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Public Statements

Iraq War Supplemental

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to follow up on the debate which we have just temporarily postponed until tomorrow morning on the supplemental appropriations bill for the Iraq war, and I wanted to start off by reiterating the statement made by Mr. Shadegg of Arizona in which he said he knew of no point in history where a country at war declared an end date for when they would be getting out of that war, the point being that most countries fight wars until the war is finished, based on the war situation, and not based on a calendar and an arbitrary date at that.

I think that is very important as we have this vote tomorrow because we are, in fact, hurting our troops if we make the announcement right now to the enemy that by March of 2008 we will be leaving. We know particularly in the Middle East and in Iraq that in cities such as Tikrit and Fallujah, as we have been there the last 3 or 4 years, that whenever the enemy wants to, it can lay low and wait till our troop situation or troop level shifts, and then they come out of the woodwork. I think if we do announce that we are going to be gone in March 2008, no matter what happens on the field of battle, then that enemy is going to use that same tactic to just wait until the Americans are out of town.

If we do leave that country before the job is done, then what happens, Mr. Speaker, is it could cause chaos. A civil war could erupt, and a lot of people say, well, I do not care if a civil war erupts. But how do you know it is going to stay in the boundaries of Iraq? Why would not the Shiites in Iran, for example, get involved in it? We already know they are getting involved in supplying the Shiites in Iraq with things. We do not know what will happen in that volatile area.

What happens to our ally Israel? We know that the Arab countries want to wipe Israel off the map. Are we doing Israel any favors if we abruptly withdraw and arbitrarily withdraw from Iraq?

And what happens to the oil reserves? I know it is interesting, everybody likes to say no war for oil, but the reality is you cannot fight a war without oil, and you cannot run our economy without oil, and petrodollars can stir up a lot of trouble around the globe. Just ask Hugo Chavez in Venezuela what he has done with his petrodollars, street money, and here we would be turning over the second or third largest oil reserves in the world over to a terrorist anti-American state.

Think about this for a minute in that context. America drilling and tapping into all the reserves that we have, we control 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. We use 25 percent. We import 60 percent. If you wanted to declare war on America, you would look at our oil supply, as countries have always looked at the energy or food supply of any country that they have planned to invade.

I want to say this. I represent Fort Stewart. This week the 3rd Infantry Division starts on its third deployment to Iraq. General Lynch, the commanding general, just left on Tuesday. But back in Hinesville, Georgia, there are 318 memorial trees that have been planted in memory of 3rd Infantry soldiers who have lost their life in Iraq. I have gone to some of the ceremonies. It is a sad thing, but even as you leave the field, the memorial field, soldiers say, we want to complete this job.

I have visited soldiers in the hospitals in Baghdad and at Walter Reed and in Ramstein, Germany, in Landstuhl, and they all say they want to go back and finish the job. But I do not want to tell you that I can speak for the troops because there is thousands of them, and I always resent when people come here and say this is what the troops want, because the troops are just like the rest of America, we want a lot of things, and America is divided on this.

But I want to say to the Democrats, I think that you have done the right thing. This war has needed more oversight. I believe we as Republicans were remiss in not having more oversight. I think putting up goals in the form of what we would like the Iraqi Government to do, I think that that is fitting and proper, but I think to have hard and fast deadlines is unreasonable.

We, in this over 200-year constitutional government, cannot do things that we should do. Last year, for example, we were not able to pass a budget. We did not pass all of our appropriation bills. The important thing is the Republican Party, certainly as the majority party, we are guilty, but the point is we could not even do that in our own government. How do we expect the Iraqis to do it by an arbitrary date set?

So I recommend that we recommit this bill, hammer out some of the differences, and then bring it back to the floor in a different and improved product.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the time.

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