Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4655) to establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq, as amended.
The Clerk read as follows:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Iraq Liberation Act of 1998'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an eight year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.
(4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a seven month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait's oil wells ablaze upon retreat.
(5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire conditions specified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.
(6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
(7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of or attack against Kuwait.
(8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government.
(9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.
(10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.
(11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared that `the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.'.
(12) On May 1, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes, and for related purposes.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARD IRAQ.
It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
SEC. 4. ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT A TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ.
(a) Authority To Provide Assistance: The President may provide to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations designated in accordance with section 5 the following assistance:
(1) Broadcasting assistance: (A) Grant assistance to such organizations for radio and television broadcasting by such organizations to Iraq.
(B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to carry out this paragraph.
(2) Military assistance: (A) The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations.
(B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
(b) Humanitarian Assistance: The Congress urges the President to use existing authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide humanitarian assistance to individuals living in areas of Iraq controlled by organizations designated in accordance with section 5, with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled to such areas from areas under the control of the Saddam Hussein regime.
(c) Restriction on Assistance: No assistance under this section shall be provided to any group within an organization designated in accordance with section 5 which group is, at the time the assistance is to be provided, engaged in military cooperation with the Saddam Hussein regime.
(d) Notification Requirement: The President shall notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 at least 15 days in advance of each obligation of assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
(e) Reimbursement Relating to Military Assistance:
(1) In general: Defense articles, defense services, and military education and training provided under subsection (a)(2) shall be made available without reimbursement to the Department of Defense except to the extent that funds are appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2).
(2) Authorization of appropriations: There are authorized to be appropriated to the President for each of the fiscal years 1998 and 1999 such sums as may be necessary to reimburse the applicable appropriation, fund, or account for the value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act if 1961) of defense articles, defense services, or military education and training provided under subsection (a)(2).
(f) Availability of Funds: (1) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are authorized to remain available until expended.
(2) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are in addition to amounts otherwise available for the purposes described in this section.
(g) Authority To Provide Assistance: Activities under this section (including activities of the nature described in subsection (b)) may be undertaken notwithstanding any other provision of law.
SEC. 5. DESIGNATION OF IRAQI DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION ORGANIZATION.
(a) Initial Designation: Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
(b) Designation of Additional Organizations: At any time subsequent to the initial designation pursuant to subsection (a), the President may designate one or more additional Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
(c) Criteria for Designation: In designating an organization pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only organizations that--
(1) include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individuals, groups, or both, opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime; and
(2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, and to fostering cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime.
(d) Notification Requirement: At least 15 days in advance of designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to this section, the President shall notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his proposed designation in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications under such section 634A.
SEC. 6. WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR IRAQ.
Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of Representatives on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 78, 105th Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13, 1998), the Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.
SEC. 7. ASSISTANCE FOR IRAQ UPON REPLACEMENT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN REGIME.
It is the sense of Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.
SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) and the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton) each will control 20 minutes.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire whether or not either gentleman is opposed to the bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman from Indiana opposed to the bill?
Mr. HAMILTON. I support the bill, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I request the time in opposition.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) will control 20 minutes in opposition and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) will control 20 minutes in support of the bill.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman).
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on this measure.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. Gilman asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I introduced H.R. 4655, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, in late September in order to give our President additional tools with which to confront the continuing threat to international peace and security posed by Saddam Hussein.
For almost 8 years, since the end of Operation Desert Storm, we have waited for Saddam Hussein's regime to live up to its international obligations. After dozens of U.N. Security Council resolutions and compromise after compromise, we have too little to show.
The dilemma of current U.S. policy is dramatically illustrated by the events we have witnessed this past year. In January and February, our Nation was on the verge of launching massive military strikes against Iraq in order to compel Saddam to afford U.N. weapons inspectors access to certain sites that he had declared off-limits. Our Nation stood down after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan brokered a deal in which Saddam promised to behave better in the future. But, our leaders said, if Saddam violates his agreement with Kofi Anan, we will retaliate swiftly and massively.
After spending over $1 billion to build up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf earlier this year, those additional forces were slowly drawn down and brought home. And then, of course, Saddam reneged on his commitments once again.
Today is the 61st day without U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq. The situation as regards weapons inspections is far worse today than it was back in January and February when our Nation was threatening military action.
One of the reasons our Nation did not undertake military action in February, and one of the reasons our leaders are not today delivering on their threats of swift and massive retaliation, is that the kind of military action they have in mind just might not work. Certainly we can inflict massive damage on Saddam with air strikes. But what if he simply absorbs the damage and continues to defy the U.N.?
As things stand today, we would have only three alternatives in such a situation. First, we could forge ahead with our air strikes, bouncing the rubble in Baghdad, but increasingly making it appear to the world that we are the aggressor, not Saddam. Second, we could mount a second invasion of Iraq by U.S. ground forces. Or, third, we could admit failure and give up.
Of course, none of these alternatives have been considered acceptable. And so today we find our Nation paralyzed by indecision. Saddam has never before been in such clear violation of his international obligations. Our government has never before been so obviously unwilling to do anything about it.
The purpose of the Iraq Liberation Act is to try to break this logjam. It creates a fourth alternative, an alternative that meets both our short-term and our longer-term requirements with regard to Iraq. In the short term, we need to be able to bring more effective pressure to bear on Saddam in order to force him to comply with his international obligations. In the longer term, we need to remove his regime from power.
Let there be no mistake about it. Saddam is the problem, and there will be no permanent solution as long as his regime remains. The Iraq Liberation Act gives the President tools that he should find useful in designing a comprehensive strategy to deal with Saddam both in the short term and over the longer term. The legislation does not require the President to equip a rebel army in Iraq, but it gives him all the authority he needs to do so. If he uses that authority, it will cost money, perhaps as much as $99 million that the bill authorizes, perhaps ultimately more, but whatever the cost, it will be far less than the $1.4 billion supplemental appropriation we provided this year alone for unbudgeted U.S. military operations against Saddam Hussein.
Since this bill was introduced, Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the administration to try to refine it in order to make it most useful to the President. At their suggestion we have incorporated a number of changes at our committee markup last week to improve the legislation, and as a result of our work with the administration I have been informed the administration does not oppose enactment of the bill.
With regard to one technical matter, I note that the criterion in Section 5 (c)(1) for designation of Iraqi opposition organizations is intended to ensure that only broad based organizations are designated. They may be broad based by having a broad spectrum of groups cooperating within one organization. In the case of organizations composed primarily of one ethnic sector such organizations may also be designated if they include a broad spectrum of individuals within the sector. In any event, I would expect the designation issue to be the subject of dialogue and accommodation between the Executive Branch and Congress as required by the notification provision contained in section 5(d).
Mr. Speaker, this bill will give our government additional tools with which to confront the threat to international peace and security posed by Saddam Hussein, and for this reason I believe it deserves the support of our Members. Accordingly, I urge our colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 4655.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, understand this legislation came before the committee on Friday, one legislative day prior to today. There has been no committee report filed, and it was brought up under suspension. And I believe this legislation is very serious legislation. It is not a casual piece of legislation condemning a leader in another country that is doing less than honorable things.
I see this piece of legislation as essentially being a declaration of virtual war. It is giving the President tremendous powers to pursue war efforts against a sovereign Nation. It should not be done casually. I think it is another example of a flawed foreign policy that we have followed for a good many decades.
For instance, at the beginning of this legislation it is cited as one of the reasons why we must do something. It says on September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran starting an 8-year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops, very serious problems. We should condemn that. But the whole problem is we were Iraq's ally at that time, giving him military assistance, giving him funds and giving him technology for chemical weapons.
So here we are now deciding that we have to virtually declare war against this individual. It is not like he is the only hoodlum out there. I could give my colleagues a list of 15 or 20. I do not like the leadership of China. Why do we not do something about China? I do not like the leadership of Sudan. But all of a sudden we have to decide what we are going to give this President to pursue getting rid of Saddam Hussein.
Just a few months ago, or last November, we passed a resolution, and the resolution was H.R. 137. It sounded very general and very benign, and it talked about the atrocities caused by Saddam Hussein, and we asked to condemn and also to set up a U.N. commission to study this and give the U.N. authority to pursue arrests and convict and try Saddam Hussein. So this is not something we are doing for the interests of the United States. We are doing this under the interests of the United Nations, but we are the spokesperson for them.
Not too long ago, a few years back, in 1980s, in our efforts to bring peace and democracy to the world we assisted the freedom fighters of Afghanistan, and in our infinite wisdom we gave money, technology and training to Bin Laden, and now, this very year, we have declared that Bin Laden was responsible for the bombing in Africa. So what is our response, because we allow our President to pursue war too easily? What was the President's response? Some even say that it might have been for other reasons than for national security reasons. So he goes off and bombs Afghanistan, and he goes off and bombs Sudan, and now the record shows that very likely the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was precisely that, a pharmaceutical plant.
So I say we should stop and think for a minute before we pursue and give the President more authority to follow a policy that to me is quite dangerous. This to me is equivalent to declaring war and allowing the President to pursue this.
Another complaint listed on this legislation: in February 1988 Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their homes. Terrible thing to do, and they probably did; there is no doubt about it. But what did we do after the Persian Gulf war? We encouraged the Kurdish people to stand up and fight against Saddam Hussein, and they did, and we forgot about them, and they were killed by the tens of thousands. There is no reason for them to trust us. There is no reason for the Sudanese people to believe and trust in us, in what we do when we rain bombs on their country and they have done nothing to the United States. The people of Iraq certainly have not done anything to the United States, and we certainly can find leaders around the world that have not done equally bad things. I think we should stop and think about this.
Just today it was announced that the Turks are lined up on the Syrian border. What for? To go in there and kill the Kurds because they do not like the Kurds. I think that is terrible. But what are we doing about it? Who are the Turks? They are our allies, they are our friends. They get military assistance. The American people are paying the Turks to keep their military up. So we are responsible for that.
This policy makes no sense. Some day we have to think about the security of United States. We spend this money. We spent nearly $100 million bombing nobody and everybody for who knows what reason last week. At the same time our military forces are under
trained and lack equipment, and we are wasting money all around the world trying to get more people, see how many people we can get to hate us. Some day we have to stop and say why are we pursuing this. Why do we not have a policy that says that we should, as a Congress, defend the United States, protect us, have a strong military, but not to police the world in this endless adventure of trying to be everything to everybody. We have been on both sides of every conflict since World War II. Even not too long ago they were talking about bombing in Kosovo. As a matter of fact, that is still a serious discussion. But a few months ago they said, well, we are not quite sure who the good guys are, maybe we ought to bomb both sides. It makes no sense. Why do we not become friends to both sides?
There are people around the world that we deal with that are equally repulsive to Saddam Hussein, and I believe very sincerely that the founders of this country were on the right track when they said stay out of entangling alliances. And we should trade with people; we would get along with them better. We have pursued this type of policy in Cuba for 40 years, and it has served Castro well. Why do we not go down and get rid of Castro? Where do we get this authority to kill a dictator? We do not have that authority, and to do it under one day of hearings, mark it up, bring it up the next day under suspension; I do not understand why anybody could vote for this just on the nature of it.
We should not be doing this. We should stop and think about it and try to figure out a much better way.
I, for instance, am on a bill to trade with Cuba. Oh, how horrible, we should not trade with Cuba, they are a bunch of Commies down there. But we should be selling them rice and we should be selling them our crops. We should not be bombing these people.
As my colleagues know, at the end of this bill I think we get a hint as to why we do not go to Rwanda for humanitarian reasons. Now there is some atrocities. Why do we not clean that mess up? Because I believe very sincerely that there is another element tied into this, and I think it has something to do with money, and I think it has something to do with oil. The oil interests need the oil in Iraq, and he does not, Saddam Hussein does not, comply with the people of the west. So he has to go.
But also at the end of this legislation it tells us something about what might be going on. It is they are asking to set up and check into the funds that Saddam Hussein owes to the west. Who is owed? They do not owe me any money. But I will bet my colleagues there is a lot of banks in New York who are owed a lot of money, and this is one of the goals, to set up and make sure Saddam Hussein pays his bills.
All I do is ask my colleagues to think about it, urge them to go slowly. Nothing is so pressing that we should give the President this much authority to go to war.
Under the appropriations it is endless, it is open, endless, and here we are concerned about saving Social Security. Any amount of money spent on this bill comes out of Social Security. Yes, there was yelling and screaming about a tax cut. Oh, it is coming out of Social Security. Well, this money is not appropriated, and it is such sums as necessary for military and economic benefits. After we get rid of one thug, we are going to have it in. I hope we make a better choice than we did with Bin Laden. I mean he was our close ally.
Please think twice, slow up, vote against this bill. We do not need this.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 8 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton), and I ask unanimous consent that he be permitted to control this time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Miller of Florida). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for this generous grant of time, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill, but I do have some concerns about it. The bill appears to be simple. It authorizes U.S. assistance for Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. There are very good intentions behind it. Almost all of us oppose Saddam Hussein, and we would like to see him out of power. We all want to support a viable Iraqi opposition.
Having said that, the bill does have some serious implications for United States efforts to retain the sanctions on Iraq and maintain strong international support for our policies toward Iraq.
My understanding is that U.S. policy toward Iraq since the Gulf War has been a policy of containment. We have pursued that policy now for over 2 administrations. That policy has been reasonably successful at a price that we are willing to pay. We have protected fundamental American national interests in the region, stability, the free flow of oil, the security of friends and allies. We have specifically rejected an invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Such an invasion would take several hundred thousand troops. There is no guarantee that we would get Saddam Hussein or that his successor would be any better.
Having rejected an invasion of Iraq, but still seeking to get rid of Saddam, we now come to this bill. The policy message that Congress sends with this bill is different than the stated policy of the United States.
This bill states that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein. What is striking about the bill is the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, would depend on third parties, not even third countries, to carry out its policy objectives.
Let me state several concerns about the bill even though I support the bill. First no one should underestimate the difficulties of uniting the Iraqi opposition. It includes some 70 groups and at least three or four major groups.
We have tried over many years to unite the Iraqi opposition, and it has not happened. There is, however, modest reason for encouragement. The two main Kurdish groups have a fragile agreement with each other, but they don't want to work with Ahmed Chalabi.
We have aided some of these opposition leaders since the early 1970s. We have worked hard since 1991 to bring them together. Success has been limited. Any program for unifying the opposition and turning it into a viable alternative through the current Iraqi regime is a long-term proposition.
Second, I am concerned about creating false expectations. Iraqi opposition leaders may misinterpret this bill as an open-ended U.S. commitment to their cause.
When the Kurdish leaders were in town last week, they talked about security assurances from the United States. It is apparent from their comments that they expect very substantial support from the United States, including air power.
We have to spell out very carefully and in writing what the United States is prepared and not prepared to do. On at least three occasions, Iraqi opposition leaders felt that the United States broke its commitments, and we should not contribute to false expectations again.
Third, there is a wide gap here between means and objectives in this bill. When we declare that our policy is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, we raise the objectives of our policy very high. Yet we provide modest means to achieve what has proven to be a very difficult objective. When you have a gap between goals and means, that often leads to trouble in the conduct of American foreign policy.
Fourth, I wonder whether the bill is at all workable, whether it is possible for the administration to implement a program of military assistance. For example, can we identify any country that is prepared to accept military equipment in the presence of armed Iraqi opposition groups on its territory? I am not able to do that as of now.
Finally, the bill could harm the ability of the United States to keep U.N. sanctions in place against Iraq. If it becomes the public policy of the United States to remove Saddam Hussein, as this bill seeks to do, then there will be less unity in confronting Baghdad, more criticism of the United States, and probably more difficulty in getting support for sanctions and for U.N. weapons inspections among Arab States and among Security Council members.
Under present circumstances, it is hard to name one Arab country or one Security Council member that would support a U.S. program to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
I understand that some Members question how well the sanctions are working, but we should not throw out one of the key elements of our strategy.
No Member should think that by supporting this bill, we are strengthening sanctions against Iraq. We risk the opposite.
To conclude, this is a very serious piece of legislation the committee has produced. I will not oppose the bill, because I, like most of us, feel the opposition should be supported, and Iraq and the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein.
But we should have a clear idea of what we are doing. We are making a down payment on support for the opposition. We should have no illusions about the bill.
Uniting the opposition will take a long time. The bill could create false expectations. There is a wide gap between means and objectives in this bill. There is plenty of doubt whether the bill is workable. The bill does risk the weakening of sanctions against Iraq.
Let us be very clear about what the bill does and does not do. The bill states the sense of Congress. It does not change U.S. policy. The bill does not compel the provision of military assistance to Iraqi opposition groups. The bill leaves the administration flexibility in carrying out U.S. policy toward Iraqi opposition groups. I understand that the administration does not oppose the bill.
So despite some of my concerns, I support the bill. As the legislative process moves along, I hope improvements can be made in the bill.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have remaining?
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Miller of Florida). The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) has 10 minutes remaining. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) has 6 1/2 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton) has 2 minutes remaining.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Indiana makes some very good points indicating that he is not convinced that this is workable. So back to the practicality of the bill. Even though one might argue there is a lot of good intentions here, even a Member that is supporting the bill is very uncertain whether it is workable.
In some ways, even if it is workable, it is going to be working against us and working against the United States and working against the taxpayers of this country.
But I would also like to challenge the statement that this does not change policy, because on section 3, it says it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
That sounds pretty clear to me. As a matter of fact, I think it sounds so clear that it contradicts U.S. law. How do you remove somebody without killing them? Is it just because we do not use our own CIA to bump them off that we are not morally and legally responsible? We will be.
So we are talking about killing Saddam Hussein, a ruthless dictator. But how many ruthless dictators do we have? We have plenty. So how many more should we go after?
So the real question is, why at this particular time, why would we give our President more authority to wage war? He has way too much authority already if the President can drop bombs when he pleases. This of course has occurred not only in this administration but in the administrations of the 1980s as well where bombs were dropped to make some points. But generally speaking, the points are not well made. They usually come back to haunt us.
This is more or less what has happened. This is part of a policy that we have been following for quite a few decades. Yet, the problems continue to emerge.
We can hardly be sympathetic to the Kurds who are being punished by the Iraqis at the same time we are paying the Turks to do the same thing to the Kurds. So there is something awful inconsistent about this.
There is nothing wrong with a policy of trying to maintain friendship with people, trying to trade with people and influence them that way rather than saying, if you do not do exactly as we tell you, we are going to bomb you.
This is a policy we have been following for way too long. It costs a lot of money. It costs a lot of respect for law because, technically, it is not legal. Waging war should only occur when the Congress and the people decide this. But to casually give more and more authority to the President to do this and encourage him to bump off dictators is a dangerous precedent to set.
I think there is no doubt in my mind what is best for the United States. We should not pass this resolution. If there need to be more efforts made, do it some other way. But, obviously, this is not a good way to do it. It is sacrificing the principle of law. It is sacrificing the Constitution. It is sacrificing the practicalities of even the people who are supporting it are not quite sure it is going to work.
So I would say give serious consideration to not supporting this bill. We need a `no' vote on this.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) a member of our committee.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4655, and I would like to applaud the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman), chairman of the committee, and the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) for what I consider to be a well thought out, both philosophically and practically, plan that will get our country out of a situation in which we are now in jeopardy unless we do something.
The only thing coming back to haunt us now is that, when the Gulf War was going on, we did not dispatch Saddam Hussein from this planet. We did not finish the job. We should not have gotten involved in that war unless we intended to finish it. Unfortunately, we did not do so, and now we will live with that decision not to finish that job.
There is a symmetry to the affairs of State. There can be no peace without freedom, and there can be no prosperity without peace. Our failure in the Gulf War was in not supporting those who oppose Saddam Hussein's tyranny and not to finish the job on Saddam Hussein himself back when we had the power to determine the course of events in the Persian Gulf.
Our willingness not to finish the job, our unwillingness, I should say, to finish the job and to stand for our ideals, which are to support those elements in their area who believed in freedom or at least some degree of freedom and were not aggressing upon their neighbors, were opposed to aggression, that is the decision that haunts us today.
Saddam Hussein now has a blood feud with us, and he will murder if we give him the opportunity to do so with weapons of mass destruction. He will murder millions of Americans. So like it or not, America's safety is now tied to events in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. We cannot turn our backs on that region, or we will risk the death of millions of Americans, not to speak of just those people in the Persian Gulf itself.
But it is not too late to get ourselves out of this dilemma by supporting the people in the region and in Iraq itself who oppose Saddam Hussein's aggression and his dictatorship.
This resolution is exactly the right formula, and we should have used it long ago. If we would have used it while we were there in the Gulf during the Gulf War, we would not have the problems and the threat to our well-being that we face today.
Support democracy. Oppose tyranny. Oppose aggression and repression. That is what America's policy should be based on. We should strengthen the victims so they can defend themselves. These things are totally consistent with America's philosophy, and it is a pragmatic approach as well.
Furthermore, this resolution calls to hold Saddam Hussein himself accountable. The man is a murderer. The man has murdered large numbers of his own people. The man has invaded his neighbors. It is the dictatorship in Iraq, not the people of Iraq, who are the enemies of the United States and threaten our well-being.
That is what this resolution is all about. It is not a declaration of war. It is a declaration that we are on the side of the Iraqi people and the other people of that region who believe in freedom to some degree, whatever degree that is, more than what they have today, and oppose aggression.
Let us stand up and stand by our ideals, because we did not do that before, and we left the practical planners to say do not eliminate Saddam Hussein, and now we face this threat.
Our support for the Mujahedin collapsed the Soviet Union. Yes, there was a price to pay, because after the Soviet Union collapsed, we walked away, and we did not support those elements in the Mujahedin who were somewhat in favor of the freedom and western values.
With those people who oppose this effort of pro democracy foreign policy, a pro freedom foreign policy rather than isolation foreign policy, they would have had us stay out of that war in Afghanistan. They would never have had us confronting Soviet aggression in different parts of the world.
Would the world be a better place today? No. But our problem, again, was not in supporting the Mujahedin, not supporting those people who oppose Soviet tyranny, but our failure was not supporting those people who believed in democracy and following through with them to see that the pro freedom elements were supported.
That is what this resolution is all about, making sure that we support those people in that region, in the Gulf region, and in Iraq itself who are our natural allies. Let us hold Saddam Hussein accountable rather than putting ourselves in a place where we let the situation go to such a degree that we end up having to kill hundreds of thousands of people in the regions, Iraqis who are not even our enemies.
So let us support those people in Iraq who are our friends and in the region who are our friends, and let us push for democracy.
Even in Kuwait today, we can be proud that there has been some democratic reform as compared to what the system was before when we were there. So I stand in support of this resolution.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from California makes a very good point, that sometimes we get involved in these battles and we never fight to complete victory. He argues the case for pursuing it and always winning and take out the dictator that we are opposing.
There is some merit to that argument, but there is also a very good reason why that does not happen and will not happen. It is because when we fight a war for non-national security reasons, when it is limited to protecting oil or some other interest, then there is a limitation, there is no wanting to expand it.
When we fight a war for national security reasons, we declare the war, the people join, they are willing to support it financially, they volunteer to go into the military, and they fight to win. But we have not done that since World War II, precisely because we have this namby-pamby foreign policy of being everything to everybody and we do not even defend our national security adequately enough.
The gentleman from California makes a good point also. He is concerned that somebody like Saddam Hussein may attack us with weapons of mass destruction. He is precisely right. I am concerned about that too. But I would say that our exposure is about 100 times greater because of our policy. Why is it that the terrorists want to go after Americans? Because we are always dropping bombs on people and telling people what to do; because we are the policemen. We pretend to be the arbitrator of every argument in the world, even those that have existed for 1,000 years. It is a failed, flawed policy.
So I would say I have exactly the same concerns, but I think the policy that we follow has generated this problem, and it will continue.
Mr. Speaker, let me just close by talking a little bit about this authorization. It says, there are to be authorized appropriations, such sums as may be necessary to reimburse the applicable appropriation funds. This is what the money is to go for: Defense articles, defense services, military education, and training. Sounds like getting ready for the Bay of Pigs. That is exactly what we did. And then we backed off, we were not doing it for the right reason, and of course we have solidified for 40 years the dictatorship in Cuba.
So do my colleagues think our policy over the last 10 years has actually helped to weaken Saddam Hussein? Every time he comes out of it stronger. And then those who say, `Well, we should march in,' we should all question. Those of us here in the Congress who are so anxious to take out this dictator, they should be willing to march themselves, or send their children and send their grandchildren. Is it worth that? No, no, we would not want to do that, we have to keep our troops safe, safe from harm, but we will just pay somebody to do it. We will pay somebody to do it and we will make wild promises. Promise the Kurds something. They will take care of Saddam Hussein. And sure enough, the promises never come through.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. PAUL. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman does not think it is proper for us to offer those people who are struggling for freedoms in Iraq against their dictatorship a helping hand?
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I think it would be absolutely proper to do that, as long as it came out of the gentleman's wallet and we did not extract it from somebody in this country, a taxpayer at the point of a gun and say, look, bin Laden is a great guy. I want more of your money.
That is what we did in the 1980s. That is what the Congress did. They went to the taxpayers, they put a gun to their head, and said, you pay up, because we think bin Laden is a freedom fighter.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, if the gentleman will further yield, it was just not handled correctly.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, again reclaiming my time, the policy is flawed. The policy is flawed.
I think the conclusions we have today are logical. I do not think they lack logic. I think that if one decides that we are fighting for our national security reasons, we never stop short of victory. So this would go along with the gentleman's argument that we stopped too soon in Iraq. But we were not there for national security reasons. They were not about to invade us, and they are not about to invade us. The only way we should fear an invasion by these hoodlums is if we incite them to terrorism.
We should consider this a very serious piece of legislation. This is a vote for virtual war and giving more power to the President. It has an open-ended appropriation, and if we spend one nickel on it, we are going to take it out of Social Security, the way the budget works around here.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton).
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I have 2 minutes remaining under my time as yielded by the chairman.
Let me just make this observation, if I may. I think the gentleman from Texas questioned my statement a moment ago in which I said that the bill states the sense of Congress, it does not change U.S. policy. I believe my statement is correct for a couple of reasons. The language in the bill is only sense of Congress language. It does not say what the policy is; it says what the policy should be.
More importantly, perhaps, is that we in this body cannot set policy without the approval of the executive branch. The President is the chief foreign policymaker, of course, and it is my understanding that the policy of the United States Government is and will remain, after passage of this resolution, a policy of containment.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
In closing this debate I want to respond to a few of the points that have been made by other speakers. First, the bill does not make an open-ended financial commitment. It does not authorize an unlimited expenditure of funds; it authorizes such sums as may be necessary, subject to a cap of $97 million.
On the contrary, the purpose of the bill is to save money. We had to pass a $1.4 billion supplemental appropriation earlier this year to pay for U.S. military deployments to confront Saddam Hussein. We are going to have to spend that kind of money over and over again, unless we try something new, because today Saddam is far from complying with his international commitments than he was 9 months ago.
Second, this bill does not force the President to do anything that he might deem unwise. Rather, it gives him additional options for defending our national interests in the Persian Gulf region. Accordingly, I urge support for this measure and I urge my colleagues to vote `yes' on H.R. 4655.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Miller of Florida). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 4655, as amended.
The question was taken.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 5 of rule I, and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.