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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008 -- (Senate - September 19, 2007)

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I wish to thank my friend from Michigan. We would like to get a time agreement on debate on the Webb amendment, but I do not know how many speakers we have on our side. We will be proposing an amendment that has been put together by my other colleague from Virginia, Senator Warner, as a sort of side-by-side effect.

I thank the Senator from Virginia, Mr. Warner, for working on an amendment that I think expresses very clearly we all want all our troops home. We understand the stress and the strain that has been inflicted on the men and women in the military--and the Guard and Reserves--and we admire the motivation and the commitment of Senator Webb from Virginia. We are, obviously, in opposition to his amendment and think his colleague from Virginia has an alternative idea that expresses the will of practically all of us to relieve this burden on the men and women in the military.

So I wish to thank my friend from Michigan, and I also wish to say again, hopefully, within a relatively short period of time we can get a time agreement on debate and vote as soon as possible on this issue. This same amendment has been debated before in the Senate and it is pretty well known to our colleagues, although it is very clear that many want to speak on it because of its importance.

So I thank my friend from Michigan and both Senators from Virginia, for whom I have the greatest respect, and we will look forward to a rather unusual situation here in the Senate--a vote on a resolution by one Senator from Virginia and a resolution from another Senator from Virginia on the same issue. I look forward to this debate. I know it will be both educational and, I hope, enlightening and informative not only to our colleagues but to the American people.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, before I begin my comments on the pending amendment, I think--I hope it is appropriate to mention our colleague from Nebraska, Senator Hagel, has announced his intentions not to seek reelection in this body.

I have the highest degree of affection and respect for my friend; we have adjoining offices in the Russell Senate Office Building. He has served this Nation in many capacities, including in combat during the Vietnam War. I think he has been an outstanding Member of this body and a dear friend. I will say a lot more about him in many venues, but I wish to express my appreciation for his outstanding service in the Senate, to the people of Nebraska, and to this country.

On July 11 of this year, I spoke against Senator Webb's amendment on dwell time, as it is now called. The amendment has not changed substantially since then. I thought the debate at the time was comprehensive and adequately addressed the merits of the proposal. But here we are again. Here we are again. Why?

In July, Senator Webb said:

This is an amendment that is focused squarely on supporting our troops who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; it speaks directly to their welfare and the needs of their families by establishing minimum periods between deployments.

More recently, he has called it a ``safety net for the troops.'' I have no doubt of Senator Webb's sincerity and his concern for our ground troops and their families. No one in this body has served his family more honorably than Senator Webb.

I share Senator Webb's concerns for the well-being of our troops and their families, as I know all Senators do. But let me be clear: Senator Webb's amendment is not a litmus test for whether you care about the troops. Would it not be great if our choices were that easy.

I argued back in July, and I repeat today, that the amendment would do more harm than good and should not pass. But the question remains: Why are we arguing again? Why are we arguing again about this proposal?

Unfortunately, the reason is obvious. It was spelled out in a New York Times article on September 15, by David Herszenhorn and David Cloud, who stated:

The proposal by Senator Webb has strong support from top Democrats who say that the practical effect would be to add time between deployments and force General Petraeus to withdraw troops on a substantially swifter timeline than the one he laid out before Congress this week.

Senator Biden was quoted in the article as calling the proposal the ``easiest way for his Republican colleagues to change the war strategy,'' to change the war strategy. The reporters referred to the amendment as a ``backdoor approach'' aimed at influencing the conduct of the war. That is what this amendment is about.

I say to my colleagues, I will say it again and again, the President's present strategy is succeeding. If you want the troops out, support the present mission, support the mission that is succeeding. Don't say you support the troops when you do not support their mission. Excuse me, I support you but not the mission you are embarking on today as you go out and put your life and limb on the line in a surge that is succeeding--that is succeeding.

We will have a lot of discussion on the floor of this body about the Maliki Government and the national police and the other challenges we have, but the military side of this is succeeding. This goes at the heart, this goes at the heart of the surge that is showing success in Anbar Province, in Baghdad, and other parts of Iraq.

Now, maybe someone does not agree with that. Maybe that is the point. But the effect of this amendment--the effect of this amendment--would be to emasculate this surge. That is why the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Gates, sent a letter to my colleague, Senator Graham, which I intend to quote from in a minute. So what is this debate about? This debate is about whether we will force, as Senator Biden was quoted, as the easiest way for his Republican colleagues to change the war strategy, this backdoor approach aimed at influencing the conduct of the war.

Not only that, it is blatantly unconstitutional. Are we going to have, in conflicts the American people engage in--if it is unpopular with the American people, the way the Korean war was unpopular--and somehow designate who should stay and who should not and how long?

That is a micromanagement of the military that is very difficult to comprehend. The President is the Commander in Chief because he is the Commander in Chief. Nowhere in the Goldwater-Nickles bill, nowhere in the Constitution do I see the role for Congress to play in determining the parameters under which the men and women who have enlisted and are serving in the military, in an enterprise which the majority of this body voted to support, being embarked on.

Secretary Gates echoed this assessment last weekend in various interviews, stating the Webb amendment is:

Really pretty much a backdoor effort to get the President to accelerate the drawdown so that it is an automatic kind of thing, rather than based on conditions in Iraq.

So I would say to my colleagues, let's not conceal or fail to mention the intended effect or purpose of this amendment. I wish to repeat, every one of us, every one of us cares about the men and women who are serving in the military, every single one of us on an equal basis. It is clear that in the wake of General Petraeus's report, the majority has brought this back in order to reduce the numbers of fully trained and combat-experienced troops available to our military commanders and thus to force an accelerated drawdown of troops and units in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why don't we be clear about that? Let's consider the impact of this amendment on the force. The effect of the amendment would be to exclude fully trained, combat-experienced officers, NCOs, soldiers, and marines from military units that need them to perform in combat. I think we should ask the question: Will an unintended consequence of this amendment be to cause harm to our troops? I argued in July, as did various other Senators, that the amendment would cause harm to the mission, the units, and members who would have to succeed in combat despite the obstacle this amendment would impose.

Now we have the view of Secretary Gates to consider in a letter regarding the Webb amendment, which without objection, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

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Mr. McCAIN. He said:

As drafted, the amendment would dramatically limit the nation's ability to respond to other national security needs while we remain engaged in Iraq or Afghanistan.

He said the amendment would cause the Army and Marine Corps to resort to force management options that would further damage the force and its effectiveness on the field and would result in the following actions for units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan:

Extension of units [in Iraq and Afghanistan] already deployed beyond their current scheduled rotation.

Creating ``gaps'' in combat capability as units would rotate home without a follow-on unit being available to replace them.

This, in turn, would squeeze ``the ability to continue the ..... practice of overlapping unit rotations to achieve smooth hand-offs and minimize casualties.'' And minimize casualties. That seems important, minimizing casualties.

Secretary Gates goes on. The Webb amendment would:

Increase the use of `in-lieu of' units that are either minimally or not normally trained for the assigned mission.

[Would] return to the cobbling together of new units from other disparate units or unassigned personnel.

A practice discouraged by the adoption of a unit rotation policy. As a result of the Webb amendment, it would result in the ``broader and more frequent mobilization of National Guard and Reserve units [which] would be inevitable.''

Secretary Gates, in his letter, said the Webb amendment would impose an unacceptable choice upon the President and our military to either, one, accelerate the rate of drawdown significantly beyond what General Petraeus has recommended, which he and all of our military commanders believe would not be prudent and would put at real risk the gains we have made on the ground in Iraq in the last few months; two, resorting to force management options that would further damage the force and its effectiveness in the field.

Not surprisingly, Secretary Gates has stated unequivocally that if this amendment were included in the authorization act, he would recommend the President veto it. I urge my colleagues to reject, again, the Webb amendment.

My friend from Nebraska, Senator Hagel, pointed out accurately--and he has played an incredible role--the terrific mistakes made in the conduct of this conflict under Secretary Rumsfeld and other leaders. This strategy, the Senator from Nebraska and I knew, was doomed to failure. As far back as 2003, we came back from Iraq and said: This strategy has to change or it is doomed to failure. As I have said, it was very much like watching a train wreck. Those mistakes and errors in the strategy have been well chronicled in a number of books that have been written, among them, and which I strongly recommend, ``Fiasco'' by Tom Ricks and ``Cobra II'' by General Trainor and Michael Gordon But we are where we are.

I would be glad, along with my friends from Nebraska and Virginia, to chronicle those many mistakes. Those mistakes were made with expressions of optimism which were, on their face, not comporting with the facts on the ground in Iraq: a few dead-enders, stuff happens, last throes, on and on. The fact is, the American people became frustrated, and they have become saddened and angry. Nothing is more moving than to know the families and loved ones of those who have sacrificed, nearly 4,000 in this conflict, not to mention the tens of thousands who have been gravely wounded. But we have a new strategy. We have success on the ground.

As I said earlier, all of us are frustrated by the fact that the Maliki government has not functioned with anywhere near the effectiveness we need. We also acknowledge that there are portions of the national police which are ``corrupt,'' which is a kind word, a kind description. But the facts were made very clear last week by the President of Iran, the President of a country that has dedicated itself to the extinction of Israel, a country that is developing nuclear weapons, a country that is exporting explosive devices of the most lethal kind into Iraq today that are killing young Americans. He said: When the United States of America leaves Iraq, we will fill the void. That is what this conflict is now about. It may not have been that when we started. The President of Iran has made Iranian intentions very clear. The Saudis will feel that the Sunnis have to be helped. Syria continues to try to destabilize the Government of Lebanon and continues to arm and equip Hezbollah. By the way, there is a standing United Nations Security Council resolution that calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah. Has anybody seen any effect of that lately? Jordan has 750,000 refugees in their small country.

The situation as regards Afghanistan, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is certainly murky at best, and perhaps we could see a nuclear-armed country, which Pakistan is, in the hands of people who may not be friendly to the United States or interested in controlling the Afghan-Pakistan border areas which are not under control now.

As Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post over the weekend, a precipitous withdrawal would have profound consequences. As GEN Jim Jones testified, on the results of his commission, his last words were, a precipitous withdrawal would cause harm to America's national security interests, not only in Iraq but in the area.

The reason I point this out is because the effect of the Webb amendment--and whether it is intended by the Senator from Virginia or not but it is interpreted by many, including others whom I have quoted--would be to force precipitous withdrawal before the situation on the ground warranted.

I hope we understand that America is facing a watershed situation. We have grave challenges in Iraq. I believe if we set a date for withdrawal or, through this backdoor method, force a date for withdrawal, we will see chaos and genocide in the region, and we will be back.

I fully acknowledge to my friends and colleagues that we have paid a very heavy price in American blood and treasure because of failures for nearly 4 years. I understand their frustration. I understand their anger. But I am also hearing from the men and women serving in Iraq as we speak. Always throughout this long ordeal, the most professional and best- equipped and best-trained and bravest military this Nation has ever been blessed with were doing their job. They were doing their job under the most arduous conditions of warfare that any American, Army and Marine Corps and military, has ever been engaged, ever.

But now in the last few months, we are hearing a different message from these brave people; that is, they believe they are succeeding. They believe they are succeeding. In Anbar Province, the marines are walking in downtown Ramadi, which used to be Fort Apache. Neighborhoods in Baghdad are safer. They are not safe, but they are safer. Al-Qaida is being rejected in many areas. I pointed out the difficulties in the other part of it, but I also believe, from my study of history, that when you have a condition of military security, it is very likely and much more possible that the commercial, social, and political process moves forward in a successful fashion. I keep saying over and over: We have not seen that with the Maliki government, and we have every right to see it. But I believe the conditions have been created, if they seize it, that we will also see political progress in that country.

I believe the people of Iraq, not wanting to be Kurds or Sunni or Shia but Iraqis, harbor the same hopes and dreams and aspirations to live in a free and open society where they can send their kids to school and live in conditions of peace and harmony. That can be achieved over a long period of time.

Let me finally say that success in Iraq is long and hard and difficult, but I also believe the options are far worse than to pursue what has been succeeding.

This amendment will probably define our role in Iraq as to how this whole conflict will come out. I question no one's patriotism. I question no one's devotion to this country. I am sure there are Members on the other side of this issue, supporting this amendment, who are more dedicated than I am, perhaps. But the fact is, this is a watershed amendment. We need to defeat it. We need to make sure these brave young men and women who are now serving and succeeding have more opportunity to succeed and come home with honor. We all want them home. We don't want to see the spectacle of another defeated military. Overstressed, overdeployed, weary, but not defeated--that is our military today. The Webb amendment could easily bring about their defeat.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Virginia for his comments. I would like to point out that the Senator from Virginia says his amendment has a waiver associated with it, so, therefore, it should be acceptable to us. I would like to quote from Secretary Gates's letter to Senator Graham. He says:

Although the amendment language does provide the President a waiver for ``operational emergencies''--

``Operational emergencies''--not just a waiver, but there has to be an operational emergency--

it is neither practical nor desirable for the President to have to rely on waivers to manage the global demands on U.S. military forces. Moreover, the amendment would serve to advance the dangerous perception by regional adversaries that the U.S. is tied down and overextended.

So I think we ought to understand what this waiver really means. Of course, Secretary Gates is a political appointee. That is the way the Government functions. But to somehow, therefore, question his judgment because he is a political appointee is inappropriate, I say to the Senator from Virginia.

GEN Brent Scowcroft, whom the Senator from Virginia referred to, said: The costs of staying are visible. The costs of getting out are almost never discussed. If we get out before Iraq is stable, the entire Middle East region might start to resemble Iraq today. Getting out is not a solution.

Now, that is the view of one of the most respected men in America. He also was a political appointee at one time as the President's National Security Adviser. He believed very strongly we should not have gone to Iraq, and I would be glad someday, along with Senator Webb and Senator Hagel, to talk about all the reasons why we should or should not have. But the fact we are where we are today, in his view, is very clear.

Now, on the issue of constitutionality, it clearly violates the principles of separation of powers. Congress has no business in wartime passing a law telling the Department of Defense which of its fully trained troops it can and cannot use in carrying out combat operations.

As we all know, this dwell time provision, as I said, has been tried before. The President, when it was included in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, said:

[T]he micro-management in this legislation is unacceptable because it would create a series of requirements that do not provide the flexibility needed to conduct the war.

This legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the Presidency by the Constitution, including as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The Senator from Virginia referred to article I, section 8 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power ``to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.'' Well, clearly that applies to pay, equipment, end strength, basing, and most of the training, equipping, and organizing functions that are vested in the services under the Goldwater-Nichols Act. But the article I power cannot be employed to accomplish unconstitutional ends, and that would include restricting the President's authority as Commander in Chief in wartime to direct the movement of U.S. forces.

Justice Robert Jackson, who served as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Attorney General, said:

The President's responsibility as Commander in Chief embraces the authority to command and direct the armed forces in their immediate movements and operations, designed to protect the security and effectuate the defense of the United States.

I submit that current policies regarding combat unit rotations, tour length, and dwell time that affect our brave men and women in uniform fall squarely under that authority.

In his letter, as I mentioned before, Secretary Gates addressed this constitutional question. He said:

The amendment would unreasonably burden the President's exercise of his Constitutional authorities, including his authority as Commander in Chief. In particular, the amendment would hinder the President's ability to conduct diplomatic, military, and intelligence activities and limit his ability to move military forces as necessary to secure the national security.

Let's consider other legislation--the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986--which fundamentally reorganized the Department of Defense and reflected some serious thought about how wars ought to be conducted. The act says:

Unless otherwise directed by the President, the chain of command to a unified or specified command runs--

from the President to the Secretary of Defense; and

from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command.

I see no mention of Congress in that chain of command.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act also has a section titled ``Responsibilities of the Combatant Commanders'' that says: The commander of a combatant command is responsible to the President and to the Secretary of Defense for the performance of missions assigned to that command by the President or by the Secretary with the approval of the President. Again, no mention of Congress in that chain of command.

I want to clarify to my friend from Virginia, I have--again, I repeat, and I
am sure I will repeat several times in the conduct of this discussion--I have no doubt that the intent of the Senator from Virginia is to relieve this terrible burden of service that is being laid upon a few Americans. He and I both know people who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan three and four times--an incredible level of service. The National Guard has never, ever that I know of in my study of history borne the burden they have today. These citizen soldiers have performed not only at the same level but sometimes at a higher level of our professional standing Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy. But the fact is, the amendment of the Senator from Virginia--I believe and am convinced from my study of the Constitution, my view of the role of the Commander in Chief, what is at stake in Iraq, as I pointed out--will have the effect of reversing what has been a successful strategy employed by General Petraeus, General Odierno, and the brave men and women. I have no doubt of the intention of the Senator from Virginia in this amendment, but I have great concerns and conviction that the effect of this amendment would have impacts that would lead to greater consequences and require, eventually, over time, because of chaos in the region, greater sacrifice of American blood and treasure.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes.

Mr. McCAIN. It is my understanding that Senator Graham, the senior Senator from South Carolina, is a member of the Air Force Reserve and the JAG Corps; is that correct?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, sir.

Mr. McCAIN. I understand you just spent a couple of weeks in Iraq serving in active duty and in your capacity as an Air Force colonel?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, sir.

Mr. McCAIN. And despite the mistake that was made in the promotion system, you did form impressions over there from the day-to-day interface with the men and women who are serving there?

Mr. GRAHAM. Yes.

Mr. McCAIN. I think it might be appropriate, given the Senator's recent probably longer stay than any Member of Congress has ever had in Iraq, maybe he can talk to us a bit on the record not only about where the troops' morale is, what they believe in, and about the issue that was the reason he went there, and that is this enormous challenge of the rule of law, and whether we are making progress in that area, and what he expects, particularly in the area of the prisoner situation.

Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I will try my best. No. 1, my time in the service has been as a military lawyer. I am not a combat operational guy. If you want to talk about my experiences in the military, I am glad to talk about them, but they are limited, and I know how far they should go--not very. As a JAG colonel, I cannot tell you how to deploy troops. I don't know. That is out of my line. I have to make a decision as a Senator when the general comes, as Senator McCain says, as to whether it makes sense to me. I would not advise any Member of this body to follow a four star general's recommendation just because of the number of stars.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, while my friend from Virginia is on the floor--my other friend from Virginia--I apologize to him for misspeaking this morning about his sponsorship of any amendment. I know he has a number of proposals he may bring before the Senate in the course of this debate, and I apologize to him for assuming he hadn't had any of those ready at that particular time.

Again, I thank him for the enormous input he has made in this debate and his wisdom and knowledge, and his leaving will create a void around here. Voids are always filled, but I think it may exist for a long time because of the many years of leadership on national security issues he has provided to this body, the State of Virginia, and the Nation. I say to the Senator, please accept my apologies.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I want to thank the Senator from Virginia for his knowledge, his wisdom, and his in-depth analysis of the situation. All of us who know him are appreciative of the very difficult process he has gone through as he has attempted to balance the needs of the military, America's national security, and the frustration and sorrow and anger that is felt by many Americans over our failures in this war. I thank him for the consultation process he has gone through. I have never known the Senator from Virginia to arrive at a decision without a thorough and complete analysis of it. He has used the wisdom he has acquired since World War II, when he served as a brave marine.

Mr. WARNER. Sailor, you rascal. How could you forget that?

Mr. McCAIN. Excuse me--sailor, and later in the Marine Corps. He went wrong--I mean he did very well by serving both in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, and then, of course, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and as an outstanding chairman of the Armed Services Committee. So I thank him for his in-depth analysis, I thank him for his leadership and guidance to all of us and to all of our citizens, and for a very thoughtful and persuasive discussion.

As we move forward on this issue, no matter what happens with the Webb amendment, we will be faced with the situation in Iraq. I hope the situation improves and these debates can be eliminated over time. I am not sure they can. I hope and pray they can, but in the meantime we will rely on the judgment and guidance of our friend from Virginia.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, if I might ask the Senator a question because, indeed, the Senator has a career of active-duty service to the country that cannot be paralleled, certainly by this humble Senator or many others. But don't you believe in your heart of hearts the Webb concept of 1 to 1 is a good one, and if it were possible for the military to achieve it they would do so, and we would all vote for this amendment?

Mr. McCAIN. I say to my friend, he is exactly right. He is exactly right. Among the many failures, as my friend from Virginia knows very well, is that at the onset of this conflict it was believed by the then Secretary of Defense and others in the administration, including the President of the United States, this was going to be quick, it was going to be easy, it was going to be over.

There were people such as the Senator from Virginia--and, I might add, and me--who said you have to have a bigger Army. You have to have a bigger Marine Corps. The Army and Marine Corps is one-third smaller than it was at the time of the first gulf war. We should have paid attention to our friend and comrade, General Powell, and the Powell doctrine, and we obviously should have understood the requirements in the postinitial combat phase, which I think would have relieved this terrific burden we have laid on the men and women in both the Active Duty and the Guard and Reserve. God bless them for being able to sustain it. It is a remarkable performance on their part.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, on that point, I grilled these officers today very intensely. You may recall that in January, subsequent to the President's announcement of the surge, the Secretary of Defense stepped up and said: Hold everything. I am going to put in place a callup policy for the Reserve and the Guard which will enable them to have a clearer understanding of how much active service they will be called upon to do and, more important, once that active service is completed, how much time they can remain home.

Now, a reservist has to maintain two jobs, in a way: his Reserve job and his job with which he puts, basically, the bread on the table for his family, in the private sector. So they are different than the regulars.

I was told today that, if the Webb amendment became law, they would have to go back and revisit and change that policy that the Secretary of Defense enunciated for the Guard and Reserve in January, this year.

Is that your understanding?

Mr. McCAIN. That is my understanding, I would say to the Senator from Virginia, and I also say that is why I think we need to have a Sense-of-the-Senate resolution, to reflect the overall opinion of the Senate that we need to fix this situation. Obviously, the unintended consequences of putting it into law at this time are myriad. The Senator from Virginia has, in the most articulate fashion, described those. I agree with the Senator from Virginia.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I conclude my remarks by saying--others are waiting to speak--the reason I brought up Senator Webb's distinguished career as former Secretary of the Navy, and indeed in the Department of Defense in an earlier assignment, is he understands these arguments. He has looked at them. I respect his views. We have a personal difference of opinion on the professional viewpoints, that it can or cannot be done.

He believes honestly it can be done. I believe, based on what I related this
morning and that my ranking member has stated--we feel it can't be done. Therein is the problem.

I, in no way, in any way denigrate what Senator Webb is trying to do. It is just that we have an honest difference of opinion, mine based on basically the same facts that have been given to him. He has a different analysis than do I.

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I wish to add one additional point, though, that I think is important. I also believe that it is unconstitutional for this body to dictate the tours of duty and the service of the men and women in the military and how that is conducted. I am absolutely convinced, from my reading of history and of the Constitution, that to enact such an amendment would be an encroachment on the authority and responsibility of the Commander in Chief which could have significant consequences in future conflicts, particularly if those conflicts at some point may be unpopular with the American people. So I have additional reasons, besides our desire to--the impracticability, as the Senator has so adequately pointed out.

I see my friend from Illinois is waiting.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I will take a minute to say to my colleagues we have several speakers lined up, and if Senators would come over and speak and also call as to whether you wish to speak and how much time, because we, I think, are close to entering into an agreement on speakers and also a time agreement so we can set a time for the vote on the Webb amendment.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that following the disposition of the Webb amendment, that a side-by-side alternative to the Webb amendment be considered, which is in keeping with the agreement--well, I withdraw my request because I will wait until Senator Levin comes so there is no misunderstanding, except to say we do intend, after the disposition of the Webb amendment, to propose a side-by-side amendment which then we, I hope, could act on quickly because it is basically the debate we have been having. There is also the habeas amendment pending, as I understand it, and negotiations I think are still going on with regard to that issue. I hope we could get that resolved, and then we will try to nail down the number of amendments so we can address the issue of Iraq and associated amendments so we can then move forward with the rest of the DOD authorization bill.

I will very soon have conversations with Senator Levin, but in the meantime, if there are those on either side who wish to speak on this amendment, please make their wishes known, and the length of their statement, so we can begin to put together a unanimous consent agreement, which would then allow for a vote on the Webb amendment. I say this after having had discussions with Senator Webb on the issue.

I wish to make one additional comment. Dr. Kissinger had a piece in the Washington Post on Sunday which I had printed in yesterday's Record. I also commend to my colleague an article by Frederick W. Kagan entitled ``A Web of Problems.''

Mr. McCAIN. I yield the floor.


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