Friday, February 2, 2007
Before the U.S. House of Representatives, January 18, 2007
Mr. Speaker, I have never met anyone who did not support our
troops. Sometimes, however, we hear accusations that someone or
some group does not support the men and women serving in our armed
forces. This is pure demagoguery, and it’s intellectually
dishonest. The accusers play on emotions to gain support for controversial
policies, implying that those who disagree are unpatriotic. But
keeping our troops out of harm’s way, especially when war
is unnecessary, is never unpatriotic. There’s no better
way to support the troops.
Since we now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction
and was not threatening anyone, we must come to terms with 3,000
American deaths and 23,000 American casualties. It’s disconcerting
that those who never believed the justifications given for our
invasion, and who now want the war ended, are still accused of
not supporting the troops! This is strange indeed!
Instead of questioning who has the best interests of our troops
at heart, we should be debating which policy is best for our country.
Defensive wars to preserve our liberties, fought only with proper
congressional declarations, are legitimate. Casualties under such
circumstances still are heartbreaking, but they are understandable.
Casualties that occur in undeclared, unnecessary wars, however,
are bewildering. Why must so many Americans be killed or hurt
in Iraq when our security and our liberty were not threatened?
Clichés about supporting the troops are designed to distract
us from failed policies, policies promoted by powerful special
interests that benefit from war. Anything to steer the discussion
away from the real reasons the war in Iraq will not end anytime
Many now agree that we must change our policy and extricate ourselves
from the mess in Iraq. They cite a mandate from the American people
for a new direction. This opinion is now more popular, and thus
now more widely held by politicians in Washington. But there’s
always a qualifier: We can’t simply stop funding the war,
because we must support the troops. I find this conclusion bizarre.
It means one either believes the “support the troops”
propaganda put out by the original promoters of the war, or that
one actually is for the war after all, despite the public protestations.
In reality, support for the status quo (and the president’s
troop surge) in Iraq means expanding the war to include Syria
and Iran. The naval build-up in the region, and the proxy war
we just fought to take over Somalia, demonstrate the administration’s
intentions to escalate our current war into something larger.
There’s just no legitimacy to the argument that voting
against funding the war somehow harms our troops. Perpetuating
and escalating the war only serve those whose egos are attached
to some claimed victory in Iraq, and those with a determination
to engineer regime change in Iran.
Don’t believe for a minute that additional congressional
funding is needed so our troops can defend themselves or extricate
themselves from the war zone. That’s nonsense. The DOD has
hundreds of billions of dollars in the pipeline available to move
troops anywhere on earth – including home.
We shouldn’t forget that the administration took $600 million
from the war in Afghanistan and used it in Iraq, before any direct
appropriations were made for the invasion of Iraq. Funds are always
available to put our troops into harms way; they are always available
for leaving a war zone.
Those in Congress who claim they want the war ended, yet feel
compelled to keep funding it, are badly misguided. They either
are wrong in their assessment that cutting funds would hurt the
troops, or they need to be more honest about supporting a policy
destined to dramatically increase the size and scope of this misadventure
in the Middle East. Rest assured one can be patriotic and truly
support the troops by denying funds to perpetuate and spread this
The sooner we come to this realization, the better it will be
for all of us.