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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I certainly thank the gentleman very much. I know that Texas and Arizona are kin in a lot of different ways, and I appreciate all the good work that you do; and I certainly thank Mr. Poe.
I suppose it's important for us first to just restate the obvious, that the President's most fundamental duty is to protect our country. This recent attempted attack, which could have resulted in an act of war if they'd been successful, I think reveals two very glaring examples of President Obama's abject failure to adequately fulfill his responsibility to protect our southern borders and the failure to respond to a terrorist regime on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons.
The main terrorist attempting to organize these attacks on our soil sought to hire members of the Mexican drug cartel known as the Zetas--I'm sure you folks have discussed that already--partly because of their seemingly unfettered access to weaponry. It's an astonishing irony to me, Mr. Carter, that it was the Obama Department of Justice that was involved in allowing just such weaponry to be walked across the border into the waiting arms of Mexican drug cartels like the Zetas.
Yesterday's foiled plot underscores the serious nature of the allegations surrounding Operation Fast and Furious; and, of course, I think it's very appropriate that Attorney General Holder has now been rightly subpoenaed. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, this momentous event establishes that Iran is committed enough to try to foment an attack upon the United States.
There are really only two fundamental components to any threat to our national security. One is intent. The second is capacity. If this doesn't clarify once again in the starkest terms Iran's intent, I don't know what it will take to wake this administration up. The frightening part about it is that this same regime has gone on unabated for years now, inexorably and inevitably pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. This administration has been asleep at the wheel, and I can't express to you how dangerous I believe that is.
Last year, General David Petraeus announced that Iran was directly assisting al Qaeda. Shortly thereafter, General Raymond Odierno, now Chief of Staff of the Army, said Iran was funding and training insurgent groups in Iraq. Furthermore, in a report last September, he indicated that Iran was also funding Taliban efforts to kill American troops in Afghanistan.
This is a pattern here; and if they are committed enough to try to foment an attack here and literally try to blow up the Israeli embassy here or to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., let me suggest to you that the intent is so clear that our entire focus now should be upon dealing with the capacity.
And this administration should have the courage now to take this moment to stand up and say to the whole world that America will not let Iran gain nuclear weapons with which to threaten the entire human family, even if it means a military response on the part of the United States.
They need to make that very clear, and this is the moment to do that, because I would suggest to you that there is an effort by Iran to create a hegemony in the Middle East that's causing a lot of the Middle Eastern countries now to flock to Iran's side out of absolute sniveling terror that Iran will gain a nuclear weapons capability.
I would just say to you that if Iran does do this, not only will it change the history of humanity, not only will we all be stepping into the shadow of nuclear terrorism, but history will record that this President was the one that stood by and allowed that to happen. I would suggest to you that that is a complete abrogation of Presidential duty.
Perhaps this President would do better if he were able to focus on the threats of our Nation without being so busy apologizing for America at every opportunity. It's been reported the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that they called to express condolences to the family of al Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan, who was killed in the same attack that took out Anwar Awlaki.
It's a difficult thing to say or ask, but I just wonder if the Obama State Department called all of the families of the victims of the terrorism that these two men fomented in the world, especially those perhaps who died at Fort Hood. I am just astonished that this President is so busy apologizing to the families of terrorists that I wonder if he has time to defend this country.
We have an administration that not only refuses to enforce our immigration laws, but then allows weapons to pass to the very criminals from whom they are given charge to protect Americans from, and then they sue the States who step in, like Arizona, and try to enforce immigration laws themselves.
Meanwhile, Mr. Carter, I just suggest to you that it is just astonishing that we have to sit here and have this conversation while the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, is drawing closer and closer to building a functional nuclear weapons capability that they could pass on to their terrorist proxies, some of which are believed to be operating near the same unsecured southern border.
Just the fact that Iran was willing to try to bring in the Mexican drug lords, the Zeta gangs, is proof that they're willing to try to pass some of their deeds off to proxies. Now, if that becomes a nuclear weapons capability, then the world's in trouble and there's just no way I can conjure words strong enough to describe the insanity of this administration's lackadaisical, irresponsible approach to national defense. I wish I could.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. If the gentleman would yield, I serve on the Strategic Forces Committee and am familiar with some of the designs of our nuclear warheads, and this is certainly open-source material.
But the fact is that a couple of people in a large red wagon can pull a W88 nuclear warhead across the border if they wanted to. Then people say, well, how could they ever do that? How could they ever bring a nuclear warhead across the border? The remark that I think clearly illustrates the significance of the possibility is maybe they could just hide it in a bale of marijuana. That would help them get it across.
So the fact that terrorists are beginning to move in this direction where they're getting so bold that they're willing to try to foment attacks on American soil, let me suggest to you that it's very late in the day, Mr.
Carter, and I think maybe we missed one other point, that is, that in blowing up the Israeli embassy, that would be an act of war against Israel, because that would be Israeli soil in terms of our entire architecture for diplomacy.
Yet there was no hesitancy on the part of these terrorists to try to foment exactly that outcome and, again, if it had occurred, if they had been successful, it would have been nothing short of an act of war on the United States. Yet this administration is strangely quiet, and I wonder what this body should do to try to wake up this administration.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Yes, sir, I agree. Speaking of our allies, I was just in Israel not long ago, and I have to say to you, you understand that a lot of us--and I know including you, Congressman Carter--believe that Israel is our most reliable, most vital ally in the world.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Yet they feel under siege right now because they don't sense that this administration truly has their best interest in mind, partly because the Obama administration has reserved more open rebuke for Israel building homes in its own capital city than it has reserved for people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for building nuclear weapons to threaten the entire human family. And I find that lack of priority beyond my ability to articulate.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I just think that sometimes it's very easy for all of us as Americans. We've grown so used to being the most secure Nation in the world, and we owe that to the greatest military and the greatest men and women wearing the uniform that any nation could ever have.
But we've grown complacent and we, I think, have forgotten the seriousness and the reality of nuclear weapons. And we're living in a world now where countries like Pakistan have a major arsenal. If there is some sort of breakdown in the hierarchy in Pakistan or if Iran gains nuclear weapons, there's a lot of very dangerous circumstances facing this country.
I just think that somehow the lack of priority frightens me because this administration seems so focused on so many other things rather than doing what's necessary.
I haven't heard the outrage from this administration even related to this Iran-Mexican drug cartel effort. I haven't heard the strident outrage that you hear on a lot of other issues that they put forth. I just suggest to you, Congressman Carter, I hope that the people of this country will somehow let their Members of Congress and their President understand that the first responsibility we all have to offer them is security.
I know we're all focused on the economy of this country and jobs, and I certainly recognize the significance of that and the importance of it. But do we realize what would happen to our civil laws, to our liberties, do we realize what would happen to our economy if we had a major nuclear weapons attack on this country by terrorists? I mean, I don't think any of us would ever sleep again. The damage that could be caused is almost beyond my imagination, and yet again this administration seems focused on other things.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Well, you know, I couldn't agree with you more. We have to realize that the criminal element reads our intent. They know how serious we are. And terrorists across the world don't really believe that Barack Obama is serious about doing what's necessary, not only to identify clearly the difference between freedom and terrorism. I mean, they're calling the war on terror now overseas contingencies. They're using all these euphemisms. You know, I wonder, maybe now they'll say the drug cartels are merely unlicensed pharmacists. When we use words that don't reflect the truth and reflect the reality, we are undermined from the very beginning.
My concern is that Iran doesn't take this President seriously. They have put explosive form penetrators in the war in Iraq that have killed many of our soldiers. They've sent weapons to Afghanistan. And now they're trying to send drug cartels into our country to help blow up our embassies, and this administration allows them to continue on this inexorable march to gaining nuclear weapons.
And I just want to tell you, I'm afraid of something tonight. Again, it frightens me, like a lot of other things that we've talked about tonight, and that is that I'm afraid that this administration has embraced the notion that it's too late to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, and that they're going to go ahead and allow them to do that and then pursue a policy of containment when they do. I cannot find the words to express how dangerous that policy is and how it will damn this and future generations if we allow that policy to take hold.
If Iran gains nuclear weapons capability, history itself is divided because for the first time a jihadist rogue nation will have its finger on the nuclear button. And whatever challenges we face to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, whatever they are, and I know that they are myriad and significant, but they will pale in insignificance compared to the problems we'll have after Iran gains nuclear weapons. It will change the world for all of us.
And I would just join with you and call upon the administration to refocus their efforts on the central duty of the President of the United States and upon this government, which is to protect the lives and constitutional rights of our citizens, and that starts with national security. And whether it's a porous border or whether it's allowing a country like Iran whose leaders have made it clear that they intend to do everything they can to destroy Israel and ultimately the United States, we need to do everything that's necessary again, including military response, to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. The sooner the President makes that clear, the better chance that we won't have to have a military response. But right now the Iranian administration, the Iranian leaders are simply not convinced that this President intends to hold them accountable and keep them from gaining nuclear weapons capability, and I think it's one of the most dangerous things that we face in the world for that reason.
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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Carter, I think we forget when we talk about the economy and jobs that the most important thing we can do for the economy and jobs is to make sure that this country is secure and that productivity is allowed unfettered; that it has a secure environment in which to flourish. If the government will get out of the way, this economy will flourish. It will go forward. But if we fail as a government to do what is our duty, which is national security, there's nothing that could damage our economy more.
I remind everyone that we lost $2 trillion in our economy when two airplanes hit two buildings. It's very easy to forget the cost of war. Someone said that war devours everything that peace gives. And we need to make sure that we defend this country and make sure that the people who are investing in this country and are trying to work in this country and be productive know that they can do so in a fully secure environment. It is the most important thing that we can do for our national economy.
And I would suggest to you that it's important for us to start asking this administration some key questions. The number one question is: Where do they put the national security of the United States on their priority list? Secondly: What are they willing to do to clarify this dangerous jihadist ideology in stark terms where everyone can understand what we're dealing with and that we're willing to do whatever is necessary to prevent terrorism in this country and protect the American people? And third: What is Mr. Obama willing to do? What is he willing to do to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons with which to threaten the peace of mankind?
With that, I thank my friend for yielding.
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