EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR PEACE IN IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - June 28, 2005)
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. McHenry). Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, it is interesting, my colleague was just talking about the President's speech tonight and I happen to disagree with her. I thought it was a strong, resolute speech that we heard from the President. America needs to hear from him and America needs to know that this President will not cut and run. The world needs to know that the Americans are not going to cut and run.
I think that for the past few months Americans, and probably a lot of folks around the world, have heard far too much from the cut-and-run caucus on this Hill. It is time that we make certain that they know we are committed to freedom. We have a President that is not going to give in to the terrorists, and that is exactly as it should be.
Some say that by being aggressive, that by taking this War on Terrorism to the Middle East, that we are helping the terrorists and helping the insurgent recruitment efforts. These nay-sayers count every single person who goes out and joins and becomes a part of the insurgency but, somehow, they forget something, and they forget this: that as we are over there fighting and working to bring democracy and freedom to Afghanistan and to Iraq, that there are hundreds of thousands and millions of people that are joining us in working toward freedom, working to build a democratic ally for our children there in the Middle East, and that they are going to see a different life than the hundreds of thousands that have found themselves in mass graves in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, it is also interesting that many times, those on the left come in and they want to talk about a time line, give us a time line. Tell us exactly when we are going to get out of there. I always find that interesting, because many times I think that the liberals want a time line because they want to control it. They want to know exactly what is going to happen when, so they can micromanage it. Our military leaders need the ability to make those decisions that need to be made right there on the front lines. They do not need Congress micromanaging this war.
Also, we do not need to tell the terrorists, this is what we are going to do and this is when we are going to do it. We need to trust that leadership of our military and we need to believe in those men and women in uniform that are fighting.
My colleague also mentioned a trip that was made to Guantanamo Bay this weekend. I was also on that trip, and I will tell my colleagues, it is one of those things that kind of gets under my skin when I hear them say progress is being made at Guantanamo Bay. That insinuates that our men and women in uniform have done something wrong, and they have not, Mr. Speaker. I think it is important that the Members of this body, and also that the American people, know what Guantanamo Bay is about.
Guantanamo Bay is a detention center, and in that detention center are held 520 enemy combatants. Now, an enemy combatant is not somebody that got picked up for shoplifting or for running a traffic signal. An enemy combatant is a person that has ties to known terrorist groups: the Taliban, al Qaeda. They are people that have participated in trying to tear us down. They are people that have participated in the September 11 attacks, the Khobar Towers, the first World Trade Center bombing. That is what we have at Guantanamo Bay.
We hear that we should send them back to their country. There is a reason we do not, and that is because an enemy combatant is not a uniformed soldier in an Army fighting for a country. An enemy combatant is a terrorist and, many times, we do not know what country they are from. The reason we do not send them back is because there is not a country that we are going to be sending them back to. It is an important distinction that we need to make.
Mr. Speaker, as we go through this week, as we talk about the President's remarks tonight, as we talk about the time at Guantanamo Bay, it is important to remember that it is our men and women that we need to thank for our freedom. It is their families we need to thank for their support.