Search Form
Now choose a category »

Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CONAWAY. I appreciate the gentleman from Washington yielding me 2 minutes.

I strongly urge opposition to this amendment with some heavy heart because some of the things that my good colleague has said may be accurate; much of it is inflammatory and not accurate. But nevertheless, I don't want to be seen as an apologist for Pakistan.

But by the same token, we have trimmed the amount of money subject to this authorization and to this amendment by half. We have strengthened the controls around that money to require Pakistan to certify to us, to Secretary Panetta, that, in fact, this money is being spent in the fight against counterterrorism.

We will have additional amendments on floor this afternoon that don't have any opposition, which will further strengthen that certification process. And by restricting all funds, under the DOD position, simply plays into the bad guys' hands in Pakistan. It will give them no incentives in which to work with us and it will further their strength and resolve to close the cross-border, overland passage of U.S. military goods to assist us with the fight in Afghanistan.

While my good colleague has much greater experience with some of those folks in that part of the world than I do, nevertheless, I stand in opposition to his amendment. It is a meat cleaver when we ought to be going at it the way we've done it--by trimming the money back, putting restrictions on that money that will force the Pakistanis in order to get it. And, by the way, they have not gotten money from DOD since June of 2010.

So while the comments that he's made might apply to all funding for the State Department and everything else, it only applies to Department of Defense money. We've not given them money since June of 2010. We have adequate protections in the bill this time and will strengthen those protections later on in the debate in the votes this afternoon.

I stand in opposition to the amendment.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the chairman yielding me the time.

I stand in opposition to this amendment. My colleague stated it very well earlier. This says just get out now.

My colleagues across the aisle in support of this amendment have continued to use the word ``responsible'' over and over, and there is nothing responsible about abandoning the efforts in Afghanistan today without proper conditions on the ground.

The President has a plan in place. Some of us may have had differing ideas with him, but he put a plan in place that says our combat troops will be out of there by 2014 contingent with conditions on the ground.

The Afghan people are responsible for their own security, and we're trying to help them get to that place with the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, and the Afghan local army. Those efforts are going on across the provinces of Afghanistan as we speak, and they're getting into the lead to take care of their security.

But abandoning of Afghanistan today would put at risk 27 million Afghanis who are counting on us to get this right, counting on us to put them in a position to be able to defend themselves when we do leave in 2014. So getting out now, Mr. Chairman, is irresponsible rather than responsible.

Now, I understand all of us are tired. All of us are weary. None of us like to go to those funerals. I go to the funerals of the young men and women who have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I stand with those moms and dads and husbands and wives on the worst days of their life. I understand, it's grinding grief that's associated with it. But there's a pride also attached to it that their loved one gave their life for something positive, for something good, so that 27 million Afghanis could create a government that would allow them to rule themselves and not have the thugs and the Taliban do what they did in the mid-1990s: come in and slaughter all of the thoughtful people, all the teachers, all the folks who would lead, in order to subjugate their people in ways that are just horrendous.

They will do that again to anyone who has helped us over this last 10-year period. So we do have a responsibility there. The responsibility is to get out when the conditions on the ground say it's time to get out.

NATO is meeting this weekend in Chicago to determine ongoing conditions, what's going to be done with respect to their commitments, and this amendment would undermine all of those efforts going on there.

So I stand in opposition to this amendment and encourage my colleagues to vote "no'' on this amendment.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top