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Where are the Good Governance and Diplomacy in Iraq?

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Location: Washington, DC


WHERE ARE THE GOOD GOVERNANCE AND DIPLOMACY IN IRAQ? -- (House of Representatives - April 03, 2008)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, next week, the chief commander of U.S. forces in Iraq will be up here before Congress, General David Petraeus, and he will be reporting on the conduct of the war. I can remember about a year ago, quite a large delegation from our defense subcommittee spent some time with General Petraeus in Iraq; and one statement that he made at that time remains in my mind, and I have shared it with every audience I have gone before. He said, Victory equals one-third military and two-thirds good governance and diplomacy. The two-thirds is missing.

Victory equals one-third military and two-thirds good governance and diplomacy and the two-thirds is missing in Iraq. So where does that place our soldiers? I have asked myself that every single minute of every single day since that discussion. The good governance and the diplomacy are nowhere.

The President of our country says, Well, I'm going to listen to my commanders in theater.

No, no. President Bush is the Commander in Chief. The military is doing their job, but they can only do one-third of the job. The other two-thirds rests on the top political leadership of this country, and they, and I would include every person in this room, and we have not done our jobs because the political equation, the good governance and diplomacy piece, is totally missing.

And so more soldiers die, more Iraqis die, and what is the vision? What is the vision for ultimate victory and exit of our troops? There isn't any. The President said mission was accomplished. No, the mission was just begun, but there is no end game.

Within Iraq, we have a corrupt and incapable state. They have billions of dollars in their budget unspent, our money, their money from oil. They're not spending it, yet the American people are going to be asked to appropriate another $170 billion here? Think about it, my friends.

Within Iraq, we broke the State. In Iraq, 2 1/2 million people thrown out of their homes within the country and another 2 1/2 million fleeing for their lives to Syria, to Jordan. And you know what? They will never be citizens of those countries. They're guests. They're actually refugees. We saw what happened with the Palestinians post-World War II. 600,000 of them still a refugee population with no homeland. And look at the difficulty that has caused the world.

So you say, Well, what is the mission? Are we winning the war on terrorism? Is America any more secure?

Well, we are having trouble in Afghanistan. The President had to beg NATO for more forces in Afghanistan. We've now got over 40,000 troops there. The situation there is not getting any better. And Pakistan, at the provincial level, the worst elements are being elected. Maybe that isn't the right adjective. But those that are most anti-American are being elected. There's trouble between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the border in those provinces. We don't have a solution there.

And Turkey, our closest ally in NATO for years. What is happening with elections at the provincial level there, mayors and so forth? The most anti-American individuals are being elected. That is true in Pakistan at the provincial level.

So you can say all you want to say about winning this war on terrorism, but how do you win a war when the majority of the people turn against this country? And you say to our military, You fix it. You fix it.

General Petraeus' testimony up here next week simply isn't enough. We need to hear from the President of the United States, not just passing the buck to, Well, let the generals tell me what to do. No. What is he going to do to accomplish this mission and bring

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our troops home and begin to repair the image of the United States across a vast growing region of the world where we are losing friends every day from North Africa, from Egypt, all the way through to Pakistan and Afghanistan? What are we going to do to correct the damage that is producing more terrorists, more anti-Americanism and less resolution?

Don't just place this burden on the backs of our brilliant military. They have been asked to do everything this President has sent them to do. But as General Petraeus wisely told us a year ago, victory means one-third military and two-thirds good governance and diplomacy, and the two-thirds is missing and it has been missing and it is missing.

What can we do? Why didn't the President take two of our exemplary ambassadors, people like Zbigniew Brzezinski and James Baker, put them on the same airplane, send them over to Iraq, work with the neighboring countries of Iraq, give us a date certain in order to begin redeploying forces to an over-the-horizon position? Give us a time: 6 months, 1 year, 1 year and 3 months? Let's have a plan. There is no plan.

The only plan is to send more troops to keep extending deployments to put more burden on our military, to ask our Marines to become civilian officials within that country with the civilian workload when they're trying to be a strike force. What kind of solution is that? It's asking too much of our military. Let's give them the respect they're due but ask the person in charge as Commander in Chief to give America the plan for victory and ultimate redeployment from that region and building back the kind of friendships with adjoining nations that will not give our children and grandchildren the burden of fighting terrorism two decades or more down the road.


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