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Public Statements

Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 1591, U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, And Iraq Accountability Act, 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, 1 month ago, we gathered in this Chamber to debate what was called a symbolic resolution on the war in Iraq. I never subscribed to the notion it was symbolic because I believe any official act of this body has consequences. When Members speak, the world listens, friends and enemies alike.

Two weeks ago after that vote, I traveled again to Iraq and Afghanistan to observe conditions in these two fronts on the global war on terror and to meet again with our soldiers. I was the only Republican on the trip, but I view opportunities like these to travel to war zones with colleagues from the other side of the aisle as invaluable.

We all saw that the plans to stabilize Baghdad by reinforcing U.S. troops and integrating them with larger Iraqi units around the city are already under way. Our military commanders in Iraq are already executing their plans to clear, hold, and build; and early reports point towards some progress.

And yet tomorrow, in fact, we vote on a bill, portions of which could potentially affect the safety of our brave young soldiers in Iraq, the lives of millions of Iraqis, and damage our national interest in the Middle East and elsewhere. That is why I oppose this bill in its current form.

Every Member of this House, Republican and Democrat alike, should be working together to achieve some level of success in Iraq and to give our soldiers the dollars they need. We should not be tying the hands of our battlefield commanders, nor undercutting our brave soldiers and marines as they work to secure the peace as we debate here this afternoon and tomorrow.

Make no mistake about it, withdrawal from Iraq before that peace is better secured will have wide and important ramifications. We could potentially have an explosion of sectarian violence in Iraq, killing and bloodshed on a larger, more barbaric scale. Al Qaeda and other jihadists could get a new and more dangerous base of operations. The influence of Iran would grow. The Saudis and moderate Arab states themselves could be threatened. Turkey, a strong NATO ally, could be drawn into the war. And Iraq's neighbors could see even more waves of refugees.

Mr. Speaker, we are a Nation at war, and the stakes are extremely high for America. Our troops need this money now. They deserved it yesterday. But the Congress has decided to make them compete with nonmilitary, nonemergency, politically motivated spending.

We must give our commanders on the battlefield, and our brave young war fighters, the resources they need to protect themselves and fight the enemy.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join together to honor the service of these young men and women and to find a way forward in Iraq that protects our Nation and results in a stable Iraq that can govern and protect itself.


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