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Location: Washington, DC

``TECHNICALITIES'' -- (House of Representatives - December 11, 2007)


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to my colleagues' remarks from last week that ``technically, the troops are funded right now,'' as if the bottom line on the budget report is sufficient for some in this chamber to ensure that our war fighters have all the resources that they need.

Well, war is a serious business, Mr. Speaker, and we are indeed a Nation at war. Our men and women in harm's way don't have time for our political games or ``technicalities.'' Clever word play isn't going to turn DOD ink from red to black. There is nothing ``technical'' about the risk our war fighters face every day. They are not fighting an enemy that ``technically'' wants to do us harm. Instead, they are fighting a lethal terrorist network actually bent on spreading real Islamist totalitarianism in Iraq and across the globe.

Mr. Speaker, the success of the surge strategy in Iraq is not making things ``technically'' better. We are seeing actual results and real improvement on the ground. Even the most liberal newspapers admit that the improvement is real. IED attacks are not ``technically'' down; they are actually fewer in number, fewer bombs being placed to attack our troops and Iraqi allies. Casualties rates are not ``technically'' down. We are actually losing fewer Americans as the security conditions improve.

These improving conditions are not ``technically'' creating reconciliation. Iraqis across the country are really beginning to bridge age-old divides as they unite to secure their future. By playing political games with vital war funding, we are not ``technically'' sending a message to our war fighters in harm's way, we are actually putting all of the progress that they have made in very real jeopardy. Mr. Speaker, is that a message we choose to send?

My own constituents, civilian and soldiers alike, work at Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne. This holiday season, two brigades of the 101st are serving in Afghanistan and two more in Iraq. They are supported by the men and women at Fort Campbell, and their families are embraced by the citizens of Clarksville and Montgomery County, Tennessee.

This Christmas, if we don't actually provide DOD the funding they need, my constituents will begin to get furlough letters in the mail. There is nothing ``technical'' about being laid off. There is nothing ``technical'' about being told that in 60 days you won't get a paycheck. It is very real.

Before this Chamber actually adjourns so that we can spend happy and comfortable holidays with our families, I would ask my colleagues to please remember these constituents of Clarksville, Tennessee, who are actually in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are actually worried about being laid off next year.

I urge my colleagues not to return home until we actually give the troops the very real funding that they need. Our men and women are not ``technicalities,'' they are indeed our sons, our daughters, our neighbors, our constituents. They are the bravest among us. They need our support and they deserve a Congress who will honor their service and who will do our job.

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