Energy and Water Development Appopriations Act, 2004-Continued

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: Sept. 16, 2003
Location: Washington, DC

ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004—CONTINUED

Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent, despite the recess, to be able to speak 3 minutes in opposition to Senator Feinstein's amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The Senator from South Carolina is recognized.

Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to Senator Feinstein's amendment, certainly not in opposition to her. She is one of my closest friends in the Senate, and I admire her greatly. We just simply disagree on this particular amendment.

Of all the debates we are going to have in the coming months, I think this is one of the most important. The amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy from pursuing an advanced concept and research design to transform some current inventories of nuclear weapons, to be able to do something they cannot do today; that is, to penetrate hardened sites to counter the war on terrorism.

The war on terrorism is like every other war in many ways. The people we are fighting have the same hopes and aspirations as the people who fought in World War II. In Hitler's world, if you were not of a certain ethnic makeup, you could lose your life. And in Hitler's world, there was total obedience to the state. And the Japanese empire had a very intolerant view of the people who were different and disagreed.

The idea that one particular group wants to shape the world in a very harsh fashion has been with us as long as time itself.
And in the terrorist world, young girls don't go to school. In their world, there is one way to worship God. It is their way.
If you choose to do it some other way, you could lose your life.

So the basic concepts of the war on terrorism are very old. But the way we fight this war is going to take some adapting.
The group that wins the war on terrorism will be the group that was able to adapt the best.

Here is what I see coming down the road for the American military, for American policymakers. The terrorist organizations that perpetrated 9/11 and that we are pursuing all over the world today do not have navies and armies, and they do not have a nuclear force as we faced in the former Soviet Union. But they have a desire, unequaled by anybody, to build a nuclear weapon, to acquire chemical and biological weapons. Their desire is great. Their commitment to use it is unquestioned.

Let it be said, without any doubt, if they could get a nuclear weapon, they would use it. If they could get chemical or biological weapons that would hurt millions of Americans or people who believe in freedom, they would use it.

The only way they are not going to use it is to make sure they don't get it. And the best way to make sure they don't get it is to bring them to justice, and to end their ability to finance terrorist activities, to organize, and to project force.

I can foresee in the near future, not the distant future, that terrorist cells will reorganize. They will use some remote part of the world to form their plans, to plot and scheme, and maybe to actually manufacture—some remote part of the world that is very well guarded and not subject to conventional attacks, in a part of the world where it would be hard to get conventional forces to neutralize the terrorist threat. I see that as a very real possibility in the coming decades, in the coming years, maybe even the coming months.

The legislation we have before us would take off the table our ability to adapt our nuclear deterrent force to meet that threat. Look how much money we spent during the cold war to neutralize the Soviet threat—the Star Wars programs and other ideas that made it very difficult for our enemy at the time to keep pace. It is one of the reasons the world is safer today, because we were able to adapt.

We took our nuclear programs, not to use the weapons, but to prevent those weapons from being used against us. We adapted our nuclear force in a way that eventually won the cold war.

I think that same scenario exists today. We should have on the table the ability of the great minds in this country to adapt, if necessary. And there is nothing in this proposal by the administration to build a weapon. It is to look at our current inventory and see if it can be adapted to a real threat.

I admire Senator Feinstein, but I think her amendment would do a great injustice to the future policymakers and the military men and women of the future when it comes to fighting the war on terrorism because this war has just started. It is not anywhere near over. The major players are still alive, but they are trying to get people to follow in their footsteps. So we are going to be in this war for a long time.

The question before the Senate and before the country is, If we knew that bin Laden, or someone like him, was in some mountain fortress in Afghanistan or some other country, on the verge, within that fortress, of developing a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon, what would we do to stop it?

I think we should do everything we can to stop it. And the idea of being able to use a redesigned nuclear weapon to keep a terrorist from hitting us with a nuclear weapon is something that we have to come to grips with because it is part of the war on terrorism.

So I hope the Senate will reject Senator Feinstein's efforts to stop this inquiry because this is an inquiry that needs to be made sooner rather than later. I think the Bush administration is on the right course and the right path in taking the great minds of our time and letting them adapt our nuclear force to the coming threats because the coming threats are not from the Soviet bloc countries; they are going to be our allies. The coming threats are from people who hide in faraway places, deep in the bowels of the earth, with great hatred in their hearts.

We need to meet that threat. So I ask each Member of the Senate to dig within their heart and to make sure their vote does not take an option off the table that may well save this country from something we never experienced: a major nuclear, chemical, or biological attack.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.