REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE -- (House of Representatives - May 23, 2007)
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Mr. CARTER. That is correct. And I thank the gentleman for yielding. As it turns out, we have got a whole room full of folks here that want to address this issue. But we talked earlier between you and our neighbor from New Mexico, and we have each been three times.
But let me point out that as Congressman Pearce pointed out, the men and women that are in Iraq today, most of them are on their fourth rotation over there. Many of those people have been there four times, four times for a year, sometimes, or better, each time they've been. When we go, we are very blessed to be able to go over there, but generally time is very short and if we spend 3 or 4 days in country, we have been there a long time. These soldiers have gone over there voluntarily.
You know, one of the things that I think is a misconception that seems to be played out both in our coverage in the media and in the comments that we hear from our colleagues across the aisle is that they think that we are dealing with people who are being forced to go over there. These people volunteered. These men and women are true American heroes, and they know what their mission is, and they will tell you they know they are accomplishing that mission. They wonder why what they are accomplishing is not what they are viewing on American television. They wonder that a lot, and they say that to you a lot when you go over there to visit them.
And so it has been said here tonight already, but I think it is very important that the American people think about this. The Democratic Party in this House and in the Senate is in the majority. They have a responsibility now to govern this Nation. They ran on a campaign that promised what they were going to do when they got here to govern this Nation. And as we heard in the early hour, we do have three distinctive parts of the government. The President is one, but this is a coequal branch of government with the authority to take charge and be responsible for what you promise. And if it means to the American people what they think it means to the American people, that we have to get out immediately of Iraq, they have the authority and the ability to vote to bring our troops home.
But you see, it is easy to talk about wanting the responsibility, but taking the responsibility becomes very difficult. In fact, the real story of this debate that we are having on what should happen is they don't want to take the responsibility because they really, I would hope, in their heart of hearts, realize that the consequences are dramatic.
My friend Congressman Pearce mentioned to you, and I think it is everybody's opinion that looks at that map of Iraq, that should the American troops strike their colors and march home tomorrow, that the southern part of Iraq falls almost immediately into the hands of the Iranians, because they fought a whole war over that issue; and only because the Iraqis stood up their Armed Forces and fought to a standstill that the Iranians didn't take those southern oil fields. But the Iraqi Army, which we are in the process of building up, would not be able to do that in today's life. They are too busy straightening out their own country.
We hear so much about the American soldier. And God bless the American soldier. The American troops are doing an outstanding job, but so are the Iraqi troops. And that is the news item that is not out there these days. The Iraqi troops are dying actually at much greater numbers than the American troops, side by side with the American soldier, learning as they go how to fight the kind of war that professional soldiers fight. And they are doing a good job. And we have to give them the opportunity to finish the job and stand up their military and stand up their police force.
And that is what our soldiers tell us when they go over there, and they tell
us that from the corporal or the private all the way up to the four-star general.
And the surge has a purpose. It is more than just feeding in troops. It is clearing a neighborhood, and then having the Iraqi troops, along with Americans, to hold those neighborhoods until we are able to get this thing done.
And you know, al-Anbar Province, when I was over there the second time, that was the Wild West. That was the worst province in Iraq, al-Anbar Province. Now the Marines report to us on a daily basis that because the sheiks who are the tribal leaders of that area, and particularly one sheik who's got the vast majority of the tribes in that area, have joined the fight, told their people, when you shoot at an American, you shoot at one of us; join us in getting rid of this al-Qaeda that's trying to come in here and turn all sides against each other to create turmoil in our country. And we are having outstanding success in that area, because the indigenous population is joining in the fight.
When an Iraqi hears a pounding on his door and calls the local policeman, this war is won. But they have lived for a long time under a dictatorship where the local policeman was the bad guy. We have changed that.
Ask a soldier, what was your mission, and he will tell you, sir, we've accomplished a whole lot of our mission. Our first mission was to go in and take out Saddam Hussein, and, sir, we did that. And I'm proud to say that the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, which is in my district, pulled that tyrant out of that hole and started him in a lawful judicial process established by a government that the 1st Cavalry Division, which is also from my district, helped to defend as they voted, and in a properly impaneled judicial process we took care of Saddam Hussein. That's part of our mission. Mission accomplished.
The second mission was to help rebuild the Iraqi people. And if you look at that map at the number of projects that we're working on currently, and then you have a young soldier say, you know, sir, they reported last week that they killed an American soldier, what they didn't report is that we got water for the first time almost in the history of this country to a village of 400 people that never had water, because that's not a big fancy news item for The New York Times and the Washington Post. But that is a very, very important news item for the 300 people who had to pack their water in small jugs to have drinking water, that we got water, drinkable water, usable water to those people in the desert community. This is the kind of thing that changes the future of Iraq. If we pull out of Iraq, we create disaster.
Now, as I pointed out, the Democrats have an opportunity to do what they promised everybody to do and stop this war, but they don't have the will, and they don't have the courage to be responsible for their actions. So instead, they have prevented necessary supplies to keep our men and women in combat safe now, for 100 and what days?
Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Soon to be 108 days.
Mr. CARTER. For 108 days.
I got a phone call last night from Fort Hood, actually from a newspaper in Fort Hood, asking about the fact they a bad rain out on Nolan Creek, and some people got stranded out there. And, of course, when you are next to the largest military facility on Earth, the helicopters went out and started pulling people off of the roofs.
And this reporter called and was worried that she had heard that maybe the resources were not as available as they had been before or wouldn't be as available because there were cuts going on on the post. We had already checked that out with Fort Hood, and that actually was not true of this event.
But I told her, you know, you are from a military community, so we who have a military community know what happens when the Congress doesn't do its duty to the military when they have troops in harm's way, like in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
The Army doesn't leave, or the military doesn't leave their soldiers without the gear. What they do is tighten their belt back home. And that's happening now, and it's going to get worse and worse as this delay continues over and over.
It means training missions could be in jeopardy. It clearly means that operations on these large military posts around our country have to be reduced. Expenses have to be cut so that we keep the people in harm's way supplied, because we don't leave our dead or wounded on the battlefield, and we certainly don't leave our fighting soldiers on the battlefield without the equipment it takes to do the fight.
And so the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard will all be contributing from home to the war zone until this Congress does its duty. And I think it brings shame to know that those folks back home just came back from their fourth rotation, and their resources they are counting on for their year back home are being cut back. They're doing it willingly, but they are being cut back so they can supply their fellow men and women in arms over in Iraq, in Afghanistan.
This is a crisis that people don't realize the strain we're putting on our soldiers. And then to constantly tell them, like the leader, the Democrat leader in the Senate, this war is lost; and those soldiers are looking around and saying, what war is he talking about? Where's he see the loss? We haven't lost. We're winning this war. That's what the people who are there are saying. Give those folks a chance.
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Mr. CARTER. Hearing my colleague from New Mexico reminds me of another vote that was taken on the floor of this House that had to do with our intelligence for our United States military. And in the bill, the Democrat Party had diverted millions of dollars to take our Intelligence Community and have them study global warming. I have this vision of one of our spy satellites being relocated over the North Pole to check on the polar bears that was sitting over Baghdad checking on the terrorists.
I think the American people want our American soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen to have on the ground intelligence, which they cut, and in-the-air intelligence, which they want to move to study global warming, so that we can make sure that our soldiers, our American citizens in harm's way, have the security of good intelligence. But there's a vote that we took. We tried to fix that, and that fix was voted down. And so now we have an intelligence bill that has a big chunk of it set aside for global warming.
Meanwhile, it was discovered when we had the debate that there are 13 agencies in this government studying global warming right now. And why does our Intelligence Community have to study global warming at this point in time when American soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen are at war? That's a question that the American people ought to ask themselves.
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