Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by reviewing some history. There have been a number of times in American history when wars didn’t go as we hoped or planned. That winter at Valley Forge was difficult.
During the War of 1812, the British occupied this very building.
The Civil War was far more costly and far longer than we hoped it would be.
In World War II, the North African campaign was something of a mess. And the bloody island campaigns of the South Pacific were not something we had foreseen.
In Korea and Vietnam, we brought limited force to bear . . . and we wound up settling for stalemate and, ultimately, defeat.
So some of our wars went well, but more often, they look a lot simpler and cleaner in the history books than they were in reality.
And if there is a constant warning that runs through our history, it is this: Congress has a vital role to play in helping America win its wars, but it can also play an unintended role in losing them – if it says or does the wrong thing at the wrong time. And that is what this resolution says and does – the wrong thing. This is a non-binding resolution, which is nothing more than a political game. But the war on terror is not a game.
Consider what our enemies will read into this resolution. What if Congress, during that Valley Forge winter, had passed a resolution saying that it was time to send the troops home, retire General Washington and go ahead and pay that stamp tax anyway.
What if Congress, in the spring of 1863, had looked at the results of Bull Run, and said, “Oh, we can’t win this . . . it’s a ‘civil war!’ . . . forget that idealism about freeing the slaves.”
What if Congress, in 1942 or 1943, had told Franklin Roosevelt to pull out of North Africa and Italy and give up those silly ideas about liberating France?
What would our enemies have thought about that lack of will? They would have assumed that we had lost our will to win. They would have said, “America can’t cut it . Make no mistake -- Iraq is just one battle in our overall War on Terror.
If this resolution passes, it is sending a clear message of weakness to those who have taken deadly aim on America and the values we cherish. Our enemies are watching today. Listen to the words of Osama Bin Laden: “The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries; the Islamic Nation on one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.” We cannot be the nation of humiliation. The terrorists know what is at stake in Iraq. It is time to show them that we know as well, and that failure is not an option.
We have to ask ourselves, what’s at risk for the future of our nation? Will our nation be safer from radical Islamic terrorists if we pull out before the new Iraqi democracy can become a stable ally in the war on terror? And ask yourself, what Islamic terrorist leader has said that if America leaves Iraq, he will be satisfied and the terrorist attacks will end. We must take extraordinary precautions to protect our nation from those who would do us harm.
And some day our children and grandchildren will look back on our decision this week and reflect on their lives. The question we have to ask today is, will our children live in a safer America?
I urge the rejection of this resolution and I yield the remainder of my time.
153 Congr. Rec. H1707. (2007). https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/volume-153/issue-29/house-section/article/H1674-5.