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Pakistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I believe that this dangerous resolution is less about U.S. policy toward Pakistan than it is about Afghanistan and a back-door attempt to force U.S. withdrawal from that country. Because our success in Afghanistan is directly linked to our effort in Pakistan, withdraw from the latter, and you may bring defeat in both.

In response to the September 11 attacks, Congress authorized the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against the perpetrators of those attacks, including against those who harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the United States.

But al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan fit that description precisely. Our wonderful U.S. personnel in Afghanistan are there to train and support Pakistani military and security forces to enable them to battle their own insurgencies, including al Qaeda and other threats.

Much of this training is not combat related, but instead is focused on helping Pakistan undertake civil, military operations aimed at establishing stable and effective civilian authority in areas that are now off limits and serve as safe havens for extremist groups.

Far from withdrawing, we must work with Pakistan to do more against the militant networks in that country that use it and neighboring Afghanistan as a launching pad from which to direct attacks against us and our allies. The adoption of this resolution would undo our efforts to accomplish these goals and build trust and credibility with Pakistani leaders and the Pakistani people that will help provide for long-term stability and advance our long-term interests.

Mr. Speaker, removing our personnel from Pakistan would present al Qaeda with a gift that it desperately needs and convince it and the world that it is winning the fight, thereby inevitably enhancing its prestige, confidence, ambitions, resources, and recruits. If this resolution were adopted, it would make it more difficult, and perhaps impossible, for General Petraeus to effectively implement the strategy that he is pursuing in Afghanistan and that is being carried out by our brave men and women serving there.

Some will focus on the information reportedly contained in the many thousands of classified U.S. documents related to the conflict against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that is, on a reckless and irresponsible act which compromises U.S. security as justification for this resolution.

Some of those documents reflect the legacy of mistrust between the United States and Pakistan as well as between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a legacy which we are even now trying to overcome through enhanced dialogue.

I am gravely concerned that those leaked documents may have put in jeopardy coalition troops and our military missions. As National Security Adviser General James Jones has warned, the leaks could ``put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk and threaten our national security.''

But we would be compounding the risk and further undermining our efforts against radical Islamic militants in Pakistan and in Afghanistan if this Congress would take this knee-jerk approach to our national security and military strategy by adopting this resolution before us.

Instead, we must remain focused on our mission, on success, on prevailing against the global jihadist network. These Islamist radicals in Pakistan and Afghanistan, who seek to destabilize our allies and attack our Nation and our interest, are driven and are focused on carrying out their deadly mission.

We must, in turn, demonstrate that we possess the strength of character, the commitment, the wherewithal to counter al Qaeda, the Taliban and other enemies at every turn. We must not be looking at any opportunity or excuse to seek an immediate withdrawal from the epicenter of violent extremism, as Pakistan and Afghanistan have been described.

I strongly urge my colleagues to vote against this dangerous measure, and I reserve the balance of my time.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I yield myself the balance of my time.

We all know that the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is one of the most complex and critically important in the world. While significant challenges remain, the U.S. and Pakistan have deepened mutual cooperation against insurgent groups. Counterterrorism cooperation has led to significant losses to al Qaeda's relationship and leadership within Pakistan, with more than half of al Qaeda's senior leaders being killed or captured.

The Pakistani military has undertaken offensives in Swat and South Waziristan, putting sustained pressure on violent militant groups. The U.S. and Pakistan have also commenced a strategic dialogue, which has expanded cooperation on a wide range of critical issues.

Even with these positive trends, the U.S. must continue to press the Pakistani Government, particularly its military and intelligence services, to continue their strategic shift against extremists and stay on the offensive.

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. needs to maintain steadiness in purpose in Pakistan, and I therefore urge the defeat of this dangerous resolution.


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