Weekly Update 8/17/2007
Just before Congress left for the August recess, I joined as an original cosponsor to a resolution that was introduced in the House of Representatives to boycott the 2008 Olympics in China if the Chinese government does not take steps to correct their severe human rights violations, both at home and abroad.
The Chinese Government holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial, including democracy activists, lawyers, human rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists, trade unionists, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners, and political dissidents.
In addition, the Chinese Government continues to support and therefore enable serious human rights abuses by the Governments of Sudan, Burma, and North Korea against their citizens.
The Olympics are very important to the Chinese. They wish to use the games to show their national pride. We can use this opportunity to apply serious pressure for the government to end its human rights abuses and its aid to other nations that do the same.
The Secretary's Observations
I heard from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week about the progress of our troops in Iraq. She is confident in the progress our troops have made militarily on the ground. She also expressed that she was impressed with some of the political progress made on the local level. In some areas, U.S. troops have been increasingly working with local officials and tribal leaders in rooting out terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, a significant political shift in favor of a more peaceful Iraq.
It will be important for Iraq's national leaders to seize on this new military momentum to find some political reconciliation. It will eventually be up to the Iraqi political leaders, and the Iraqi people themselves to choose peace. I told Prime Minister al-Maliki last year when I met with him that the American people have a limited patience and that Iraqi political leaders must take advantage of the window of opportunity they have to create a lasting and sustainable peace.
President Bush will say goodbye to his longtime political advisor at the end of August. Karl Rove will retire to private life at the end of the month after serving President Bush since his time as a politician in Texas. Different observers will have different perspectives on Rove and what he meant to the President and the country. I appreciated Mr. Rove's attention to the concerns of my constituents when I would contact the White House, and his understanding of the political environment of the nation. I look forward to working with Mr. Rove's replacement as I continue press the Administration to address the concerns of my constituents.
I was pleased to see the Bush administration announce new measures to enforce our current laws on illegal immigration. Our leaders in Washington are coming to see the will of the American public to secure our borders and enforce the laws governing our nation. If our own officials do not show respect for our rule of law, outsides will not do so either. We are headed in the right direction.
Quote of the Week
"Looking over periods of stress that I've seen, this is the strongest global economy we've had."
- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, on the current state of the economy.