THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WAR IN IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - November 03, 2005)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentlewoman from Virginia (Mrs. Drake) for doing such a wonderful job in hosting this. I thank our chairman, the gentleman from California (Mr. Hunter), for the excellent job that he does in providing leadership for the House Committee on Armed Services. I think we also thank the family of Corporal Starr for their sacrifice, and we hope that they know we join them in their sorrow.
Mrs. DRAKE. And for their willingness to share that that quote was wrong and to share the real quote, something that personal.
Mrs. BLACKBURN. That is so very true, and I thank the gentlewoman for noting that, for setting the record straight.
As the gentlewoman was talking about some of her experiences, meeting a taxi driver who was from Iraq and how he stopped to say thank you, I was reading some things from my news clips.
Here is an article out of the Nashville Tennessean, today's paper, November 3, and an opinion column written by Jonathan Gurwitz who is a columnist for the San Antonio Express News. He is recounting a conversation and a visit with a Dr. Najmaldin Karim who is Kurdish and the headline is ``Why this war? Ask someone who is Kurdish.''
I was so touched by your examples that, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to share a quote in this. I think it is so relevant to the discussion that we are having tonight. And I am quoting this Dr. Karim: ``The suggestion that Saddam Hussein's dictatorship was a `stable' form of government is outrageous to Iraqis, not on the ideological fringe, especially the Kurds. The war in Iraq didn't begin in 2003. For the previous 35 years Kurds, Shiites and anyone else who threatened the oligarchy fought against the suppression of their very existence.''
Mr. Speaker, you know, this morning I spoke on the floor about what we are doing right to win the war on terror and the progress that we are making in the battle in Iraq. And it seemed that the minute I started talking there was some conversation across the aisle. And one of my colleagues from the left got upset, and then sure enough a Democrat Member follows me to the well during 1-minutes to speak against the positive changes that are going on in Iraq.
You see, I think that the left in this country has to undermine this war and undermine the resolve of the American people in order to try to win elections next November. They have got to make you and me and every single one of us forget the bigger picture in this war on terror. They want us focused on the casualties and on the setbacks. And, yes, we take one step forward, we take two steps back. It is going to be a long war, but we are making progress.
They do not want us to ask what sort of damage will result from withdrawing from Iraq. They do not want us to ask whether we would be better off with a free Iraq. They simply want to point out all the negatives and demand withdrawal in order to declare America's defeat, and then they believe they will win elections.
Unfortunately, the national media, one would believe for all intents and purposes, is the public relations wing of the left on this subject. Day after day the major newspapers editorialize in both their articles and on the op-ed pages against our efforts in Iraq. They give extensive coverage to casualties and claim they do it to honor those lost. But they do not cover the things these men and women did to change this world.
They do not cover the moments of pure courage, pure courage and strength that these men and women and their colleagues committed and performed to fix a great wrong in this world. They only cover their deaths, and that is a tragedy, Mr. Speaker, because it was not in their deaths that they became heroes. It was in the day-to-day work on behalf of this country that they became heroes. They gave their lives for something they believed in. They were heroes long before the tragedy of their death. We remember those lost not because they died but because they lived and how they lived in putting others before themselves.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot say that I do not stop and wonder if these losses would be for naught; but when I am doubting and if I am unsure, I talk with some of those who have served in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and I talk to their families and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can win this because they know that we can win it. And, Mr. Speaker, they are living it; they are seeing it firsthand every single day.
When I visit Fort Campbell in my district or spend time with our National Guard and Reserves, I see the spirit of America and I see the commitment and the drive to succeed. They settle any doubts. They restore my confidence. They should be our inspiration in this battle. So tonight, despite watching Democrats come to the floor and beat the drums of retreat in the war on terror, I want to recognize those men and women in uniform who we see in the progress, in the change in that region of the world.
Let me just read a list of some of the accomplishments so that America, those watching and those listening and our constituents, will understand the great deeds of these men and women, our heroes who are in uniform.
As of October 24, 2005, a total of 206,500 Iraqi security forces have been trained and equipped with the assistance of the U.S. military. On election day in October, as our colleague from Texas previously mentioned, 78 percent of voters backed the charter Constitution, 78 percent of those that went to the polls voted for freedom, voted for democracy. And as our colleague from Texas mentioned, 63 percent of Iraqis, 15 1/2 million voters, cast their ballot. They took their life in their hands to cast that ballots. The Iraqi Constitution guarantees the rights of all its citizens and enshrines the rule of law. A new parliament will be voted on in December and will form a 4-year term to government to take office by December 31, 2005.
Who would have thought that that was possible? Iraqis appear to be spending more money, signs that consumer confidence is improving. As the gentlewoman from Virginia (Mrs. Drake) mentioned, things are turning green in Iraq. You see the fields that they have planted. My first visit there, I said Iraqi is a khaki-colored country. It was covered with dust.
Over 15,650 houses have recently been connected to the Baghdad water distribution system by USAID. In all, nearly 100 kilometers of mainline pipe have been installed in the Baghdad area.
Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on. We know America is once again engaged in a great struggle that will in no uncertain terms decide what kind of world our children are going to inherit. I want our men and women in Iraq to know we believe in them. We believe in what they are doing, and we know that this is going to improve the national security for generations to come. It is going to help preserve freedom.
Our military's cause in Iraq is a noble one, despite what some in this body would have you believe.
In closing, I would like to give you a quote, a part from Ronald Reagan's speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. He said this to the World War II veterans who were gathered with him at Normandy:
``You all knew that some things are worth dying for.
One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it is the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of our country were behind you.''
Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleagues across the aisle will join us in letting every man and woman in uniform and every family know this country is behind them. I thank the gentlewoman from Virginia (Mrs. Drake).
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT