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Pakistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT.

Mr. McKEON. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this resolution and I am pleased to join my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs and the Armed Services Committees who are opposed to this ill-timed and ill-conceived measure. I am disappointed that the House Democratic leadership would allow this resolution to come to the floor for a vote at this time.

In April 2009, the President released his strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and began to make the case to the American people that security and stability in the region are vital to the U.S. national security interests. I support this strategy.

In Pakistan, instability and violence have reached new highs with the insurgency moving eastward toward the capital of Islamabad and bombings and suicide attacks on the rise. This fight not only affects the people of Pakistan but our security, too. Moreover, Pakistan is an essential partner to the United States, both in the near and the long term, and we must remain committed to building trust between our two nations.

It remains in our national interest to defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies and to ensure they will have no safe havens from which to attack the American people. In Pakistan, the government and people are increasingly seeing the insurgency operating from the tribal border areas as the most existential threat to their country.

Despite Pakistan's increased military operations, the scale, nature, and frequency of violence in Pakistan makes it a nation more appropriately comparable to a combat zone, such as that found in Afghanistan, and it should be treated as such rather than as a central European country seeking foreign military financing.

That is why our military partnership with Pakistan is essential. There are approximately 230 U.S. military personnel in Pakistan--all assigned to the Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan. This small contingent is in Pakistan at the invitation of the Government of Pakistan to support security assistance programs and training to deepen our cooperative relationship with Pakistan.

Let me be clear. This is not a combat mission but a train and equip role for the U.S. trainers in Pakistan. These trainers were selected based on the requirements established by the Government of Pakistan. These programs are key to Pakistan's counterinsurgency operations--training which Pakistan needs to defeat al Qaeda and Taliban forces operating within their borders.

Representative Kucinich's resolution, if enacted into law, would mandate the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Pakistan by the end of 2010. Why consider this resolution now? Why second-guess the Commander in Chief and his commanders without giving the military a chance to implement the strategy?

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to send a clear message to our military men and women:

This Congress believes in you. We support you, and we honor your dedication.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''

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