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Violence in the Middle East

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown

Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, violence is continuing to erupt in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it remains true that for every action there is a reaction. So when this administration decided to push its ally, President Mubarak, out of leadership in Egypt, it was assisting in creating instability around our other ally, Israel. And that instability continues to grow.

One of the things that was helpful from Egypt while President Mubarak was in charge, at least there were some efforts to restrict the transfer of rockets into the Gaza Strip. So there were some tunnels that would be found. The tunnels had to be kept small, so they were able to get smaller rockets into Gaza. But now that there is a new regime, apparently the bigger rockets are getting into Gaza, and they pose more and more of a threat as they continue to be fired into Israel.

The action is not only the fall of an ally, President Mubarak, but the assistance in bringing to power in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood. They want to see Israel gone, and they would also not mind seeing the United States gone.

It's important when formulating foreign policy that the United States, particularly the Obama administration, decide are we going to be assisted with our own personal security here in the United States by the actions that we take, or are the reactions that are going to be caused by our actions actually going to cause greater threats to our closest allies and to ourselves. And, unfortunately, that's what we're seeing. In fact, I saw an article in May of 2010 which indicated that this administration, the Obama administration, sided with Israel's enemies in demanding that Israel disclose any nuclear weapons. We'd never sided with Israel's enemies in trying to push Israel into doing something against its own interests. When you're a very small country surrounded by countries that want to see you go away, it is important that they not know all of your defenses.

Going back in the Old Testament, you find history, King Hezekiah showing all of their treasure and all of their defenses. All of their defenses they had in their armory, he showed them to the leaders of Babylon. As a result, ultimately that kingdom was lost to the Babylonians.

You don't show other nations, even people you think are friends at the moment; they may turn into enemies. It is important that your enemies, and even your friends, not know all of your defenses. And yet we sided with Israel's enemies, or at least this administration did.

The result we saw within 2-3 days, the flotilla head from Turkey to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip. It was a legitimate, lawful blockade that was trying to keep rockets out of Gaza that would inflict death and terror upon Israel. A legitimate blockade. The only things being kept out were weapons, rockets, things that would kill the Israelis and terrorize our ally. But that's what happens. You have challenges to a nation when that nation's enemies see their strongest ally pull away and siding with that nation's enemies.

That's why it was so important, and I began pushing at that time, to have Prime Minister Netanyahu invited to speak here in this Chamber. And a year later, to his great credit, Speaker Boehner, at the urging of many of us, invited Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he gave the best speech I've heard here in Congress. It helps when a nation's enemy sees their strongest ally siding with them.

On the other hand, when a nation's enemies see the strong ally, in this case the United States, turning on an ally, as this administration had with President Mubarak, and helping people who want to see Israel gone from the map take power, it encourages Israel's enemies.

This administration also had relations with Qadhafi, who had opened up--he had blood on his hands from prior years, not a good man, but he had opened up his country, abandoned any nuclear weapons pursuit, and become an ally. I have seen individual family members of Muammar Qadhafi here in Washington to meet with administration officials. And then, lo and behold, a year and a half or so ago, this administration sides with the enemies. And at the time we knew al Qaeda was contained within the revolt, and we sided with the al Qaeda-backed revolt to drive out Qadhafi. That appears to have inspired the violence in Tunisia.

And so we have seen Israel's enemies and our own enemies actually grow in strength--Tunisia, Libya, Egypt--coming on to surround Israel, and any threat to Western values that are found in Israel is a threat to our own existence. And it's important that someone in this administration make repeated note of that because the result here recently has been further violence to our friend and ally, Israel.

So we have this report, November 15, 2012, three people were killed as rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel escalating violence. They died when a four-story building in the town of Kiryat Malachi was hit. There had been about 200 rockets fired into Israel. Israel's Iron Dome was able to intercept many of them, but couldn't possibly intercept as many as 200.

``Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal vowed to continue the `resistance' against Israel,'' Reuters news agency reported.

This ``resistance'' is just another word for ``violence.'' They're inflicting violence on Israel and then turning around and blaming Israel for defending itself and trying to continue to grow world opinion against the tiny nation of Israel when it's not Israel that is demanding the total annihilation of its enemies in surrounding countries. They just want to live in peaceful coexistence. But this administration has helped its enemies take over the countries surrounding it.

And now we're aware of enemies coming into Jordan, beginning to incite a potential revolt there against another ally who must wonder is this administration going to turn on him next.

King Abdullah has not been someone with whom we've agreed on all things, but he has kept a relatively very peaceful border with Israel. So necessarily he would wonder, Because I've kept the peace with Israel on their border, am I going to be targeted next? And the answer needs to come very loudly and very clearly--and it doesn't seem to be much of a muffle at all--that we support those who will prevent violence against Israel, against their Western values, against their desire to just live in peace and be left alone. And yet we've helped their enemies build violence and potential for more violence around it.

This story from Sky News reported that the rockets hit near Tel Aviv deeper into Israel. Palestinian militants target Israel with nearly 150 rockets, striking the outskirts of Tel Aviv as Israel continues airstrikes.

And there has been a problem: Since this administration helped create the environment in north Africa and in the Middle East where those who want to see Israel destroyed could take power, more violence has occurred, not less; more people's lives are in danger, not less. There's less freedom of worship, not more. The things that we believe in--freedom of worship of all people or no worship if people choose not to worship--these kinds of things should be kept inviolate.

And yet we've seen, as this Nation took over Afghanistan, more Americans have died in about half the time under Commander in Chief Obama as died during the 7 years and 3 months under President Bush in Afghanistan, American military. Over 70 percent of those killed in Afghanistan have been under Commander Obama in about half the time. We've seen violence escalating against Americans in Afghanistan. We've seen the last Christian church, public Christian church pull out of Afghanistan.

This administration should be encouraging freedom of worship, encouraging the liberation of women, of children. And yet for all its help, it's created environments in Libya, in Egypt, in Afghanistan, in Iraq where there is more and more violence, more and more oppression against women, against children, against Christians, against Jews, against anyone who wants to worship other than in a radical Islamist way.

Sometimes we wonder who's in charge in this administration because somebody's got to figure it out. So I was glad to hear President Obama say yesterday, Don't be accusing Ambassador Rice of going out and lying.

And we know that something is not a lie unless somebody knows that it's not true when they say it. The President apparently indicated that she was given the information that was untrue, to go out and spread those untruths. And if she didn't know that the statements she was told by the White House to go out and tell were not truths, then she was not lying. And she should be given credit for not lying if she didn't know those untruths she was telling were not true.

But then it raises more and more questions. You know, who is in charge there?

Woodward's book raises the issue of the President coming to meetings over crises and not even knowing who's going to be coming to brief him on things; whereas, a strong leader would come in and, I want to hear from this person, this person, this person.

Who's making the decisions? Who does know what's true and not true in this administration? Who can we depend on at 3 in the morning when we have public servants who have been sent into harm's way to do this administration's bidding, who is going to answer that phone and say, The people that we ordered into harm's way on our behalf are in trouble? Right now, get them all the help we can give them. Who's going to answer that call? Why does it take 8 hours to get the people ordered into harm's way some help? We're stronger than that. We've got vehicles, planes, things that can get there faster.

So why are people trying to cover up who makes those decisions? Who decides not to help the people we have in harm's way? And if we don't figure that out, how can we expect anybody to ever come forward and sign up to put their lives on the line for their country?

We have the greatest military in the history of this country. The men and women who have served this country throughout our history have been extraordinary, but never with the power and the ability of the military that we have now. It's extraordinary.

But when this administration creates rules of engagement that even go one step worse than telling our people, When you're fired on, you can defend yourself, but if you're not fired on and somebody raises a weapon and they're going to shoot at you, they look like they're going to shoot at you, you have got to wait to make sure they're going to shoot at you before you shoot back, that's the kind of impression our military has gotten in the field in the past.

But as I've talked to military members in Afghanistan, it's their impression that the rules of engagement are such that now when they're fired at, they can't fire back if they think there might be a civilian somewhere that might get hit, because if they do and they hit a civilian, even defending themselves in what in America would be self-defense, sent into harm's way might get them sent to prison when they get home. So they are tasked with an unenviable position of deciding, Do I want to defend myself against death and risk going to prison when I get home, being jailed by the country that I'm trying to defend, to serve?

We've got to get some answers of who's making the decisions that are getting our military killed, that have gotten an Ambassador killed, that got two former SEALs killed. We have got to get some answers. Who's covering this stuff up? Somebody is. We can't get the story straight.

General Petraeus is supposed to appear tomorrow.

We need an independent prosecutor to do an investigation, not with the intention, as apparently Fitzgerald had, of ``getting somebody,'' so that he goes into the investigation into whether or not Valerie Plame was outed and he finds out the answer and decides to do what he can to get somebody inside the Bush administration, even though he knew that Scooter Libby was not responsible and was set up. He should have been truthful. You should always be truthful. But the prosecutor was not honorable in the way that that was pursued. If he knew the answer as to who had outed Valerie Plame, that it was not Scooter Libby, it was not Karl Rove, he should have been honorable enough to own up to that instead of asking for more money and trying to set up other individuals.

So with those kinds of things going on, it's understandable how people would expect that having an independent counsel might not be a good idea. But when there are clearly conflicts of interest, when you have an FBI that is investigating information that involves the Director of the CIA, when you have an Attorney General that has information that needs to go immediately to the Commander in Chief, to the President of the country, we need to find out, did it go there, and if not why not. And, if so, what in the world is the President doing with this information because now he's saying they didn't get it until after the election. Why so long? Where are the problems here? Why are the stories different? Why are the stories that were told different from the evidence those people had in their hands when they told their stories? The answers need to be found, and there's clearly a conflict of interest.

We do not need to return to the days of an FBI Director who investigates, not to report to the Commander in Chief, but to gather information so that he can get it and use it or provide it to someone else who can use it to force people to do what they want.

So what happens when an FBI Director comes into office honorably, with the best of intentions, as it appears J. Edgar Hoover did, to battle organized crime that was such a blot on this country. When you're in power too long, as Stalin, who should have known, said, With power dizziness.

So there has to be accountability. It's what the Founders had in mind. Checks and balances. We've seen with the Supreme Court's decision in ObamaCare that they're going to allow unconstitutional laws to go forward. They're not going to be the ones to rein in violations of the Constitution that are contained in bad legislation: You guys in Congress need to figure that out. Our Chief Justice punted on that one.

So it's back to us. Members of Congress have the purse strings. And if the administration will not properly appoint a special prosecutor to investigate, not with the intent of putting someone in jail but to see if there is something that needs to be prosecuted, if they're not willing to do that, then we need to cut off funds to those areas that are refusing to do justice. Because an Injustice Department should not be funded, at least the parts of it that are doing injustice. There are parts that are serving nobly and well. Fund those parts.

We have the power of the purse to check and balance an administration running amok. So when an administration takes actions to make sure that people who are illegally voting have the chance to illegally vote, we need to look at what areas we are funding there. Because if there's a Justice Department that is assisting--complicit--in seeing that people not legally allowed to vote, vote, then we have the power of the purse strings to do something about it, and we should. And if the Senate fails to rein in injustice, they need to be exposed, those who stand in its way. Because that's the great thing about America. When Americans get the truth, they stand on the truth and stand for justice. They always have. But they've got to get the truth.

And sometimes these days it's hard to know what's true. When you have an administration sending out different stories, and then we find out that they knew all along that it was a violent, coordinated attack on our Ambassador, that the two former SEALs that were killed were not killed seeking cover, as this administration released that they were. You had one on the top of a building using a machine gun, fighting to the end to protect others. That's not a man seeking cover. That's a man giving cover to others. That's a man laying down his life for his country. And this administration did not serve him as he served it.

We need to get to the bottom of what's going on. Whatever it takes, lawfully, ethically, we need to get to the bottom of it. We need to require that if this administration is going to continue getting funding, it better start protecting those who are protecting it. And if that means that in order to protect those who are in harm's way, then let's fund those who are in harm's way protecting us and not fund the rest until they are committed to protecting those of us who are in harm's way. We can do that.

Social Security, despite the lies that were told by some in the last couple of years that, oh gee, if there's a shutdown, Social Security recipients, you're not going to get a dime. Garbage. Those are lies. And people need to know if and when those things start getting told, they are lies, whoever would tell them, because the law has been passed previously that if there is a government shutdown, Social Security recipients will get their Social Security checks. They will be coming. Because the money will continue to come in. Just because there has been a government shutdown in the past did not mean that people didn't have to send in their tax payments. They have to come. You commit a crime if you intentionally refuse to pay taxes.

So the money comes in. Social Security checks will go out. We've had bills in the past, and we'll have them as soon as we start a new Congress, that will ensure that those Americans who are standing in the gap, who are in harm's way for us, those men and women wearing uniforms, should never have to worry about whether or not their paycheck will be forthcoming; that regardless of what kind of games get played here in Washington, they're going to get paid. They ought to know that. We ought to pass that bill like we have with Social Security to make sure those in harm's way don't have to worry about that.

And then the message needs to be loud and clear that an administration that refuses, whether it's intentional or neglect, negligence, that fails to ensure the protection of those protecting us, you're not going to get funded until we get commitments to make sure it's done in the future. And when you obfuscate the truth and you keep us from finding out who made these decisions that got our people killed, what in the heck were they doing over there in the first place?

Our embassy's not in Benghazi. What was going on? Who gave the order for Ambassador Stevens to be there in harm's way? Until we can start finding out those answers, it's going to be impossible to make sure that we protect those who are protecting us in the future. And what kind of message does that send to our allies?

In Israel, a year ago, a minister told me that they routinely get visits from Chinese diplomats who say: Hey, have you figured out you can't trust the United States yet? Because we'll be your great ally. We'll be a lot better ally than the United States has been. All you've got to do is let us know when you figure it out. You can't trust the United States; they'll break their word, you can't count on them. When you find that out, let us know. We'll keep coming around because you'll find out at some time.

Listen, there never needs to be a time again ever when a United States ally is betrayed by the United States. When we make an agreement with an ally, with a friend, that agreement needs to be kept. People need to know that this country keeps its word. Even when it hurts, we keep our word. And that seems to be a problem lately.

You want to go back to when America began to grow economically and become a power economically? After the War of 1812 that dragged on for 2 years really destroyed so much, including the fire in this very building--this section was not here yet, but the central part of the Capitol, fires were set. The smaller Federal offices out here in what we now consider the Mall, they were burned. The White House was set on fire--even though the interior was completely destroyed, the exterior shell was left in place. But that also was true of much of the country, devastated. But there were loans that had been taken out by Americans from British banks before the War of 1812. Those in British banks might have suspected that as a result of our war with Great Britain, 1812 to 1814, that at the end of the war we would not pay our debts. But instead what happened, those American forefathers, foremothers, they agreed, look, we made a promise to pay back our loans to the banks in England, we're going to stand good for our word, despite the fact that their country destroyed so much of ours.

And it was after the world took note that Americans had such incredible honor, that even after a war with Great Britain they would stand behind their commitments to pay back their loans to the British banks, people said: Wow, this is a country we can do business with, and American economic power began to grow to where it is now the strongest economic power in the world.

Now, people are beginning to wonder: Should we end the dollar as an international currency because we're not sure you can trust the United States? It's time people quit wondering whether they can trust the United States. There's only one way that will happen, and that is when we have an administration--and this one's been reelected for 4 years, so it has to be this one--stops playing games, stops covering up truth, stops giving mixed signals, and is forthcoming: Here are our policies; we have made agreements; we stand by our agreements. King Abdullah, we may disagree with you on a bunch of things, but we have agreements, and we will keep our agreements. This administration needs to make those things clear.

When someone attacks an ally of ours with whom we have agreements, we stand by our agreements. That's the way you prevent wars. Because what we're seeing right now in Israel, with this enhanced and heightened violence that's beginning to occur, people have seen this administration pulling back from our commitments to Israel. That's the way it appears to Israel's enemies. So of course the rockets have gotten bigger that they've been able to smuggle in and construct there in Gaza. The rockets are flying farther into Israel--right now up to their capital at Tel-Aviv--because this administration has not stood firmly enough with our ally. We need to make that clear.

This Secretary of State should not be authorized by the President to tell Egypt, sure, the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be back in charge; sure, Israel is our ally; sure, you want to see Israel wiped off the map; but here's a billion and a half dollars. That's not the message that should be coming. The message that should be coming from this administration is: not one more dime until you start keeping your agreement to protect the border of Israel, not another dime. That ought to be the message. Because Israel is our ally. And if you, Egypt, are going to be our ally, you're going to have to protect our allies as well. That's not an entangling alliance; that's a country that stands by its agreements. Don't make agreements unless we intend to keep them. Yet we've seen this administration repeatedly throw our allies under the proverbial bus. It's got to stop. People have got to know in other countries they can trust our word.

And just like the West African told me when I was there 2 years ago, you've got to tell the people in Washington to quit getting weaker. We were so excited when you elected a black President, but we've seen America get weaker. You've got to tell people in Washington to quit letting your country get weaker, because if America grows weak, we have no chance of peace in this life. That was echoed by others, other West Africans.

It's time to stop growing weaker. It's time to stop breaking our word to our allies. It's time to make clear to Israel's enemies that Israel is our friend, you better back off or you're going to have us militarily to answer to.

Is it any surprise more rockets are flying at Israel? This administration wins 4 more years and the violence just gets greater against Israel, Israel then forced to defend itself when they just want to live in peace. They want the countries around them to stop demanding their obliteration from the map.

If the U.N. is going to persist in helping those who want to see a member of the United Nations wiped off the map, then the U.N. does not need to continue to have the United States as a member. That's the way it ought to be. It ought to be clear. We joined the U.N. The U.N. has a charter that will protect its member states. And if you're going to assist those who want to obliterate Israel, then we will no longer be a part of the United Nations because it's not united, it's anti-Semitic. It's not united, and we will not be part of an un-United Nations.

It's time to get serious because people are dying around the world, including our own Ambassador. It's time to quit covering for the truth. Let us get down to what the truth is. Let the chips fall where they may. Let us find out who did what wrong so we can correct it for the future. And I hope and pray there was no criminal activity--certainly there was negligence, but you don't know until we get a proper investigation.

An Attorney General cannot properly investigate himself. An Attorney General cannot properly investigate his boss. One department, the FBI, cannot properly investigate another agency unless that department's ultimate boss, the President, is aware and coordinates. And now that we know that did not happen--according to the President, he knew nothing. Like Sergeant Schultz from the old Hogan's Heroes, I know nothing, I know nothing, not until after the election. My administration kept me from knowing anything that was going on so I didn't make these decisions, somebody else made those decisions. I didn't know anything until after the election. They kept all this stuff from me, so I had plausible deniability. I didn't know of this stuff.

It's time somebody knew, but we're not going to get to the bottom of it until we have an independent investigation by someone with the power to do that properly. And if the executive branch will not do what the Constitution would require in a conflict of interest situation like this, then we need a select committee to do the investigation, get to the bottom of it, just as the Watergate committee did.

Let the chips fall where they may, because when people, in government and out of government, see that the government is actually interested in truth, then government gets the truth. People have more faith in the government, and we have a better country. And I hope and pray that day will come.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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