RELATING TO THE LIBERATION OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE AND THE VALIANT SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AND COALITION FORCES -- (House of Representatives - March 17, 2004)
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 561, I call up the resolution (H. Res. 557) relating to the liberation of the Iraqi people and the valiant service of the United States Armed Forces and Coalition forces, and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
The text of House Resolution 557 is as follows:
H. Res. 557
Whereas Saddam Hussein and his regime committed crimes against humanity, systematically violating the human rights of Iraqis and citizens of other countries;
Whereas Saddam Hussein's terror regime subjected the Iraqi people to murder, torture, rape, and amputation;
Whereas on March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein's regime had and unleashed weapons of mass destruction against Kurdish citizens, killing nearly 5,000 of them;
Whereas as many as 270 mass grave sites, containing the remains of as many as 400,000 victims of Saddam Hussein's regime, have been found in Iraq;
Whereas rape was used to intimidate the Iraqi population, with victims often raped in front of their families;
Whereas the regime punished the Marsh Arabs by draining the marshlands, which created hundreds of thousands of refugees and caused an ecological catastrophe;
Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338), passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 360 to 38, made it United States policy to support efforts to remove from power the regime headed by Saddam Hussein;
Whereas with the Iraqi regime failing to comply with 16 previously adopted United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002, declaring that Iraq "has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors"; and
Whereas on October 10, 2002, the House of Representatives passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243) and on March 19, 2003, the United States initiated military operations in Iraq: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives-
(1) affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
(2) commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
(3) commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
(4) commends the members of the United States Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
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Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, 1 year ago this Friday, the President ordered the men and women of our Armed Forces into Iraq. They performed magnificently and have continued to do so despite an ongoing guerilla campaign, difficult conditions, and a shortage of protective gear such as Kevlar vests and armored Humvees.
As we celebrate their courage and skill, we must also reflect on their sacrifice. As of today, 565 American troops have been killed in this war including United States Army Specialist Rel Allen Ravago, IV, one of my constituents.
I will support this resolution because it includes language honoring our troops, but I am very concerned over what the resolution excludes and deeply disappointed that it was not crafted in a bipartisan manner.
Our troops in Iraq are not representatives of one political party or the other, and those who seek to exploit their daring and sacrifice for partisan gain would do well to remember that.
This resolution fails to address a number of serious issues that have arisen as a result of the war. Although the resolution before us makes no mention of it, this Nation went to war over intelligence that Saddam Hussein had both an existing arsenal of biological and chemical weapons and an ongoing nuclear weapons program. A year has passed, and we have yet to find evidence that this was correct.
Clearly, we must look at the totality of the circumstances that led to such a colossal intelligence failure. This failure cannot be minimized or, in the case of this resolution, ignored all together. To do so does no honor to our troops who have been lost and further imperils our future.
The planning for the post-war period of this operation was also deficient and based on a number of unsupported assumptions. Over the past decade and a half, our forces have been engaged more and more in post-conflict operations. Clearly we need to organize ourselves better to meet the challenges posed by post-conflict reconstruction.
In the coming days, I will offer a House companion to a bill introduced in the Senate by Senators LUGAR and BIDEN that does just that, and I hope my colleagues will support it.
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