Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Chairman, the background is obvious and well known to all of us. The fact of the matter is we are now living in a moment which is among the most difficult and dangerous periods in the modern history of our country. It came about as a result of the administration sending our military to attack Iraq. There was no justification, certainly no adequate justification, for that attack. The rationale for doing so as it was presented to the Congress was falsified, unjustified. I think
that we all see that today very clearly.
The consequences of that action are afflicting our country very decidedly. We have now lost 4,500 American servicemen and women killed, tens of thousands others very seriously wounded. The dollar cost to our country is now approximately $400 billion. By the end of this year it is anticipated to be $450 billion.
The costs to Iraq are even more severe. The loss of life in that country may be as many as 100,000 people. Circumstances of life in that country are worse than they were 3 years ago when the invasion occurred in March 2003. And we have now been engaged in an occupation of that country for more than 3 years.
The fact that we all have to face is that it is becoming increasingly apparent that the administration has no plan for ending that occupation, and so it will continue. The loss of life will continue, the loss of funds will continue, and the deterioration of our reputation in the world will continue to decline.
This Congress has been derelict in its duty. We have not examined the administration in its activities related to the attack on Iraq, the falsified way in which it presented the rationale to this Congress, the way in which it failed to adhere to the recommendations of the military with regard to actions taken prior to the attack and subsequent to it, right up to the present moment.
So now we are faced with another potential problem that would magnify the one that we currently confront, and that is we have come to understand that there have been serious considerations within this administration to engage in a military attack on Iran. The rationale for that attack as it has been presented to us is that Iran is engaged in a nuclear weapons development program. Of course, that was part of the falsified rationale that was presented for the attack on Iraq.
We also know, of course, that the President in his State of the Union Address here, the address that attempted to justify by presenting false information to the Congress, attempted to justify the attack on Iraq, associated Iraq with the phrase ``axis of evil'' with two other countries, North Korea and Iran.
We now learn that there are discussions within the administration for a potential attack on Iran. And in the context of those discussions, it has also been suggested that the administration has the authority to engage in such an attack based upon the vote that was taken here to authorize the attack on Iraq based upon falsified, misleading information, information that was presented to us intentionally falsified and misleading.
So the purpose of this amendment is to make sure that none of the funding in this defense appropriations bill is used to engage in any military operation against Iran without a full vote of the Congress of the United States in accordance with the Constitution of the United States.
It is a very simple, very straightforward amendment, and I hope that this Congress will live up to its obligations and this House of Representatives in accordance with its responsibilities will pass the amendment.
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
I read the amendment about Iran, but I heard the debate about Iraq. The gentleman's debate made it appear that we just indiscriminately decided to attack Iraq.
I would remind the gentleman that there were not only United Nations resolutions dealing with the issue of Iraq, but there was also an overwhelming vote in the House and in the Senate to authorize the President to take whatever military action was necessary.
He talked about Iraq, and so I want to talk about Iraq. I want to talk about the June 25, 1996, bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. We were not in Iraq, nowhere near Iraq. Khobar Towers was bombed, and 19 of our airmen who were living there lost their lives.
In August of 1998, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed with a loss of life, including Americans. And by the way, we were not in Iraq or Afghanistan for that matter.
October 12, 2000, the USS Cole offshore of Yemen was bombed by terrorists, and 17 sailors lost their lives, and many others were seriously injured.
And then there was September 11, and I don't have to explain what happened there because everyone knows [Page: H4301]
what happened there. It was the Pearl Harbor of this century.
So what does that have to do with Iraq? Information continues to be uncovered where Saddam Hussein, who was the dictator of Iraq until we removed him, Saddam Hussein had contacts with the terrorists of different stripes, not only al Qaeda, but other terrorists. And that's why, and Congress reacted to that, and Congress approved the President making whatever military move he thought was necessary. So that goes to the issue of the gentleman's debate on the Iran amendment relative to his comment
The vote on the Iraq resolution was 296-133. That is a pretty sizable majority.
I have a copy of the Constitution. Section 8 of Article I is a very long article, a very long section, and I am not sure which provision in here that the gentleman's amendment is talking about unless it gets down to the part of section 8 that says to declare war. I assume that is what he is talking about.
To declare war in today's world, previous wars you had a little time. Even after Pearl Harbor, we had time to recover and react. Today's world you don't have that. So I would think you would want to be very, very careful about tying the hands of this Congress in authorizing whatever was needed to defend and support the United States and the security of the American people.
I do not want another September 11 on my hands. I don't want something else to happen that is going to kill innocent Americans, and then have people come to me and say, Why didn't you do something about it? Why weren't you prepared for it? Why did you have to wait and go through all of the political charades?
I don't think that the American people would be very, very happy with this Congress if we didn't take every step necessary to prevent another aircraft hijacking and flying into the World Trade Center or something similar, or hijacking an airplane that landed in Pennsylvania or at the Pentagon. I think we better think very carefully before we, on an appropriations bill, make a major decision like this.