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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3159, Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3159, ENSURING MILITARY READINESS THROUGH STABILITY AND PREDICTABILITY DEPLOYMENT POLICY ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - August 02, 2007)

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

While I support the military goals of this legislation, all of us do, I rise in opposition to this rule and this bill. We all want to see the dwell times for our troops expanded to meet Department of Defense standards, but this legislation would place handcuffs on our military commanders as they work to stabilize Iraq.

My colleagues, in many senses this is a political document, pure and simple. The dwell time requirements appear to be not so much efforts to improve the readiness of units and quality of life of servicemembers in our Armed Forces; rather, these requirements are designed to force a withdrawal and reduction of U.S. forces committed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The proof: This bill slaps deployment prohibitions only on forces destined for Iraq, but would allow those very same forces, regardless of dwell time, to be committed to combat in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world where they might be needed.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard Members of the majority speak with varying levels of clarity about their plans to ``end the war'' or ``bring the troops home.'' Of course, we all desire to bring the troops home. One even proclaimed the ``war is lost.''

But that is not the message we are hearing from Iraq today. Both General Petraeus and General Odierno have stated that initial assessments of the new strategy are encouraging as the Iraqi Army is taking a much more prominent role in the fighting.

In recent days, many of us have read the op-ed in the New York Times written by two self-described critics of the war effort. From John Burns, Baghdad bureau chief, New York Times: ``I think there's no doubt that those extra 30,000 American troops are making a difference. They are definitely making a difference in Baghdad.''

And from USA Today, ``Coalition forces have uncovered more insurgent weapons caches in the first 6 months of this year than the entire previous year.''

Mr. Speaker, we have seen an increase in security, a decrease in killing, fewer car bombs, lower levels of civilian casualties; all good things. And what is this House's response to this demonstrable progress? They would offer legislation that would hamstring and handcuff our military commanders, short-circuit the training of Iraqi soldiers, and endanger further security progress.

Mr. Speaker, I have always said that I want our war fighters' deployments to be short and as safe as possible. I do want our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and anywhere in the world where they are in harm's way, soon. But this is not the way to do it.

I rise in opposition to this, the rule, and to this type of thinking that endangers not only our soldiers but endangers the civilians that we are there to help.

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