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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act--Motion to Proceed--Resumed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I think most Americans remember where they were on 9/11/2001. I was doing eye surgery in Bowling Green, KY. When I came out of surgery, I walked into the patient's room and on the television set were the planes crashing into the buildings. My first thought was horror. My second thought was concern for my father who was in Washington and is a Congressman and lives near the Pentagon. As I thought about this, it struck me as so bizarre and hard to believe. But I know exactly where I was and remember it vividly today.

I think Lucky Penny remembers where she was. Lucky Penny was one of the first female F 16 pilots. She was here in Washington at one of the bases, and she was asked to scramble her F 16. After the first two planes crashed, she was asked to intercept United Flight 93, which was coming in from Pennsylvania and thought to be headed toward the White House. She was asked to scramble a fighter jet with no armaments. They didn't have time to load the armaments and at that time we were not prepared and did not have jets already prearmed.

Her mission was to take down the plane however she could, which probably meant ramming her jet into the commercial airliner and bringing it down. Can you imagine being given this task? She took it upon herself and quickly scrambled her jet. The jet had to be scrambled in such a fast fashion that there were still things attached to it. People were trying to dismantle and pull out the gas hose and all the appendages to the plane as she was taxiing down the runway. I think she will never forget where she was on 9/11.

When SEAL Team 6 infiltrated bin Laden's compound, I think Americans were proud of SEAL Team 6 and proud of our military and proud of what they did to finally get this mass murderer. What happened in the weeks leading up to that attack and the attack on the compound by SEAL Team 6 was a doctor in Pakistan who helped us. His name is Dr. Shakil Afridi. He is about the same age as I, and I have a lot of sympathy for him and for his bravery. Doctors are not soldiers. We are taught to heal and to help, but he thought it was important enough and that bin Laden was a bad enough person that he would help America get bin Laden.

He set up a vaccination clinic, and they did DNA testing to try to prove that bin Laden was in the compound. He risked his life to get this mass murderer. As a consequence though, Pakistan has not treated him very well. The Pakistan Government has put him in prison for 33 years. I find it incredibly insulting that this is coming from an ostensible ally.

I find it troubling that this man who is a hero and should be praised and congratulated and rewarded has been sentenced to prison for 33 years. He has been in prison for the last year without trial and probably being tortured. He has lost a significant amount of weight and now he is told he will go to prison for the rest of his life for helping America to catch the mass murderer bin Laden.

What I find particularly troubling is that the United States continues to fund and give money to Pakistan. Over $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money is sent to Pakistan. It troubles me that we are sending $1 billion to a country that imprisons the gentleman, the physician, who was brave enough to help us get bin Laden. It makes no sense.

Recently, a committee proposed reducing our foreign aid--the $1 billion--by $33 million. It is 3 percent. I think they will laugh at us and keep doing what they are doing. They only understand negotiation from strength. So what I am proposing, and what I will insist upon in the next few days, is a vote on ending aid to Pakistan unless they free Dr. Afridi. I think that is the very least they can do. I am also asking the U.S. Government to grant him emergency citizenship and to help his family get over here from Pakistan and to provide them safe passage. I think it is the least we can do.

We shouldn't reward bad behavior. That is what we have done with foreign aid for so many years. It is one thing to talk about aiding or assisting your allies, but it is another to aid and assist the people who persistently persecute their own people--people who continue with human rights abuses.

In Pakistan there is a woman named Asia Bibi. She has been accused of saying something about the prophet. She said she didn't do it. It is gossip. She is set to be executed in Pakistan.

I think Americans should be outraged that 1 billion of your taxpayer dollars is being sent to Pakistan, a country that is imprisoning the guy who helped us get bin Laden, that is imprisoning a Christian for saying she said some sort of religious blasphemy, and the accusation is basically gossip. I think we should be insulted, not to mention the fact that I don't think it works.

Look at the examples throughout the last 30, 40 years of the different dictators we have given money to. We gave over $60 billion to Mubarak, the military dictator of Egypt. He stole a lot of it. He was one of the richest men in the world. He had some of the largest palaces in the world. His kids were enriched also at our expense.

Look at Mobutu in Congo. He was given billions of dollars and entertained by American leaders. At one time he had seven of the largest palaces in the world, mansions in the United States, mansions in Paris that were all paid for with our money. What did his people have? His people didn't have running water or electricity. Even if we believe in the humanitarian nature of giving money to these countries, it is not going to them. We are making rich autocrats richer in Third World countries, and it is not going to the people of the country. It is stolen and skimmed off the top.

Look at Mugabe. Mugabe in Zimbabwe tortures his opposition, has confiscated land, has basically run his country into the ground, and we have given him billions of dollars. We can't buy better behavior and we shouldn't reward autocrats. Let's not reward folks who torture their people. For goodness' sake, we should not send $1 billion to Pakistan when they are imprisoning a hero who helped us get bin Laden.

My amendment will call for an immediate halt to all aid to Pakistan now. I am asking President Obama not to send one penny to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is freed. I am asking that no more money goes there in the future until Dr. Afridi is freed. I think this is the least we can do. I plan on demanding a vote in the Senate, and I hope the American people will pay attention to how their representatives vote. They are voting to send money we don't even have. We are $1 trillion in debt. We borrow the money from China and send it to Pakistan. It makes no sense. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We have had two bridges collapse in Kentucky this year. We are struggling for money to pay for our own infrastructure, and we are sending $1 billion to a country that imprisons Christians for their beliefs.

It has to come to an end. It is going to come to an end one way or another. What I ask is that the Senate step up and support ending this money being sent to Pakistan and, at the very least, not send any more until Dr. Afridi is freed.

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