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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008--Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008--Continued -- (Senate - July 17, 2007)


Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, if this were the first time that a 60-vote requirement were made, I would have some sympathy for the Senator from Illinois. I am having staff compile the number of times when the other side of the aisle was in the minority, they demanded 60 votes as well. You cannot do it with a straight face.

You cannot say that all we are going to do here in the Senate is have us govern by 51 votes; otherwise, we may as well be unicameral because we would have the Senate and the House exactly the same.

So, of course, I will object, Mr. President. I wish we would get off this horse of saying that somehow the other side never employed the 60-vote requirement in the Senate, because they did. It is a tradition in the Senate, and it is within the rules of the Senate. It may be frustrating. It certainly was to us when we were in the majority and the Democrats were in the minority and they employed it. But to somehow act as if what is being done is unprecedented--I will tell you what is unprecedented; it is taking a Defense authorization bill that is there for the training and equipping and pay raises and necessities of life for the men and women serving in the military, when we should be passing this--we all know it is going to come up in September. We should be passing this so the men and women can get what they need and deserve in order to defend the security of this Nation. Instead, Mr. President, what we are doing is having, again, for the eighth or ninth time, without having passed one appropriations bill, including the Military Construction appropriations bill, which is ready to be passed--instead, we will have this ``argument'' against the filibuster.

Mr. President, it doesn't pass the smell test. I object.


Mr. McCAIN. The Senator from Nevada, the distinguished majority leader and my friend for many years, points out that in previous years, the Defense authorization bill was passed without requirements for a 60-vote majority. There is a simple answer to that. We never took up an issue such as this on the Defense authorization bill.

In fact, our focus and our attention was, for 45 years, providing men and women who are serving in the military with what they needed to defend this Nation. Instead--instead, of doing what is necessary, including the 3.5-percent pay raise, including the Wounded Warriors legislation on it to take care of our veterans--we are now gridlocked in the Senate because the Senator from Nevada knows he is not going to pass a withdrawal from Iraq on this bill. If he did, the President would veto the bill, because the President has said it. We all know that in September this issue is going to come to a head, whether I happen to favor that or not.

Most people believe that September is a time where we could make the kinds of judgments necessary to see whether we are making the kind of progress that will justify continued effort in this new strategy, which I, of course, would remind my colleagues again, the last part of which was put in place a few weeks ago.

Of course, we did not have requirements for 60-vote majorities in the past few years because no one had the temerity to put an issue such as this on the very vital needs of the men and women in the military to do their job. So, of course, there was not a controversial necessity for a 60-vote majority.

I am happy to tell my friend from Mississippi that Senator Levin and I are moving forward with clearing amendments so we can, we hope, wrap up this bill by the end of this week. I hope that once this display that is going to take place tonight, all night, is concluded, and there is not sufficient votes in order to get the Levin-Reed amendment passed, at some point we can go back to the Defense authorization bill and get them the 3.5 percent pay raise they have earned; get them that MRAP equipment that they need; get this Wounded Warrior legislation through the Senate and to the desk of the President of the United States.

We never grow tired, nor should we, of praising the men and women in the military, particularly those who have sacrificed so much. All of us are embarrassed and ashamed at what happened at Walter Reed. Well, let's pass this Wounded Warrior legislation on this bill and get it done.

Who is holding up passage of the Defense authorization bill? Who is requiring us to stay up all night to discuss it? My friends, this is not necessary. We all know that General Petraeus was affirmed in his position by the Senate by an overwhelming vote. General Petraeus, at the time of his hearings, said we were going to have a new strategy--that strategy is called surge--and that it would require additional troops.

He also said at that time it would take time, that it would take a period of time before we would know whether it succeeded. Here we are, literally weeks after the last part of this new strategy is in place, the last detachment of an increase in troops, and we are telling them to set a date for withdrawal.

Now, you know, I share the frustration that my friend from Nevada stated about a failed policy. It was a failed policy. The Rumsfeld-Casey policy strategy was doomed to failure, and some of us recognized that and stated that at the time. We said we had to have a new strategy. It has to be the classic counter-insurgency strategy if we are going to succeed in Iraq.

Well, we got a new general. We got a new strategy. There are signs of success. There are clearly some signs of progress, and those are readily apparent. Now, is the Maliki Government acting in the way we want them to? No, they are not. Is it disappointing that they are not? Absolutely, it is disappointing.

But as far as Anbar Province is concerned, as far as some parts of Baghdad are concerned, yes, there is some progress which has been purchased at great and tragic cost, the sacrifice of young American's lives.

I would like to again assure my friend of many years, from Nevada, I understand the frustration that he shows is shared by many Americans. Our failure and our employment of a failed strategy for more than 3 years is well articulated. But I also would plead with my colleagues to at least know that we are not going to stop this now. We are not going stop it now. Even if the majority leader got the 60 votes and got this included in the bill in some way, the President of the United States would veto it. We do not want that to happen. We do not want that to happen.

We know that in September, whether I happen to like it or not--I would like to personally give it more time than September--we know that in September this whole issue is going to come to a head. Here we are in the middle of July. Can't we sit down and work out the amendments in a way that Senator Levin and I and Senator Warner and previous chairmen and ranking members have for the last 20 years, get this bill done, get it out and get it to the President's desk? Then we go into recess. We come back in September. I think that that is not an unreasonable path to follow.

So, my friends, we will continue to debate this issue all night tonight. I understand that. Hopefully, when the majority sees that, the leader sees there is not the votes, maybe we could then get down to the nuts and bolts of the Defense authorization bill of which at last count there are over 100 amendments pending that Members have on both sides of the aisle, they want to be considered and voted on.

I fear--I fear--that the majority leader, because of a lack of time, may feel it necessary to pull the bill from the floor. I think that would not be in any way helpful to our Nation's national security interests.

My friends, if we could lower the rhetoric around here a bit, let us sit down and talk about the best way to proceed, recognizing that September will be a very important point, and pass this authorization bill and not for the first time in 45 years have us not do what we need to do for our Nation's security and the men and women who are serving.

I yield the floor.


Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, I was just given information by my staff. I ask unanimous consent that it be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

Disposition of Measures Undergoing Rollcall Votes in the Senate, 109th Congress



Mr. McCAIN. Passed after a cloture vote and/or other 60-vote requirement in 2005, seven; passed after a cloture vote and/or a 60-vote requirement in 2006, 10; defeated by cloture or 60-vote requirement, also in 2006, 10.

It is clear that when the Senator from Illinois was in the minority, they used the 60-vote provision as well, and that is their right to do so. I don't in any way object to their having done that. I do object strenuously to somehow conveying the impression that this is a ``filibuster'' because we require 60 votes, that this is some Earth-shattering, precedent-shattering procedure. In fact, it is not. In fact, the Senator from Illinois knows very well that 60 votes is often required, whether it be a budget point of order or whether a cloture vote, and it has been used quite often by the minority as a tool to assert their rights as the minority. I understand that.

The Senator from Illinois talks about the bill that this has to be on. This is either the eighth or ninth time we have brought up Iraq. He didn't need the authorization bill to do it then. It is the right of the majority to bring up whatever they want, whenever they want. I can assure my colleagues, the Defense authorization bill will probably not be on the floor in September, and one thing I am pretty confident of is that we will be taking up the issue of Iraq in September. So to somehow say that this is appropriate, it is not appropriate because it is controversial, and we know it will not be passed with a provision that requires what the Senator from Illinois wants on it. It will never become law because the President will veto it in the unlikely--in fact, highly unlikely--situation where this bill was passed by both Houses of Congress.

What we are doing--have no doubt about it--is keeping the 3.5-percent pay raise from going into law. We are keeping the wounded warrior legislation from being enacted by both Houses and us acting as quickly as possible. The Senator from Illinois, I believe, and all other Senators voted on behalf of the nomination of General Petraeus in February, knowing full well what General Petraeus's strategy was. That was very well articulated. So now we find ourselves some months later saying: Well, we have to end it.

The distinguished majority leader, who is no longer on the floor, declared the war lost. I was astonished. Because if we lost the war, then somebody won. Does that mean that al-Qaida has won the war? I don't think the 160,000 young men and women who are serving in Iraq, whom I visited about a week ago, think the war is lost. I don't think the majority of Americans do either. Are they frustrated by what has happened here? Of course, they are frustrated. They want to bring it to an end. But it is the obligation of people such as me to point out what happens when we withdraw in 120 days.

Literally, in the view of every expert on national security, we will pay a much heavier price in the long run. Chaos, genocide will ensue. Quite often I hear from the other side: What is plan B, if the surge doesn't work?

What is plan B if the withdrawal results in chaos and genocide in the region? According to most experts--including Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, General Zinni according to most people who have spent their lives on national security issues, it will be chaos and genocide. What is plan B there?

I hope after the show is over tomorrow morning sometime--and it is clear to all that we will not set a 120-day withdrawal date from Iraq on this legislation--we will then be able to sit down and move forward on the bill so that we can get it passed into law. That is what we should be doing. To somehow think that we have not required, as the majority leader on many occasions required, 60 votes for passage of an amendment or legislation, of course, flies in the face of the clear record which I have just asked to be printed in the Congressional Record.

America is now at a crossroads. America is now at a point where, according to Natan Sharansky:

A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could lead to a bloodbath .....

From Anthony Zinni, who was opposed to us going into Iraq:

..... reality is that we simply cannot pull out [of Iraq], as much as we may want to. The consequences of a destabilized and chaotic Iraq, sitting in a critical region of the world, could have catastrophic implications ..... there is no short-term solution.

We have a system of government where the military is subordinate to the civilian leadership, and it should be. It is the most appropriate way. But to completely ignore, as apparently my friend from Illinois is, the leaders whom we have appointed to fight over there and do the dying and carry out the leadership responsibilities, to completely ignore their advice and counsel, they are on the ground. They know what is going on.

General Lynch, 3rd ID commander, says:

[pulling out before the mission was accomplished] would be a mess.

By the way, these will be the guys who will be required to clean up the mess, if we pass this resolution and we have a mess.

Continuing from General Lynch:

..... you'd find the enemy regaining ground, reestablishing sanctuaries, building more IEDs ..... and the violence would escalate.

I have already quoted before from Henry Kissinger.

General Lynch:

[our soldiers] want to fight terrorists here, so they don't have to fight terrorists back home ..... I now have the forces I need to conduct that mission.

General Lynch, the 3rd ID commander, says he has the troops and the wherewithal and the success to get the job done.

The Senator from Illinois wants to say, no, you have to come home in 120 days. I don't think that is right. I don't think General Lynch is reading any polls. I think General Lynch and General Petraeus are fighting an enemy that, according to them, they will be fighting here if we have a precipitous withdrawal.

General Lynch:

..... surge forces are giving us the capability we have now to take the fight to the enemy ..... the enemy only responds to force, and we now have that force.

That is the force that the Senator from Illinois wants to withdraw within 120 days.

We can conduct detailed kinetic strikes, we can do cordon and searches, and we can deny the enemy sanctuaries ..... If those surge forces go away that capability goes away, and the Iraqi security forces aren't ready yet to do that [mission].

Brent Scowcroft, who opposed our entry into the Iraq conflict:

[reduction of American presence in Iraq] should follow success in our efforts, not the calendar or the performance of others.

I hope that sometime my friends who were involved in this debate will listen to the people we have delegated to lead the best Armed Forces in the history of mankind who are doing one of the most difficult jobs in history.

I yield the floor.


Mr. McCAIN. The Senator from Illinois--and this is growing a little wearisome, it really is. The fact is, 60 votes have been invoked by the minority time after time after time, whether it be a district judge or an appellate court judge, or most any other issue that is controversial. The Senator from Illinois knows that, and that is why it is very disappointing to see him using this kind of rhetoric when he is willing to have 60 votes be required for some judge but somehow feels--which they did invoke when they were in the minority--and yet feels that it is not appropriate to have 60 votes on an issue of this importance.

The Senator from Illinois talks about beginning the withdrawal in 120 days, beginning the withdrawal in 120 days. The day that is signed into law would be the day--would be the day, in the view of every military expert, that al-Qaida would sit back and wait until we left.

The Senator from Illinois continues to call it a civil war. There is sectarian violence. There is very little doubt in the minds--of course, perhaps the Senator from Illinois and others know more than literally every expert I know. It has become, in the words of General Petraeus, a center for al-Qaida and a central front in the war on terror, according to our leading generals.

Now, I resent a little bit this comment by the Senator from Illinois about he has heard the generals before. I heard the generals before, and I disagreed with the generals, and that is our right to do. But to denigrate their opinion I don't think is appropriate to people who spend their lives in the service of the military, defending this Nation. General Petraeus, it is my understanding, has been wounded three times in different wars fighting for this Nation. I think he deserves respect rather than being dismissed by saying: Well, I have heard the generals say that before. We should pay attention to the generals. We should have paid attention to the generals at other times in our history, including those who disagreed with the former Secretary of Defense, Secretary Rumsfeld.

Again, I repeat, since we seem to be going in a certain circularity, conditions in Iraq today are terrible, but they become way worse as the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, a career foreign service officer, recently told the New York Times. I am quoting from the Washington Post editorial of just a few days ago:

The generals who have devised--

The generals whom the Senator from Illinois derides--

The generals who have devised a new strategy believe they are making fitful progress in calming Baghdad, training the Iraqi Army, and encouraging anti-al-Qaida coalitions. Before Congress begins managing rotation schedules and ordering withdrawals, it should at least give those generals the months they ask for to see whether their strategy can offer some new hope.

Why do you think the Washington Post and literally most every national security expert feels that this ought to be given an opportunity, remembering that the last part of it has just been put in place a short time ago? Because the consequences of failure, as I have just quoted from many military experts, are a catastrophe.

General Lynch says:

What the Iraqis are worried about is our leaving. And our answer is: We are staying, because my order from the Corps Commander is that we don't leave the battle space until we can hand over to the Iraqi security forces. Everybody wants things to happen overnight, and that is not going to happen.

So when the amendment of the Senator from Illinois and the Senator from Rhode Island and the Senator from Michigan is passed, then the word is spread and General Lynch can no longer say to the Iraqis we are staying, because we will be leaving.

General Odierno says:

My assessment right now is, I need more time to understand how the current offensive targeting al-Qaida and Iraq terrorists is working and how it could lead to political progress in the months ahead.

Odierno said:

I am seeing some progress now here in Iraq. We have really just started what the Iraqis term ``liberating'' them from al-Qaida. What I've got to determine is what do I need in order to continue that progress so that the political peace can take hold and Iraqi sources can hold this for the long term.

I want to point out to my colleagues that I am not guaranteeing success. I wish it had gone better. I think there are areas, particularly as far as the government is concerned, where dramatic improvement has to take place. But I do know the consequences of failure, and that view of setting a date for withdrawal is a clear recipe for a much larger conflict with much greater involvement in the region over time.

So when the Senator from Illinois and my friends on the other side of the aisle talk about how this won't be withdrawal if this is passed, I say: My friends, this is withdrawal. This is the message to those people who have to remain in the neighborhood: We are leaving and you are going to have to make adjustments to the neighborhood and the new big guys on the block.

Again, I wish we could take up this issue in September. I wish we could pass the necessary legislation to care for the men and women who are wounded. I wish we could pass the necessary legislation in order to take care of the needs of the men and women in the military. If we pass this bill this week--I tell my colleagues we are going to be going into the August recess. We will be coming back in September with probably a very contentious conference with the House. The chances right now of us getting final passage and the President's signature on this bill by the first of October is not good. So the sooner we get this bill off the floor and to the President, the better off we are going to be.

I certainly hope we will take into consideration the great needs that are existing in the military today.

I yield the floor.


Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, yesterday a man whom I had the opportunity of meeting and knowing a little bit, British Army Lieutenant General Jim Lamb--General Lamb is the Deputy Commander of Multinational Forces Iraq and senior British military representative in Iraq--was asked by Jamie McIntyre of CNN about how ``the growing sentiment in our Congress to bring U.S. troops home sooner'' affected the mood of his troops deployed in Iraq, meaning the British troops. Lieutenant General Lamb responded that those troops find it ``a touch difficult.'' I think that is a very interesting phrase, ``a touch difficult,'' because while it is so clear to them that we are making progress, it is not reflected by those who are not in the fight but are sitting back and making judgment upon what they, the troops, can see with absolute clarity.

Lieutenant General Lamb noted that those making such judgments and not taking note of the progress ``are not going out every day in a humvee.'' Moreover, he further noted that the progress the troops see is seldom reported. They see provincial counselors, they see water going to people who didn't have it before, they see electricity coming online, they see stability to the networks. They see all this stuff that no one portrays.

I say to my friend from Michigan and the Senator from Illinois and others, I hope they pay a little attention to General Lamb's statement or reject it out of hand, of course, as apparently is being done.

I have to repeat, General Lamb responded that his troops find it ``a touch difficult.'' While it is so clear to them we are making progress, it is not reflected by those who are not in the fight but are sitting back and making judgment upon what they, the troops, can see with absolute clarity.

I don't think I have to editorialize anymore on General Lamb's, I think, totally accurate statements.

The New York Post reported on July 10 an interview with General Petraeus. He is asked by Ralph Peters, a person for whom I have enormous respect:

The current military operations in Iraq appear comprehensive and tenacious, part of a long-term, integrated plan. What can we realistically expect to achieve?

Petraeus: Our primary goal is to work with our Iraqi counterparts to improve security for the Iraqi people. This is intended to give the Iraqi leaders the time to resolve the tough political issues they face and to pursue internal reconciliation.

He goes on to say:

As to reasonable expectations, we can expect a reduction in sectarian deaths and the gradual spread of Iraqi government authority. The level of sectarian deaths in Baghdad in June was the lowest in about a year. Nevertheless, the extremists still have been able to carry out car bomb and other attacks.

Wherever we operate, we try to reconnect Iraqi ministries and local governments to meet the needs of the people. Finally, we provide opportunities for Iraqis to use their local knowledge to help root out al Qaeda. Successful operations of this nature have played out in recent months in Ramadi, Hit and Baquba. In each case, Iraqis turned against al Qaeda and sided with the Coalition.


Now that the surge is fully in place, what's your sense of the positives and negatives thus far? If you could have more of any one item, what would it be? Troops? Time? Iraqi unity?

General Petraeus's answer:

I can think of few commanders in history who wouldn't have wanted more troops, more time or more unity among their partners; however, if I could only have one at this point in Iraq, it would be more time.

I repeat, General Petraeus said:

..... if I could only have one at this point in Iraq, it would be more time. This is an exceedingly tough endeavor that faces countless challenges.

So what does the Levin-Reed amendment do? Deny General Petraeus exactly that. As Senator Levin points out in his statement, the announced withdrawal would force the Iraqi Government to act and, therefore, then we would see progress. What if, I say to my colleagues who support this amendment, what if instead the situation deteriorates into a chaotic situation, then what do we do? Then what do we do if the situation gets worse? Do we come back in? Do we sit on the sidelines and watch another genocide? What if, I say to my colleague who often asks me what is plan B, the surge doesn't work? What is plan B if the withdrawal doesn't work?

I don't think that most people would believe that an international mediator is exactly a solution that is viable.

I wish to talk a minute about the region. Finally, after our stunning military victory and shock and awe and the invasion side of the conflict was over, America was in pretty good shape in the region. The Syrians were trying to be cooperative. There were efforts on the part of the Iranians to join with us in efforts to bring about an end to terrorism in the region. Then we began to fail, and that failure has, obviously, been chronicled in many books. I recommend to my colleagues the book ``Fiasco'' or ``Cobra II'' or a number of other books that have been written that describe the failed Rumsfeld strategy. We paid a very heavy price for it. All of us know that. It has been the sacrifice of our most precious asset.

What has happened since? We find the Syrians continuing to intervene in northern Lebanon. We find the Syrians, according to many experts, transporting suicide bombers through the airport in Damascus into Iraq. We find the Iranians not only orchestrating attacks and providing intelligence and even money and funding, in some cases, but there is clear and compelling evidence that the IEDs, the most lethal IEDs are exported from Iran into Iraq, those that have the lethality even of going through the armor of a tank. We find the Iranians more aggressive in the region with Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas. The Syrians continue to try to unsettle the Government of Lebanon, and the Government of Lebanon is having great difficulties.

There is a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. There has been no effort whatsoever to achieve the goals set forth in that U.N. Security Council resolution. In fact, there is strong evidence that Hezbollah in southern Lebanon is being resupplied with the rockets they expended in their latest attack on Israel which provoked an attack on Israel.

We find the Saudis becoming more and more uneasy. We once had a report--that fortunately turned out to be false--that the Turks had crossed over into the Kurdish areas because of Kurdish insurgents who are operating out of the Turkish areas, at least according to the Turks. So we have seen, because of our failure in Iraq, more strife, more conflict, and more threats to the State of Israel.

Meanwhile, the Iranians continue on the path to develop nuclear weapons. A great fear of many of us is not a nuclear weapon aimed at Israel from Iran. One of our great fears is a nuclear weapon passed to a terrorist organization by the Iranian Government, which has stated through its President and its policies their dedication to the extinction of the State of Israel. I could argue that the State of Israel is probably in more jeopardy from a national security standpoint than at any time in its history, since that very young nation achieved its independence.

So what happens in the region when we adopt the Levin-Reed resolution, and the signal is sent throughout the region ``don't worry, the Americans are leaving.'' I think the consequences are fairly obvious. So we are not just talking about Iraq, as serious and consequential as that situation is. We are talking about the region. It is hard for me to believe the Sunnis would not intervene to protect Sunnis if there is a bloodletting in Baghdad, where 2 million Sunni reside and 4 million Shia. But according to the premise of the Levin-Reed amendment, this will force the Iraqi Government to act and to control their own destiny.

My question is: What do we do if they can't? What do we do if they can't?

Some of my colleagues have talked about this ``gradual withdrawal.'' A gradual withdrawal. I think most military experts would tell you that the most difficult operation in military tactics and strategy is a ``gradual withdrawal.'' It is fraught with difficulty. When an army is defeated, and an army tries to come home, it is the most difficult of all military operations.

So I think that as we discuss this specific amendment and the issue of whether we stay or go in Iraq, whether we allow the new strategy of General Petraeus and the Joint Chiefs of Staff a chance to succeed, which calls for a surge in Iraq, while we debate this, I don't think we should ignore the larger implications for the region. I believe, and I cannot absolutely predict the future, but a failure in Iraq, according to most experts, would lead to a chaotic and unsettled situation in the region.

So I would at least ask for my colleagues' consideration of an article by Stephen Biddle in the Washington Post on July 11, entitled ``Iraq: Go Deep or Get Out.'' I think perhaps we ought to start looking at this situation from that respect. Mr. Biddle, in his piece, says:

The result has been a search for some kind of politically moderate ``Plan B'' that would split the difference between surge and withdrawal.

I think that adequately describes the Reed-Levin amendment.

The problem is that these politics do not fit the military reality of Iraq. Many would like to reduce the U.S. commitment to something like half of today's troop presence there. But it is much harder to find a mission for the remaining 60,000 to 80,000 soldiers that makes any sense militarily.

Perhaps the most popular centrist option today is drawn from the Baker-Hamilton commission recommendations of last December. This would withdraw U.S. combat brigades, shift the American mission from one of training and supporting the Iraqi security forces, and cut total U.S. troop levels in the country by about half. This idea is at the heart of the proposed legislative effort that Domenici threw his support behind last week, and support is growing on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

The politics make sense, but the compromise leaves us with an untenable military mission. Without a major U.S. combat effort to keep the violence down, the American training effort would face challenges even bigger than those our troops are confronting today. An ineffective training effort would leave tens of thousands of American trainers, advisers, and supporting troops exposed to that violence in the meantime. The net result is likely to be continued U.S. casualties with little positive effect on Iraq's ongoing civil war.

It is unrealistic to expect that we can pull back to some safe yet productive mission of training but not fighting--this would be neither safe nor productive.

So, Madam President, I think we ought to look at what we are discussing here not only from the standpoint of Iraq but the implications for our presence in the region. And I will say something that is very seldom stated on the floor of the Senate: as long as we are dependent on oil in the region, our greater national security interests are at stake in what happens with the outcome of Iraq. The possibility of success in Iraq, of seeing the world's third largest oil reserves being modernized and used, and those revenues used for the betterment of the American people, also presents a goal that I think is worth striving for.

I would like to again return to the fact that I am deeply disappointed in the Maliki government. Their failure to act unhinges the very important aspect of the military, political, social, and economic aspects of any successful counter-insurgency operation. But I also believe that nothing would embolden the Iranians more, nothing would embolden the Syrians more, nothing would frighten the Jordanians and the Saudis more, not to mention the Egyptians, than the passage of legislation which would require the withdrawal of the United States.

So I urge my colleagues not only to look at how this legislation and this debate affects America vis-a-vis Iraq but affects our western and national interests and values in the entire Middle East.

Madam President, I note the patience of my friend from Rhode Island, who is a thoughtful and valued member of the Armed Services Committee whose friendship I appreciate a great deal.

I yield the floor.


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