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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, you can pretty much win any battle you want to fight with superior military might. But for wars of consequence, you have to be fighting from the high ground consistently. That's what this amendment is all about.

We will win this war against violent extremism; but in order to do so, we have to win over the hearts and the minds of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who want what we have. They want equal justice under the law. They want fairness and truth and transparency and democracy.

The vast majority are young, idealistic, and very impressionable; and, unfortunately, too many of them are misled and manipulated.

We have a superior set of values and principles. It's what defines us as a Nation. But we have to hold steadfast to those values and principles. We have to show that even when we are challenged, even when it's politically difficult, we believe in equal justice under the law. We believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. We believe that every life matters. We believe in human rights, we don't believe in torture. But we do believe in our justice system. It's not our justice system that's operational at Guantanamo. It was set up there to be outside our justice system so we could detain people indefinitely.

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Mr. MORAN. At this time in our history when we're furloughing 650,000 Department of Defense employees, how can we justify spending $1.5 million per detainee at Guantanamo when half of them have been cleared for release? It doesn't make sense. And now in this bill we're authorizing another quarter of a billion dollars to be spent at Guantanamo. Those are misguided priorities. It costs $34,000 to jail very dangerous terrorists in this country, but in this country, we can convict them.

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Mr. MORAN. Madam Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment.

We are about to authorize more than half a trillion dollars for our military. The Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says ``we don't want or need this extra $5 billion.'' What's our response? We tell him, No, you have to spend that, but you also have to cut $50 billion from our military in the most stupid, irresponsible, irrational manner possible. And within that $50 billion you have to get $2 billion of savings by furloughing 650,000 Department of Defense employees.
So we are going to save $2 billion by furloughing 650,000 people, but we are going to force them to spend $5 billion over in Afghanistan while we furlough people here.

What's the rationale? We can't justify that. Of course we should hold to what our military says they need in Afghanistan. We ought to also give them what they feel they need here in the United States.

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Mr. MORAN. I thank my very good friend from Connecticut--and the chairman of the committee because I trust that he will support this as well.

This amendment passed overwhelmingly last year, bipartisan vote. The problem is that the Defense Department ignored it. They went ahead, continuing to buy weapons from Rosoboronexport, the very same Russian arms supplier that is enabling President Assad to kill more than 90,000 of his own people, who is now, we confirmed, using chemical weapons against his people. 1.6 million Syrian refugees are scattered across five countries; and within the year, half of the Syrian population is going to be in need of aid. So this has to be fixed. This is not a sustainable situation.

The Obama administration says, well, we are going to have to get more aggressively involved, supplying more military assistance to the insurgents. But think about this: the problem is that Assad is getting all the weapons he wants. In fact, he's asked this Russian arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, for advanced S-300 missile defense batteries, 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 20 million rounds of ammunition, machine guns, grenade launchers, grenade sniper rifles with night vision sights. Mi-17 helicopters are also made by Rosoboronexport, and we're buying helicopters from them. Can't we coordinate the right hand with the left
hand? We should not be basically subsidizing Rosoboronexport, which is a large part of the problem in Syria.

Some have suggested that without Russia's aid, President Assad cannot continue killing his own people. Now, I don't know that we can ever convince President Putin to stop this--it's obviously a state-owned arms supplier--but surely the Congress can say, no, don't purchase from the same person that is supplying the Syrian regime.

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