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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I thank the gentleman from Ohio for bringing this issue up. It is late. This war started 9 years ago. It's about time we talked about it. It was said earlier on it is hard to quit a war, and we shouldn't be quitting. I will tell you what the real problem is, it is too easy to start a war. It is too easy to get involved. And that is our problem.

The founders of this country tried very hard to prevent this kind of a dilemma that we are in now; getting involved in no-win wars and nobody knowing exactly who the enemy is. The war was started and justified by quoting and using the war powers resolution written in 1973. That was written after the fiasco of Vietnam to try to prevent the problem of slipping into war. Yet that resolution in itself was unconstitutional because it literally legalized war for 90 days without Congressional approval. It did exactly the opposite.

So here we are, the 90-day permission for war at that time now is close to 9 years. I am afraid that this is too little, hopefully not too late for us to do something about this. Are we going to do it for 10 more years? How long are we going to stay? And the enemy is said to be the Taliban. Well, the Taliban, they certainly don't like us, and we don't like them. And the more we kill, the more Taliban we get.

But I want to quote the first line of the resolution passed back in 2001, explaining the purpose for giving the President the power, which was an illegal transfer of power to the President to pursue war at will. It said, ``To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.'' The Taliban didn't launch an attack against the United States. The Government of Afghanistan didn't launch it.

The best evidence is that of those 20 individuals who participated in the 9/11 attacks, two of them might have passed through Afghanistan. A lot of the planning was done in Germany and Spain, and the training was done here in the United States. Oh, yes, the image is that they all conspired, a small group of people with bin Laden, and made this decision. Right now the evidence is not there to prove that. But certainly bin Laden was very sympathetic, loved it, and wanted to take credit for it.

One of the reasons why he wanted to take credit was that it would do three things he wanted: First, it would enhance his recruitment efforts for al Qaeda and his attacks against western powers who have become overly involved in control of the Middle East and have had a plan for 20 years to remake the Middle East. He also said that the consequence of 9/11 will be that we will bog the American people down in a no-win war and demoralize the people. There is still a lot of moral support, but there is a lot of people in this country now that the country is totally bankrupt and we are spending trillions of dollars on these useless wars that people will become demoralized, because history shows that all empires end because they expand too far and they bankrupt the country, just as the Soviet system came down. And that is what bin Laden was hoping for. He also said that the dollars spent will bankrupt this country. And we are bankrupt. And yet there is no hesitation to quit spending one cent overseas by this Congress.

We built a huge embassy in Baghdad, we built an embassy in Kabul, billion-dollar embassies, fortresses, and it's all unnecessary. Nobody is really concerned. If people were concerned about the disastrous effect of debt on this country, we would change our foreign policy and we would be safer for it. We are not safer because of our foreign policy. It is a policy of intervention that has been going on for a long time, and it will eventually end.

This war is an illegal war. This war is an immoral war. This war is an unconstitutional war. And the least you could say is it is illegitimate. There is no real purpose in this. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. You know, after we went into Afghanistan, immediately the concerns were shifted to remaking the Middle East. We went into Iraq, using 9/11 as a justification. It was nothing more than an excuse. Most Americans, the majority of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. And I imagine most Americans believe the Taliban had something to do with 9/11. It is not true.

We need to change our foreign policy and come back to our senses and defend this country and not pretend to be the policeman of the world.

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