SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 20, 2008)
HON. BILL PASCRELL, JR.
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2008
* Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I want to state for the record that my vote today against Amendment No. 1 to H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Act is a vote against further unconditional funding for the war in Iraq. However, I would also like to make clear that this is not a vote against funding our troops fighting in Afghanistan. In fact, I believe that my vote today against amendment No. 1 is indeed a vote that supports our mission in Afghanistan because I believe the failed war in Iraq has greatly hurt our ability to defeat our enemies who attacked our Nation on 9/11.
* I cannot vote to continue funding for the war in Iraq because it has not been fought for the purpose that was stated to the American people back in 2002 and it has not achieved the goals that were set out by this Administration. The war in Iraq has lasted far too long and has recklessly put the lives and livelihood of too many American troops in danger. With over 4,000 of our brave sons and daughters killed and more than 30,000 diagnosed with injuries, it is time they come home. After 5 years, this war has lasted longer than America's military involvement in World War I, World War II, the Korean war and the Civil War. I remain fully committed to the withdrawal of America's troops from the war in Iraq and am greatly disappointed that a timeline for withdrawal has not been included in this emergency funding measure. To be certain, a timeline is the only way that the current Iraqi Government will understand the dire need to unify and stand together to build their nation. Our brave men and women of the Armed Forces can not and should not have to hold Iraq together indefinitely. My vote today against this amendment is strictly a vote to bring our troops home from Iraq.
* While I strongly oppose continued funding for our war in Iraq I am an even stronger supporter for greater funding and resources to win the battle against Al Qeada and Taliban extremists in Afghanistan. I have stated unequivocally on multiple occasions that Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror. In fact, just 2 months ago I joined my colleagues Representatives Capuano and LoBiondo in a congressional assignment to Afghanistan and Pakistan. I had the honor to meet our troops stationed in Afghanistan and see the battle conditions they faced high up in the mountain ranges of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Despite the extreme conditions and dangerous assignments they were engaged in, I was encouraged by the troops' morale and unwavering commitment to their mission in Afghanistan. I told them I would continue to do everything in my power in Congress to provide them with the resources they need to be successful in Afghanistan and I believe I am doing so with this vote today.
* It is my regret that I do not have the ability today to vote to reject continued funding for the war in Iraq and still vote to approve greater funding for our efforts in Afghanistan. It is clear to me that the central front in the War on Terror in Afghanistan has suffered due to the singular focus the administration has had on Iraq. It should be deeply disturbing to my colleagues and all Americans that because of this focus on Iraq we are seeing a resurgence of the Taliban as witnessed in the recent suicide bombing of a prison in Kandahar that freed over 400 Taliban inmates. The facts make clear my reasoning as to why I am voting today against Amendment No. 1 in support of our brave troops fighting in Afghanistan.