Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I would like to remind everyone that we are not really talking about a resolution. We keep hearing this ``war on Iraq,'' ``war on Iraq.'' We are not talking about a war on Iraq. That is totally misleading. We are talking about helping the people of Iraq liberate themselves from this monster and, in doing so, alleviating a major threat to the security and well-being of the people of the United States of America.
There is nothing for us to apologize about in terms of helping those people free themselves from a tyrant who is renowned in the world among all tyrants. We are talking about helping them, liberating them. They will be dancing in the streets, waving American flags, just as people of Afghanistan still are grateful to us for freeing them and helping them free themselves from the horror of the Taliban and bin Laden, who held them in their tyrannical grip for years.
And let me remind those people who are so concerned, and, by the way, there will always be the hand-wringers among us, believe me. There would be no action that we could possibly take that is going to get the support of people who will always find an excuse for doing nothing. It takes courage to step forward.
This job in Iraq will be easier than what happened in Afghanistan. I spent a long time familiarizing myself with Afghanistan, as my colleagues know. Afghanistan, perhaps 10 percent of the people supported the Taliban. Perhaps that many. Nobody supports Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He has almost zero support among the people. They are frightened to death. Even his Republican Guard has been purged, and they now are not reliable for him. They are waiting for us to help them free themselves. They are, and will be, friends of the United States.
We are not declaring war on Iraq. We are declaring that Saddam Hussein must go. And Saddam Hussein must go for the sake of the people of Iraq and for the sake of the safety of our own people.
And let me note this. Rebuilding Iraq will be much easier than building Afghanistan. Iraq has enormous resources that have been channeled away by Saddam Hussein to develop chemical and biological weapons and to develop nuclear weapons. Those billions of dollars can be put to use to build a better Iraq, and the people will applaud us for helping them to that end.
No, this is much easier than the job in Afghanistan, yet we have the naysayers among us who would lead us in the other direction. Twelve years ago, we heard similar naysayers. It was this urge to be overly cautious that led to, I would say, the devastatingly wrong decision not to finish the job we started. Twelve years ago, and this is not going to be partisan, because I will have something to say about Republicans in a minute, the majority of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle voted to keep our people out in the desert without the ability to go on the offensive and, thus, it would have destroyed our ability to win that conflict. What would it have been like if they had been stuck out there and able to just absorb attacks?
That is what the majority of people on the other side of the aisle voted for, and their entire leadership voted for that. It was wrong. It was wrong and almost did a major disservice to our country.
Let me note what also did a major disservice to our country. When we moved forward, a Republican president decided not to finish the job. A Republican president, once we had achieved victory, stepped back from that victory; and now we are stuck with finishing the job today. Now we are stuck with an enemy that could get his hands on nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, and murder millions of our own people because that dictator now has a blood grudge against the United States of America.
It is long past the time that we should have finished the job. But it was not until 9/11 that the American public would support the military commitment necessary to rid the people of Iraq and to rid the United States of this monstrous threat to both our peoples.
This is not just a dictator. There are many dictators in the world. This is a dictator who holds a blood grudge against us, who has now the ability, or he is trying to achieve the ability, to obtain those weapons that would permit him to murder millions of Americans. This is not just any dictator. This is a dictator with billions of dollars of oil wealth that he is using to obtain these weapons of mass destruction.
Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed what I consider to be unconstructive nitpicking on our President. Let us face it. First, he was told to go to the U.N.; and that is where he went. Then he was told he should go to Congress. So here we are. Now what we are hearing from the other side is, we cannot support this resolution because it will permit us to have some sort of preemptive strike. What that means is we have to wait until we are attacked before we can act. That is what that means.
Do we really want to wait in this world to be attacked by the likes of Saddam Hussein once he gets his hands on weapons of mass destruction? Instead of having 3,000 people, as on 9/11, we would have millions, or at least hundreds of thousands, of Americans slaughtered.
This makes no sense whatsoever. We must step forward today. If we back down today, we are sending a message of cowardice to the despots, to the tyrants and the terrorists around the world.
We must back up our President, who has gone the extra mile to reach the compromises with us, to make the democratic system work, and to make sure that the American people have the protection that they deserve.
We want to join with the people of Iraq, helping them liberate themselves from this problem. We should be supporting the President of the United States in this effort to protect us and to expand democracy.
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Congressman Ed Royce
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, much has been said today, and I am sure over the next few days much more will be said, as it should. The issue of authorizing the use of our Armed Forces is a momentous one, and it demands the thorough consideration of this Congress, and I believe we will be giving this some 30 hours of debate.
September 11 was a cruel wake-up call. After the Cold War, I am afraid our country indulged in the notion that we could shut out the world.
The Soviet military power that existed, coupled with the expansionist ideology of Marxism, had vanished as a threat to the United States. There was exuberance that America could cruise on the international front. During that time, we lowered our defenses and downplayed many troubling developments, including the rise of al-Qaeda and the rise of Saddam Hussein's capabilities, with his development of weapons of mass destruction, to harm our Nation.
September 11 harshly brought home the fact that the world is a dangerous place, it has always been, and that threats must be dealt with before they hit home, as they did hit home last year with such terrible impact.
Last night, President Bush made a powerful case against Saddam Hussein's regime. It has hostile intentions; it possesses weapons of mass destruction; it has means to harm us massively, means that are increasing daily; and that it is only a matter of time before Saddam strikes again against America's interests.
The President spoke even of Iraq possessing, and I am going to quote from his speech, ``a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas.''
Well, that is why I urge my colleagues to support this resolution. We have had a long debate today, and I would like to address a point that was raised earlier.
Iraq was described as an impoverished Third World nation. The suggestion was that there is no threat there. Many Americans may think of Iraq in this way. If so, they must realize that while many Iraqis are suffering under Saddam, his regime is not impoverished. As a matter of fact, our General Accounting Office, our GAO, did a study in which they found that some $6.6 billion between 1996 and 2001 was siphoned off for use by the regime.
British intelligence, that did their own analysis all the way up until several weeks ago, tells us that between 9 billion and $10 billion has been siphoned off in surcharges, kickbacks, illegal exports. Let me tell the Members, Mr. Speaker, that $9 billion to $10 billion pays for the development of a lot of weapons of mass destruction. One could buy a lot with that amount of money.
It is not improbable that Saddam Hussein is developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. I tell the Members that U.N. inspectors found plans for a bomb that would require 34 pounds of enriched uranium. I had an opportunity in the Committee on International Relations to ask our former CIA Director, James Woolsey, how long it would take if Saddam obtained the U-235, the enriched uranium, that he is attempting to obtain right now. He said if he had the uranium, it would take them about 4 months before a nuclear weapon was ready.
He may already have that uranium; and as we know from other reports, if he is not able to buy it on the world market, it is only a matter of time, 3 years at the most, before he develops that capability himself. So it is only a matter of time.
The Iraqi regime has long employed very capable scientists and technicians. Those of us who have traveled to Moscow talked to the Russians who ran their program, who have shared with us that some of their very capable scientists are in the Middle East today, some of them working in Iraq.
Iraq has access to a developed infrastructure. The regime has ample resources from its oil wealth, giving it the ability to bid for the considerable scientific and technological expertise. They use front organizations and front companies in order to obtain this technology into Iraq. They have key materials that have been floating around since the break-up of the East bloc.
So this is not a ragtag dictatorship we are dealing with; it is an able tyranny dedicated and capable of doing us real harm. That is why action has to be taken to disarm Saddam Hussein.
I would like to address some of the other concerns that have been expressed on the floor of this House today. Some opponents of this resolution have asked, why now? I would like to point out to my colleagues that it was in 1998, 4 years ago, that Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction program threatened vital U.S. interests. Congress then urged the President to take appropriate action to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations, including relinquishing its weapons of mass destruction.
The Iraqi Liberation Act that Congress passed that year endorsed a change of the Iraqi regime, and that was 4 years ago. Our Nation did not do anything to effectively address this, but Congress recognized it as being a real threat.
By authorizing action to forcefully address this challenge now, we are hardly being rash. If anything, this action is overdue. The fact is that Iraq for years has pursued weapons of mass destruction with great determination. It had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. It is estimated that were it not for the war, Iraq would have had nuclear weapons no later than 1993.
Neither Saddam's Gulf War defeat nor a slew of U.N. resolutions were a deterrent. In 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons facilities in
Iraq, including three uranium enrichment sites, as President Bush noted last night. This regime has been operating free of inspectors for the last 4 years. Is there any reason to believe that Iraq is not near acquiring a nuclear weapon?
Some have charged that all questions have not been answered. What will a post-Saddam Iraq look like? Yes, it is our responsibility to best anticipate what a post-Saddam Middle East will look like and best account for it, but we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the uncertainty that is part and parcel of international politics. To resist acting in the face of a mortal threat because we do not have a crystal ball would be folly.
Did we have all the answers when we intervened in Afghanistan? No. We heard that we would get bogged down in a bloody quagmire, as the Russians did a dozen years earlier. We did not. Yes, we have much work left to do in Afghanistan, but our military has performed in the stellar way many of us expected it would. The Taliban was routed, as was part of al-Qaeda.
Those who oppose this resolution based upon concerns about stability in Iraq and the region should ask why their vision of stability in Iraq and the region is based upon Saddam's continued role. Is that the best this region can do?
Some have raised concerns about the Iraqi people, suggesting they will suffer. If war comes, there certainly will be suffering, but I suggest that nothing is harming Iraqis more than Saddam's tyranny. We do have Iraqi children without food and medicine, but let us lay responsibility where responsibility belongs: on this palace-building dictator who squanders his nation's resources.
This is one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Amnesty International has reported that Iraq is the country with the greatest number of people missing or unaccounted for. One human rights group reports that Saddam has killed over 500 journalists and intellectuals, and tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary Iraqi citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture, burning, electric shocks, starvation, mutilation, and rape. This is how Saddam's regime makes Iraqis suffer. I can only imagine its disdain for Americans.
Saddam is in possession of weapons of mass destruction. He is working to advance his deadly arsenal. Can there be any doubt that we must act before our Nation is hit?
It is always easier to kick a problem down the road, to deal with it later. We do that too often around here. What is required to beat that syndrome is leadership, leadership willing to deal with an unpleasant situation head on. That is what our President and his national security team are showing.
Critics say that the administration is not exploring all options. It is exploring options. We may avoid war. What option the President has no interest in, though, and I think this is to his credit, is shirking his responsibility for the defense of our Nation. He certainly is not willing to allow the nations of the United Nations Security Council to dictate the terms by which our Nation is defended, which is what some are calling for.
After any military action, it will be incumbent upon our country to stay the course to see that the new Iraq no longer threatens us. That means ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, but also helping to see that Iraq has a chance of becoming a successful state. This will mean helping the Iraqi people, to whom, it should be emphasized, we hold no hostility.
Helping build stability is our current challenge in Afghanistan, and helping to give Afghanistan and Iraq a chance for stability and a decent government will require a substantial U.S. commitment. Given the threat to our security that Iraq and Afghanistan pose, we must make this investment.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
[following intervening speakers]
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, let me respond to the gentlewoman [Cong. Waters] and to the argument in terms of what has not been found regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Committee on International Relations had a hearing on this very recently.
During that hearing we heard testimony to the fact that Saddam Hussein was on the edge of a precipice with regards to the ability to unleash weapons of mass destruction. I am just going to briefly mention some of the work of Jeffrey Goldberg, who spent many months inside Iraq; and as he says, when Saddam Hussein maneuvered UNSCOM, the weapons inspectors, out of the country in 1998, the weapons inspectors had found a sizable portion of his arsenal, but were vexed by what they could not find. His scientists have produced and weaponized anthrax. They have manufactured botulinum toxin which causes muscular paralysis and death. They have made a bacterium which causes gas gangrene, a condition in which the flesh rots. They have also made wheat-cover smut which can be used to poison crops, and ricin, which, when absorbed into the lungs, causes hemorrhagic pneumonia.
And according to Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, whose Iraq Watch project monitors Saddam's weapons capabilities, inspectors could not account for a great deal of weaponry that is in Iraq's possession, including 4 tons of nerve agent VX, 600 tons of ingredients for VX, as much as 3,000 tons of other poison gas agents, at least 550 artillery shells filled with mustard gas; nor did they find the stores of aflatoxin which have been manufactured there that have been put on warheads.
I guess I would just echo the words of Jeffrey Goldberg when he says Saddam Hussein's motives are unclear because for the past decade the development of these weapons has caused nothing but trouble for him. His international isolation grows not from his past crimes, but from his refusal to let weapons inspectors dismantle his nonconventional weapons programs.
When Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya was asked why Saddam Hussein is so committed to these programs he said, ``I think this regime developed a very specific ideology associated with power and how to extend that power, and these weapons play a very important psychological and political part.''
So yes, we do have ample evidence.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROYCE. I yield to the gentlewoman from California.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for us to talk about what really has happened with the relationship that we have had with Saddam Hussein.
Does the gentleman understand that we are the ones that gave him anthrax?
Mr. ROYCE. No, I do not understand that. I respectfully disagree with the gentlewoman.
Ms. WATERS. I disagrees with the gentleman, also; and I appreciate the time that the gentleman is giving me to counter some of his points.
In addition, would the gentleman agree that our inspectors decided to leave Iraq after it was discovered that they were there doing some of the work of the CIA instead of doing the inspections that they were supposed to be doing?
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I understand that Saddam Hussein was very effective in maneuvering our inspectors out of Iraq and has not allowed in our inspectors or any other inspectors for 4 years; and I also understand that during that 4-year time frame he has been developing not only chemical and gas weaponry, biological weaponry, but also nuclear weaponry. That is what I know. And I would commend to the gentlewoman to review our transcript of our hearing on this very subject.
Reclaiming my time, I would just say there may be some debate among arms controls experts about exactly when Saddam will have nuclear capability, but there is no disagreement that Iraq, if unchecked, will have them soon and a nuclear-armed Iraq would alter forever the balance of power in the Middle East. I think there is very little doubt that Saddam, if he had an atomic bomb and with these stocks of biological and chemical weapons, might not use that for the purpose of power.
Because when Jeffrey Goldberg talked about Saddam's past with the medical geneticist Christine Gosden, who has been there on the ground in Kurdistan working with Kurds, some 4 million of which are estimated to have been affected at one point or another by chemical attack, she said one thing. She said, please understand the Kurds were for practice. They were practicing with different types of chemical and biological weapons on the Kurdish population.
I think, under these circumstances, if we do not move forward with a plan to disarm Saddam Hussein, it would be folly.
[following intervening speakers]
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude tonight by noting that we have spoken of chemical weapons of mass destruction, and I would like to bring to my colleagues' attention some of the observations of New Yorker writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who traveled to Northern Iraq, spent quite some time there interviewing hundreds of women now barren, hundreds of people now blind, as a result of chemical attack. As he interviewed the survivors of the attacks on the Kurds, he had some observations that I think we should pay attention to, because during his research he found that a biological agent called aflatoxin had been manufactured.
In 1995, the government of Saddam Hussein admitted to UN weapons inspectors that his scientists had weaponized this deadly biological agent. Aflatoxin is unique, because what it does is it causes liver cancer. It produces it particularly well in children. Weapons inspectors found that Saddam was able to load aflatoxin into two warheads capable of being fitted on to Skud missiles.
Americans need a good sense of who we are dealing with. This is a race against time.
In answer to the question, of all the dictatorships, why this one, we have this answer from the man who interviewed all of these survivors of those chemical attacks. He said, ``Because this is a figure of singular danger. To review,'' he said, ``there is no dictator in power anywhere in the world who has so far in his career invaded two neighboring countries, fired ballistic missiles at the civilians of two other neighboring countries, tried to have assassinated an ex-president of the United States, harbored al Qaeda fugitives, attacked civilians with chemical weapons, attacked the soldiers of an enemy country with chemical weapons, conducted biological weapons experiments on human subjects, committed genocide, and then there is, of course, the matter of the weaponized aflatoxin, a tool of mass murder, a tool of nothing else except mass murder.''
He said, ``I do not know how any thinking person could believe that Saddam Hussein is a run-of-the-mill dictator. No one comes close to matching his extraordinary and variegated record of malevolence.''
So, Saddam Hussein, in his words, is ``uniquely evil, the only ruler in power today and the first one since Hitler to commit chemical genocide.''
``Is that enough of a reason to remove him from power?'' He asked himself that question, and he says, ``I would say yes, if never again is in fact actually to mean never again, because Saddam is a man without any moral limits. That is why it is so important to keep nuclear weapons from his hands.''
Well, the current threat posed by Iraq is not like the Gulf War, and I appreciate that the case for action may not appear as clear-cut to some. A hostile army has not crossed a border, as Saddam's did then; an invaded state has not asked us for help, as Kuwait did.
But the battlefield in the new war on terrorism is not the desert of Iraq and Kuwait. Unfortunately, we must now be concerned with the conniving of a relatively few number of terrorists and the regimes that harbor them.
Today's world, with modern technology, sadly, has been transformed. I have no doubts that the regime of Saddam Hussein, its generals, its intelligence service, scientists and technicians, poses a mortal threat to our country, and we must act.
Finally, I would like to commend the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. We hope that they do not have to go into battle against Iraq. We hope to defend Hussein's regime without firing a shot. We hope to disarm him of his chemical, biological and nuclear program.
But if that is not the case, if our troops are dispatched against Iraq, we know that the American people will stand behind the brave Americans wearing the uniform. They have served us well in Afghanistan and in so many other regions of the world, defending our great country and its enduring values. We owe our service men and women and all who have served before a great deal of gratitude.
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