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Public Statements

Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I think this bill would be better named if we called it ``Obsession with Iran Act of 2012'' because this is what we continue to be doing--obsess with Iran and the idea that Iran is a threat to our national security.

Iran happens to be a Third World nation. They have no significant navy, air force, intercontinental ballistic missiles. The IAEA and our CIA say they are not on the verge of a nuclear weapon.

It's so similar to what we went through in the early part of this last decade where we were beating the war drums to go to war against Iraq. And it was all a facade. There was no danger from Iraq. So this is what we're doing, beating the war drums once again.

Since the bill has come back from the conference, if we are to deal with civil liberties in Syria--well, I happen to be a civil libertarian. I am very concerned about civil liberties. But let me tell you, this bill is not going to do anything to enhance the civil liberties of the individuals in Syria.

If we were really interested in civil liberties, why wouldn't we look to ourselves? Why wouldn't we look to the things we do here? What about our warrantless searches under the PATRIOT Act? What about the policy of assassination, assassinating American citizens? What about arrests by the military, the National Defense Authorization Act? What about the drone warfare that we go on? Do you think we are protecting civil liberties by arbitrarily dropping drones or threatening to drop drones anyplace in the world, with innocent people dying?

If we want to really care about civil liberties in Syria, why don't we care about the secret prisons we have and the history of torture that we have had in this country?

What about the fact that kill lists are being made by the executive branch of government, and we sit idly by and approve of it by saying nothing, and the American people put up with it, and we march in this direction, marching into a determination to have another war?

When you put sanctions on a country, it's an act of war, and that is what this is all about. The first thing you do when war breaks out between two countries is you put sanctions on them. You blockade the country. So this is an act of war.

What would we do if somebody blockaded and put sanctions on us and prevented the importation of any product of this country? We would be furious. We would declare war. We would go to war.

So we are the antagonists. We're over there poking our nose and poking our nose in other people's affairs, just looking for a chance to start another war. First it's Syria and then Iran. We have too many wars. We need to stop the wars. We don't have the money to fight these wars any longer.

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Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I'm still rather impressed with the obsession over a weapon that does not exist and no concern whatsoever about many nuclear weapons that are held by countries that never even joined the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

It's called for in the debate that Iran should end all its nuclear programs, but they're permitted to have the nuclear program under the nonproliferation treaty. And the other countries that have weapons, including the countries that hold the weapons that came from the Soviet system, it seems like that would be a much greater danger.

The investigation by either the U.N. or by our CAs has never indicated that they have ever enriched above 20 percent. And they said they won't even do it to 20 percent if the West would cooperate and sell them this material. They said, we don't need it, but we need 20 percent enrichment for nuclear isotopes, medical isotopes. So our refusal to deal with them prompts them to take up enrichment to 25 percent; 5 percent, of course, is what they're allowed to do for nuclear energies.

But this idea that we can badger people and then defy the law, what we're asking them to do, to close down their program, is you're asking them to defy international law. They agreed to this. They have a right to do this under this treaty. And for us to come and say, well, they must quit it, I think it really is very close to an obsession on a country that is incapable of attacking us, or attacking--they don't have a history of invading their neighboring countries. The last time they were at war was with Iraq, and we bugged Iraq to go into Iran.

So I find this very distressing that the obsession continues. I find it very, very upsetting that this vote will, of course, be overwhelmingly in support of correcting the civil liberties of Syria and making Iran toe the line and give up on something that they're permitted to do. A vote for this, in my opinion, in time will show that it's just one more step to another war that we don't need.

We have not been provoked. They are not a threat to our national security, and we should not be doing this. We've been doing it too long. For the last 10, 15 years we have been just obsessed with this idea that we go to war and try to solve all the problems of the world; and at the same time, it is bankrupting us.

I strongly urge a ``no'' vote on this resolution.

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