parties defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight. these are not my words. they are the words of two star 14:33:23.1 marine general gregory newbold who gave up the third star because he could not say, stay and see what's happening to our military and to our country. madam speaker, i am proud to be part of this resolution. debate has never hurt anyone. 14:33:38.1 in fact, at the armed services meeting two weeks ago a question was asked either by my side or your side, will this demoralize the troops? and general pace and secretary of defense gates said, no, it 14:33:57.3 will not. they're smart, they understand. this is what freedom is all about is debate, disagreement and discussion. madam speaker, our troops have done a magnificent job, and they 14:34:11.1 cannot afford to continue to be policemen in a civil war. it does not -- it's not fair and it makes no sense at all. 70% of the american people are opposed to this surge. and madam speaker, i want to 14:34:27.5 read, retired general lieutenant jay gardner, the first u.s. official in charge of postwar baghdad -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. lantos: i give an additional 30 seconds to my friend. 14:34:44.0 mr. jones: he said, we should not be surprised, you will never find in my lifetime that all the iraqis mr. be around. they are too divided in their 14:35:00.0 loyalties. let's pass this resolution, and god bless our men and women in uniform. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. who seeks the floor? the gentleman from texas is 14:35:14.2 recognized. mr. carter: madam speaker, at this time i would like to yield one minute to the gentleman from ohio, mr. boehner, the minority leader. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for one minute. mr. boehner: i want to thank my colleague from texas for 14:35:30.6 yielding, and thank him and all of you for once again having the opportunity to come and speak on the floor on this resolution. the resolution before us is nonbinding. but it is the first step in a very treacherous path, a path 14:35:46.5 that if followed will endanger americans for generations to come. iraq is the central front in a global war between the united states of america and radical islamic terrorists, a war that began long before the horrific 14:36:03.1 events of 9/11, a war the american people did not seek and did not start. it's mind-boggling to consider how fanatically committed our enemies are to destroying america, even at the cost of 14:36:18.6 destroying themselves in the process. our enemies recruit young people, fill them with hate and rage, send them on suicide missions to kill innocent victims. we face an enemy that loves death more than it loves life. 14:36:36.6 as americans we cherish freedom and democracy. ours is a way of life. theirs is a way of death, of murder, of suicide. the global reach of radical islam stretches from north 14:36:52.8 africa through the middle east, to south asia, to indonesia and to the philippines. the other side wants americans to believe that the war in iraq is different from the war on terror. they even say that we're not fighting al qaeda in iraq, 14:37:10.4 ignoring the fact that al qaeda has made it the central front on their war against america. according to the experts and according to their own words, radical islamic terrorists will never stop fighting until much of the world is under islamic 14:37:26.1 law. in 2004, osama bin laden said the following about the conflict in iraq. and i quote, the whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries. the islamic nation and the united states and its allies on 14:37:40.8 the other side. it's either victory and glory or misery and humiliation, end quote. and our enemies are watching this debate, and through the arab media we know what they're saying. recently the second in command of al qaeda issued a warning to 14:37:59.8 moderate muslims in iraq and afghanistan who are working and dying to build peace and security. and he said this, these traitors in iraq and afghanistan must face their inevitable fate and 14:38:15.4 face up to the facts. america is about to depart and abandon them, just like they abandoned their friends in vietnam. the consequences of failure in iraq would be catastrophic for america and the world. 14:38:31.8 last month general petraeus spoke at a very real possibility of iraq's neighbors taking sides in sectarian violence. failing in iraq would jeopardize israel and greatly benefit iran, a nation governed by a fanatic 14:38:47.6 and actively building nuclear weapons. the battle we fight in iraq is 14:38:54.1 the biggest part of our global war. and if we leave the fight will in fact follow us home. and what we'll leave behind is chaos, the same kind of chaos we left behind in vietnam, the same kind of chaos we left behind in lebanon, and the same kind of 14:39:10.2 chaos that we left behind in somalia. who doesn't believe that we won't see chaos in iraq? destabilizing the middle east and jeopardizing the very security of the american people. 14:39:26.1 as americans, we're fortunate in so many ways. we have so many blessings, including a great and proud history to inspire us. earlier this week i talked about president lincoln and the challenges he faced during some of america's darkest days. 14:39:43.7 during the revolution, america faced down what was then the most powerful empire in the world with a rag tag army. we survived the civil war that would permanently divided any 14:39:59.4 other nation. after a crippling depression in the 1930's, we defeated japanese imperialialism and hitler in germany. we then defeated the soviet union and their communist empire 14:40:14.3 in a test of wills that lasted for a generation. the greatness in america is exemplified in a simple short letter about duty and sacrifice. the letter was written by marine 14:40:30.2 staff sergeant daniel clay, the husband of my former staffer, lisa clay. sergeant clay was one of 10 marines who were killed in fallujah a little over a year 14:40:44.9 ago and he left behind this letter to his family in case he did not come home. in it he said, what we have done in iraq is worth any sacrifice. why? 14:41:03.4 because it was our duty. he says, that sounds simple, but all of us have a duty. duty is defined as a god-given task. and without duty, life is worthless. 14:41:23.8 our troops are not the only americans who have a god-given task. if a noncommissioned officer can understand his duty, then certainly members of congress can understand theirs. 14:41:38.6 congress has a duty to protect the american people now so that the next generation can enjoy prosperity and freedom. congress also has a duty to the men and women in uniform when we send them into harm's way, a duty to provide them with the 14:41:55.4 full support and resources they need to accomplish their mission and return home safely. my friends on the other side have described this nonbinding resolution as their first step. it is their first step. it's the first step in a plan to 14:42:11.6 cut off funding and reinforcements for american troops in harm's way. the next step is to micromanage the war through the budget process. to quote the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murtha, who said yesterday, they won't be able to continue, they won't be 14:42:28.0 able to do the deployment, they won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work. mr. speaker, at this very moment, american troops are fighting radical islamic terrorists thousands of miles 14:42:44.3 away. and it's unthinkable that the united states congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely. the american people will not 14:42:59.6 support a strategy that involves pulling the rug out from under american troops in the combat zone by cutting off their reinforcements and forcing them to face an enemy without our full support. this resolution is nonbinding. but it's the first step toward a 14:43:18.0 tragic unthinkable goal. four years ago this body agreed that fighting this war was a worthy cause. there have been setbacks and members on both sides of the aisle are rightly dissatisfied with the results. 14:43:34.1 but this is war. we face a sophisticated, determined enemy who wants to annihilate our way of life. we have a duty to stand and fight against those who seek to destroy america and the freedom that defines us. 14:43:49.6 our troops are committed to fighting and winning this global 14:43:53.5 war. we owe them our unfailing support. i urge my colleagues to stand with the marines, the soldiers, the sailors and the airmen, and vote down this resolution. i urge my colleagues to think about our duty, our duty to 14:44:11.6 support our troops, our duty to protect the american people, and our duty to leave for our kids and their kids a safe, free and secure america. 14:44:25.2 our soldiers are dying around the world to protect us, upholding their duty. do we have the courage to uphold our duty? vote no on this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the 14:44:55.6 gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: thank you, madam speaker. at this time it is my honor and privilege to yield seven minutes to an american hero, a hero of the state of texas, a pilot in vietnam, one of the longest serving prisoners of war in the vietnam era, and a 14:45:13.9 personal hero of mine, mr. sam johnson of texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas it. mr. johnson: thank you. 14:45:37.6 the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for seven minutes. mr. johnson: thank you, madam chairman. you know, as he said, i flew 62 combat missions in the korean 14:45:47.3 war and 25 in vietnam before being shot down. had the privilege of serving in the united states air force for 29 years, attending the prestigious national war college, commanding two air base, among other things. 14:46:04.3 i mention these stories because i view the debate on the floor not just as a u.s. congressman elected to serve the good people of the third district in texas, but also through the lens of a long life fighter pilot. 14:46:20.1 student of war, a combat warrior, a leader of men, and a prisoner of war. ironically this week marks the anniversary that i started a new life and my freedom from prison in hanoi. i spent nearly seven years as that prisoner of war, more than 14:46:35.9 half of that time in solitary confinement. i flew out of hanoi on february 12, 1973, with other long held prisoners of war, weighing just 140 pounds. and tomorrow, 34 years ago, hi 14:46:52.9 my homecoming to texas -- i had my homecoming to texas, a truly unspeakable blessing of freedom. while in solitary confinement, my captors kept me in leg stocks like the pilgrims for 72 days. as you can imagine they had to 14:47:07.7 keer carry me out of the stocks because i couldn't walk. the following day they put me in leg irons for 2 1/2 years. that's when you have a tight metal cuff around each ankle with a foot long bar connecting the legs. i still have a little -- very little feeling in my right arm, 14:47:22.8 right hand, and my body has never been the same since my nearly 2,500 days of captivity. but i'll never let my physical would hes -- woes hold me back. instead i try to see the silver lining. 14:47:37.0 i say that because in some way i'm living a dream, a hope that i had for the future. from april 16, 1966 to february 12, 1973 i prayed that i would return home to the loving embrace of my wife, shirley, 14:47:54.3 and my three kids, bob, jenny, and beverly. my fellow p.o.w.'s and i clung to the hope of when not if we returned home. we would spend hours tapping on the adjoining cement walls about what we would do when we 14:48:10.0 got home to america. we pledged to quit griping about the way the government was running the war in vietnam and do something about it. we decided we would run for office and try to make america a better place for all of us. 14:48:26.3 so little did i know back in my rat infested three by eight dark and filthy cell that 34 years after my departure from hell on earth i would spend the anniversary of my release pleading for a house panel to 14:48:41.7 back my measure to support and fully fund our troops in harm's way. and that just days later i would be on the floor of the u.s. house of representatives 14:48:54.1 surrounded by distinguished veterans, urging congress to support our troops to the hilt. we p.o.w.'s were still in vietnam when washington cut the funding for vietnam. i know what it does to morale and mission success. 14:49:10.3 words cannot fully describe the horrendous damage of the anti-american efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground. our captors would blair nasty recordings over the loud speaker of americans protesting 14:49:26.8 back home, tales of americans spitting on vietnam veterans when they came home, and worse. i don't think we should ever, ever let that happen again. the pain inflicted by your country's indifference is 14:49:45.1 tenfold that inflicted by your ruthless captors. our troops and their families want, need, and deserve the full support of this country and the congress. moms and dads watching the news 14:49:58.9 need to know that the congress will not leave their sons and daughters in harm's way without support. since the president announced his new plan for iraq last month, there has been steady progress. 14:50:13.5 he changed the rules of engagement, removed political protection. there are reports we wounded the number two of al qaeda and killed his deputy. and, yes, al qaeda operates in iraq. it's alleged that top radical jihadist al-sadr has fled iraq 14:50:31.6 maybe to iran. and iraq's closed its borders with iran and syria. the president has changed course, has offered a new plan. we are making progress. we must seize the opportunity 14:50:47.0 to move forward not stifle future success. debating nonbinding resolutions aimed at earning political points only destroys morale, stymies success, and emboldens the enemy. 14:51:02.6 the grim reality is that this house measure is the first step to cutting funding of the troops. just ask john murtha about his slow bleed plan that hamstrings our troops in harm's way. now it's time to stand up for my friends who did not make it 14:51:19.9 home. and those who fought and died in iraq already. so i can keep my promise that when we got home we would quit griping about the war and do something positive about it. we must not allow this congress to leave these troops like the 14:51:36.5 congress left us. today let my body serve as a brutal reminder that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past. instead learn from them. we must not cut funding for our troops. 14:51:52.0 we must stick by them. we must support them. all the way. and to our troops we must remain always faithful. god bless you all. i salute you and this congress. 14:54:21.0 the speaker: the gentleman from 14:54:21.2 missouri is recognized. mr. skelton: does the gentleman from texas yield back the balance of his time? mr. carter: i do. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker: the gentleman from 14:54:36.9 missouri. mr. skelton: madam speaker, it's a privilege to share this body and this floor with the remarkable gentleman from texas 14:54:55.7 . i applaud him for his patriotism, his courage, and commitment to america. mr. skelton: madam speaker, we 14:55:26.7 have had a lot of debate on this resolution. i have listened to critics. i find it quite interesting that the criticism is focused almost exclusively on what this resolution doesn't say rather 14:55:47.1 than what it does. let me review, if i may, the resolution says two simple things. we support the troops completely, wholeheartedly, now and in the future. and we disapprove of the white 14:56:02.9 house's plan to deploy more than 20,000 additional combat troops to iraq. that's what we are voting on today. and nothing said on this floor or in this chamber will change the fact that that's what is 14:56:19.7 before us. i oppose the president's plan because it will embroil our troops even more deeply in a sectarian conflict. some call this conflict a civil war. 14:56:33.2 some call this more complicated than a civil war. either way it's a conflict we cannot resolve and which ultimately cannot be resolved militarily. the president's plan to deploy more troops simply not the 14:56:49.4 answer. it cannot fix the three irretrievable mistakes made in 2003, when the administration insists on debaathfication, dissolving the iraqi army, and shutting down the state-run 14:57:05.5 industries, throwing hundreds 14:57:07.3 of thousands of iraqis out of work and creating untold numbers of insurgents. the president's plan hastily put together is insufficient in a number of ways. it's insufficient in the 14:57:22.4 requirements for progress it places on the iraqi political system. the true certainty of gravity in this whole con-- center of gravity in this whole conflict. it's insufficient to the support it provides to our combat forces both in terms of equipment as well as support 14:57:38.0 forces. and it's insufficient in the amount of training and time it allows for deloiging -- deploying units. as a result of the president's plan u.s. military forces will be less ready to go into, during and after this troop 14:57:54.9 increase and sadly they could be stretched to the point of breaking, to the point of breaking. finally i oppose the white house's plan because it will heighten the already unacceptable level of strategic risk currently facing our 14:58:14.5 nation. strategic risk that exists because our military is over committed in iraq and ill-equipped and ill positioned to respond to emerging crises elsewhere in the world. and this worries me. it worries me deeply. i have been privileged to serve 14:58:33.5 here in congress slightly over 30 years. and over that time 12 significant military contingencies have occurred in which our military have been involved. each of them occurred in an 14:58:48.6 unexpected place and unexpected time. it will happen again. right now we are not prepared as we should be for an unforeseen military threat. that worries me. 14:59:04.6 unfortunately it is a magnificent, wonderful, courageous men and women of our military who will pay the price for that failure. 14:59:21.5 madam speaker, we must send the white house a message that cannot be ignored. and that's what we are here today. i urge that we pass the skelton-lantos-jones resolution 14:59:35.0 . i yield back. the speaker: all time for 14:59:57.7 debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 157, the concurrent resolution is considered as read and the previous question is ordered. the question is on adoption of the concurrent resolution. so many as are in favor say