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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURTON of Indiana. I support the military 100 percent and I think we ought to give them all the equipment and spend the funds that are necessary to make sure they're prepared to fight a war anyplace. And I think we need to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda and make sure that the threats to America are eliminated, at least as much as is humanly possibly.

The reason I took 5 minutes to speak today is not because I don't support the military or the appropriation for the military, but because I was shaving the other day before I came into work and I heard the newsman talking about a young family and a young man that was in the military. I came out while I was shaving and I looked at the television. It was a beautiful family--young man and a woman and their child. And they announced that he had just been hit with an IED and lost both arms and both legs, and I was thinking what a tragedy for this young man and for his family and the horrible things they're going to have to endure throughout the rest of their lives.

And then I started thinking about all the technology we have. We have satellites that can pinpoint a pack of cigarettes on the ground, and we have drones that can fly over enemy territory and pick out a target and hit somebody with a Hellfire missile and blow them to smithereens. And somebody from a thousand miles away sitting at a computer with a television screen can direct that drone and that Hellfire missile. And I started wondering to myself: Why in the world don't we use more of those instead of sending young American men and women into harm's way day in and day out like we do? We have the technology to knock out anybody anyplace in the world that we want to.

So I would just like to ask this question of my colleagues: We have to have special forces. We have to go into certain spots and knock out bad guys. We've got to do that. But when we don't have to, when we know that the enemy is in a certain area, instead of sending our young men and women in there, why don't we send a drone over to a site that we've discovered from a satellite and blow the hell out of those people? Don't send our young men and women into that kind of a situation where they're going to lose their arms and their legs when we've spent all the money on this technology to stop the enemy. And that's my biggest concern. Why in the world don't we use that technology instead of young men and women going into harm's way when it's not necessary?

I understand war is important. I know we have to defeat the Taliban and those who would take away our freedoms. It's extremely important. And we should support the military every way we can, give them all the tools that are necessary. But let's use the tools that we have to stop the enemy as much as possible without putting young men and women in that situation. I don't want to turn on the television next week or next month and see more young men and women who have suffered this way. I've been out to Bethesda and Walter Reed and I've seen the damage that war does. And so if we're going to go to war--and we have to go to war, only when we have to. But if we do, let's use the technology we have and defeat the enemy and minimize the loss of life that our young men and women are experiencing.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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