The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314199 Congress/Iraq Resolution (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=3/17/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=CONGRESS / IRAQ RESOLUTION (L O)

NUMBER=2-314199

BYLINE=DAN ROBINSON

DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Democrats and Republicans have clashed in Congress during debate over a resolution commending U-S and allied troops in Iraq and declaring that the removal of Saddam Hussein made the United States and the world safer. But although the resolution is expected to be approved with bipartisan support, Democrats complain that they were not consulted and accuse Republicans of encouraging political divisions. V-O-A's Dan Robinson has a report:

TEXT: Republicans who control the House of Representatives crafted the resolution on their own. Democrats were not invited into the process, a fact they went to great lengths to emphasize in extended debate.

Some of the strongest Democratic criticism came from conservative Democrats known for their support of the troops and defense spending.

Congressman Jack Murtha, ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Committee, accused Republicans of seeking to divide the country:

/// MURTHA ACT ///

I hope that this resolution will be withdrawn and we will change a few words in it that will make it unified to the whole country. For instance, is it safer today in Spain? Is it safer in the Middle East?

/// END ACT ///

Ike Skelton is ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee:

/// SKELTON ACT ///

National security is a bipartisan, or actually a nonpartisan issue and when we commend the troops, all of us have a stake.

/// END ACT ///

Republicans hit back, saying it was appropriate to recognize U-S troops on the eve of the first anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

Congressman David Dreier rebutted Democratic criticisms focusing on the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. U-S action to oust Saddam Hussein, he said, sent an unmistakable signal:

/// DREIER ACT ///

Either play by the rules or face the consequences. The events of September 11th taught us that we cannot allow threats to arrive on our shores before we combat them. If other nations wish to keep their head in the sand about the dangers of proliferation and terrorism, that is their prerogative. But we cannot and could not afford to take that chance.

/// END ACT ///

/// OPT /// Republican Porter Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, noted that the resolution also recognizes the Iraqi people:

/// GOSS ACT ///

It is entirely appropriate for the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, the people's house, to say we sympathize with you, we understand what you have been through, and we are very grateful that you have the patience to go forward with it and the commitment to do this hard work. /// OPT /// This is a democracy-building exercise in an area where democracy has had many false starts and very little success. /// END OPT ///

/// END ACT ///

But Congressman Tom Lantos said Republicans, by shutting Democrats out of drafting the resolution, missed an opportunity to bring Democrats fully on board in support of it:

/// LANTOS ACT ///

You on your side have neither a monopoly on wisdom, nor a monopoly on patriotism. You should have come to the Democrats, craft a resolution honoring our troops which would have passed this body unanimously. You have created divisiveness at a time when we need cohesion and unity.

/// END ACT ///

In praising what it calls the valiant service of U-S and allied forces in Iraq, and saying the ouster of Saddam Hussein made the world safer, the resolution does not mention President Bush by name.

The debate in the House occurred just as word was arriving of the latest terrorist bombing in Baghdad. (SIGNED)

NEB/DAR/FC/KL



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list