|8:28 PM EDT||
Bill Young, R-FL 10th
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, first I want to make the point as strongly as I can that I want our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and anyplace else in the world where they are in harm's way as soon as we can possibly do it without risking the security of our own Nation and the security of our own people.
Mr. Murtha and I have been partners in this business for many, many years, and he and I have both stood by the bedside of too many wounded troops and have attended too many funerals, and we want this over.
As a matter of fact, the legislation before us, the appropriations part of this defense bill is a good package. Mr. Murtha and I met prior to him submitting this to the full Appropriations Committee and we agreed. Basically I told Mr. Murtha that these are about the same numbers that I would have recommended if I were still the chairman. But we did agree to disagree on the issue of the restrictive language on the conduct of the battlefield.
My memory takes me back, as we discuss this legislation now, to October of 1983, where terrorists attacked the Marine barracks in Beirut. The Marines there on a peacekeeping mission and 241 of our troops were killed. In February of 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed, as Chairman Lewis noted in his comments. Six lives were lost.
In June of 1996, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, where our airmen were being housed, was bombed. Nineteen American lives were lost. August of 1998, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by terrorists again. Two hundred fifty-nine lives were lost. October of 2000, the USS Cole off the shore of Yemen was bombed by terrorists. Again, 17 American lives lost, and almost every crewman on the ship injured.
But all this time nothing happened except a lot of rhetoric. Well, we talked a lot. We were going to hunt them down. And you can run, but you can't hide.
But finally, after September 11, the people of America were so incensed by what they saw with the airplanes flying into the two World Trade Centers, the airplane flying into the ground in Pennsylvania, in or near Mr. Murtha's district, and the airplane flying into the Pentagon right across the river, killing some 3,000 innocent people. The people of America were incensed. They demanded action. The President of the United States promised action, and the Congress provided action. And subsequently,
our troops are in Afghanistan and are in Iraq. And it is essential that we provide whatever they need to carry out their mission and to protect themselves while they are carrying out the mission.
But now, what about leaving today or tomorrow or March or July, as some of these restrictions provide?
One of our great successes was Desert Storm. In Desert Storm, we attacked Saddam Hussein's armies successfully, and we annihilated, basically, his army. At least they ran away. They ran for cover. They surrendered. A lot of them lost the battle because the United States was aggressive and our coalition partners.
But here's where we made a mistake. Once we had Saddam's armies defeated, we left. We left before there was anything else there to provide a reasonable, logical government for the people of Iraq.
And what happened? Saddam responded in a vicious attack upon his own Iraqi citizens to continue the genocide that he began in earlier years. After we left from Desert Storm, he killed thousands of Shia Iraqis.
What General Petraeus and our American troops are trying to do is to give the Iraqi government that has been elected by the people, Constitution approved by the people, a parliament elected under the new Constitution by the people; General Petraeus said that the Iraqi security forces were growing in number, were growing in capability. Even the Sunnis are starting to join up with these security forces in Iraq to show a Sunni-Shia coming together. Not much, but a little bit.
But to let this government exist so that we didn't have another situation where we left, we didn't leave anybody in charge, and the bad guys took over again.