Former Senate Leader, JCS Chairman join veterans, military in backing CWC
Flanked by the Vice President and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, and this nation’s top military leaders and veterans, President Clinton today called for Senate support of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Treaty supporters who attended the event included members of many of the 13 veterans organizations endorsing the treaty; several of the former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs from the past 20 years, all of whom support the treaty; and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft.
Vice President Al Gore:
“...tomorrow the United States Senate will consider the ratification of what surely will be looked at by future generations as perhaps one of the most important treaties of our age, or any age, the Chemical Weapons Convention.... Our U.S. Senate now has a critical task of ensuring that the United States will join with every civilized nation in the world in working to implement this treaty.”
General John Shalikashvili:
“Well before the CWC was negotiated, Congress had already directed the destruction of the vast majority of our chemical weapons stockpile. So with or without the Convention, we have already foresworn our chemical weapons. And the CWC is the only vehicle we have to require other state parties to do the same and under very strict international control....
“...the CWC will greatly reduce the likelihood that our servicemen and women will encounter chemical weapons on a battlefield.... We owe this to our troops.”
General Colin Powell:
“With this Convention, we enter into an alliance of over 160 nations that have come together and said, ‘We will never use these weapons. We will not produce them. We will not keep them on hand. We will destroy them. If we have stocks of them in other countries, we’ll go get them and get rid of them.’ That’s what this alliance is all about. There are some rogue states that will be outside of that alliance. Good, let’s isolate them, but let’s not join them....
|“I am proud to lend my support to this Convention. I’ve been with it for 10 years from National Security Adviser through Chairman ... [when] my colleagues in the Joint Chiefs of Staff ... gave our military advice to President Bush ... that we should go forward with this Convention. And I hope the Senate will come to the same conclusion tomorrow.”
Senator Bob Dole
“Some may recall that last September ... I raised concerns about the Chemical Weapons Convention and expressed hope that the President and the United States Senate would work together to ensure that the treaty is effectively verifiable and genuinely global. They have, and as a result, 28 conditions to the Senate’s Resolution of Ratification have been agreed to. These 28 agreed conditions address major concerns.... If I were present in the Senate, I would vote for ratification of the CWC....”
Robert Wallace, Veterans of Foreign Wars:
“The men and women of the Veterans of Foreign Wars urge every member of the United States Senate to vote for ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We as a nation can do no less for both our men and women in uniform, as well as for all of humanity.”
“You have witnessed today ... an example of America at its best, working as it should, putting the interests of the American people and the interests of the men and women of America in uniform first....
“This treaty will make our troops safer. It will make our nation more secure. It will at least reduce the likelihood that innocent civilians here and around the world will be exposed in the future to horrible chemical weapons....
“We’ve resolved virtually all the concerns that some senators have raised.... Now, we can’t let the minor and relatively small number of disagreements that remain blind us to the overwhelming fact ... that at the bottom line our failure to ratify will substantially increase the risk of a chemical attack against American service personnel. None of us should be willing to take that. As Commander-in-Chief, I cannot in good conscience. I’m very proud of the work that’s been done under the two predecessor administrations to mine of the opposite party. And I’m very proud that we’re all standing here together today as Americans in support of a good and noble and tremendously significant endeavor.”