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The Department Of State, Foreign Operations And Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 21, 2007)

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, my amendment will increase our funding of international counterterrorist programs, while also calling out the United Nations for its continued reluctance to recognize and fight international terrorism.

We are at war with an enemy whose tactics not only involve the destruction of non-com batants, women, little children, people just trying to work or buying something at the market; their tactics depend on such destruction.

Terrorists disregard the rules of warfare and strike at pure innocents. They wear no uniform and often do not even care about saving their own lives. Despite the fact that the wor ld is in the throes of the violence of terrorism, the U.N. has done so very little to fight this threat on humanity.

The U.N. marks progress against terrorism by how many committees they have formed and how many documents have been signed. We need a world body that does not consider an expanded bureaucracy as success. We need a world body that is a partner in the war on terror.

Instead, the U.N. spends its time passing toothless resolutions on counterterrorism that even countries such as Iran, L ibya, and Syria can support. These nations will continue to funnel money to terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Mahdi Army knowing that there will be absolutely no repercussions from the U.N.

My amendment proposes to shift $20 million, approximately 3 percent of the U.S. contribution to the U.N., to antiterrorism assistance programs. If the U.N. is unwilling to join the fight against terrorism, we should reallocate our dollars, reallocate a portion of the funds intended for them to programs which are truly working to bring real peace to the world.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Would the gentlelady from New York yield for a clarification?

Mrs. LOWEY. Of course.

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. This amendment is not as to where our funds are coming from.

Mrs. LOWEY. I apologize, we were responding to another amendment. Would the gentleman please clarify your amendment so we can direct our debate to the appropriate amendment. Is this the one you are going to offer and withdraw?

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Exactly.

Mrs. LOWEY. I would be delighted to respond to you then. I thank the gentleman for withdrawing the amendment.

Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I have not yet officially withdrawn my amendment. I would appreciate a comment from the gentlelady with regard to her support in general of our ideas on this amendment and the agreeability to work together to achieve what we are aiming for in this regard.

Mrs. LOWEY. Would the gentleman from New Jersey yield?

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I yield to the gentlelady.

Mrs. LOWEY. I really do apologize to the gentleman because the order of the amendments was changed.

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I understand.

Mrs. LOWEY. And international peacekeeping is very important to me, but as soon as I understand what your amendment is th at you are going to withdraw, I would be delighted to comment on the gentleman's amendment.

Could the gentleman redesignate the amendment? There seems to be a question. My comments were concerning the amendment to cut CIPA. May I have some clarification on what amendment we are discussing?

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the Clerk will report the amendment.

There was no objection.

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, hopefully that redesignation is a clarification.

What we are trying to do is not, as in a subsequent amendment where we will be taking funds from the peacekeeping mission, which is what the gentlelady was referring to here, instead is to take money from the U.N. international organization line and redesignate those $20 million to join us in the fight against terrorism.

As my openi ng comments to the Chair stated, the U.N. has done a woefully poor job when it comes to fighting terrorism around the world. We only have to look at the situation in the Sudan and Darfur, where they are not even able at this late date to define and tell us a genocide is going on. My goodness, the U.N. has not been able to grapple with the definition of what a genocide is, let alone take responsive action to try to bring it to an end.

Likewise in the area of terrorism, the U.N. has again willfully and wo efully failed to step up to the plate and be an instrument in fighting terrorism with so many of the world nations, the United States obviously taking a lead in that course.

If the U.N. is not going to be the international body to step up and take affirmative action in these areas, I think it is incumbent upon us here in this House to make sure that our dollars, our limited American taxpayer dollars, do not go to an organization, the U.N., an international body that is not getting the job done; but inst ead, to reallocate those dollars, to reallocate $20 million. That is only 3 percent of the U.S. contributions to the U.N. to antiterrorism assistance.

Homeland security, fighting terrorism, is one of the hallmark principles that I came to Congress to work on and to achieve end results on, and this amendment to this legislation will go to that end.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I respectfully understand there was a misunderstanding as to which amendment we were dealing with, and I appreciate the Chairman redesignating the amendment.

The previous speaker made reference to ending nuclear nonproli feration and the like. Again, this amendment does not go to that point. This amendment simply goes to the point of taking money from the international organizations funds and trying to fight terrorism.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time, and I do not withdraw the amendment.

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. F irst of all, I want to begin by saying that I am pleased that the committee has taken steps to see that the United Nations peacekeeping forces are not or will not be engaged in human trafficking or other sex crimes. But I am concerned that the language in the bill, quite frankly, does not go quite far enough.

The facts are that between 2004 and 2006, 179 peacekeepers from the U.N., under their charge, under their control, were dismissed or repatriated following investigations for sex crimes. Yet only a very few of these have been successfully prosecuted for their crimes.

Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed that members of the U.N. force in southern Sudan had abused children as young as 12. Just last year, the U.N. had tried to claim that these reports were just unfounded rumors, but only after these reports did the U.N. admit to repatriating four of these individuals for these crimes. Yet none of these four have ever been prosecuted in their home country of Bangladesh.

Just t his week, the Government of Sudan agreed to a substantial peacekeeping force in Darfur. We must ensure the people of Darfur, who have been subject to a systemic rape and violence constituting genocide, do not suffer further at the hands of the people who are there to protect them.

I am concerned that the language in the present bill that the U.N. ``hold accountable'' these individuals will mean that the U.N. peacekeepers will continue to get away scot-free. All national armed forces have processes for c ourt martial and punishing crimes committed by their personnel. The U.N. must see to it that these countries offering peacekeepers actually apply their system of justice when a crime is committed.

The U.N. is supposedly committed to high ideals of human rights and justice. We are merely asking that they keep them to ensure that their own personnel and others operating under the U.N. flag do not use their position to commit gross crimes. Let us be clear that the United States taxpayers funding these impo rtant missions will not stand for this injustice.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I thank the gentlelady for accepting the amendment, because I do believe, as I am sure she does as well, that this is the right thing to do for the people of the world and not only for the people here in the United States as well.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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