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Public Statements

Iraq War Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

IRAQ WAR RESOLUTION -- (House of Representatives - February 15, 2007)


Mr. PICKERING. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution.

As we look back through our Nation's history, and we look back at all the great chapters, there were moments, decisive, critical moments, where our Nation could have given up, or given in, could have withdrawn, could have surrendered, and those moments that make us most proud are those chapters in our history where we did not give up, retreat, surrender.

If we had a mission, we completed it. If we look to Lincoln's message at one of those turning and tipping points in our history at Gettysburg, when this Nation was in the midst of its bloodiest civil war, Lincoln said, We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this Nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom.

We have a new Nation trying to grasp its first breath of freedom, to form a more perfect union of freedom and equality and democracy.

Lincoln's second inaugural address: With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness and the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the Nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Today I took a couple on a tour of this great Capitol, and we walked into the Rotunda under the magnificent dome, the place where if you put the Statue of Liberty, it would still have room within that dome.

The dome was finished and constructed during our Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was questioned during that time, Shall we devote our time and our resources and the labor to the completion of the dome, or should that go to the war effort? And Lincoln said, No, that is a symbol of our union, and we will complete the work of the dome.

When Lee met Grant at Appomattox, it is said that Lee's first question to Grant was, Have they finished the dome yet? They had just finished it in the spring of 1865.

Today that dome defines and symbolizes the strength of our Nation and of our democracy. Many in the world probably thought during that time that we would never survive, and the real question for many of us today as a Nation at war that is spiraling in civil war, can that civil war end? Can a nation be unified? Could the hatred and the violence be stopped and then reconciliation bring unity?

There are many on the other side who believe that it is futile, that all civil wars will never end, that these ancient hatreds will not stop. But if we look to our recent history in Bosnia, there was a President of the other party who stood and said, We can intervene. We will give our military and our diplomatic resources to bring about an end to civil war.

He was successful, and history judges him well for that. To be honest, many on this side of the aisle did not stand in support of that President at that time. But our Nation remembers and are glad that we had a leader who intervened and brought stability to a critical region of the world, and new democracies emerged.

We started this effort together after 9/11. We all remember standing on the steps and singing ``God bless America.'' We can remember going to the cathedral, the National Cathedral, and praying for our guidance and for our unity. We authorized the war together. We adopted a policy of regime change together, overwhelmingly.

And now, 4 years later, when it is difficult and grave doubts rise, will we give up, or will we complete the work and finish the work in which we can be proud?

Lieutenant Joshua Trapp, who flies Apache helicopters in Iraq, deployed this spring after his marriage to Elizabeth of only 3 weeks. He now believes and hopes that he can complete his mission.

I rise today in Joshua Trapp's name, and all of those other Mississippians who have given their lives, that their life may not have been in vain, and that their mission may be supported in this body in this time and this place and that it is a chapter we in this place will remember as we age and grow old that we did not walk away, retreat, surrender, but we finished the mission.


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