Third Party & Independents Archives

Amendment Ideas for the House's Resolution on the War on Terror

On June 14, by a vote of 6 to 4, the House Committee on Rules granted a closed rule providing 10 hours of debate in the House on H. Res. 861. On June 15, the debate to affirm our foreign policy took place. The special rules enacted for this debate prevented any modifications to the resolution.
If “We, the People” had been allowed to shape this resolution, what kind of changes would we make?

From the June 14 Congressional record

H. Res. 861

Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

Whereas the United States and its allies are engaged in a Global War on Terror, a long and demanding struggle against an adversary that is driven by hatred of American values and that is committed to imposing, by the use of terror, its repressive ideology throughout the world;

Whereas for the past two decades, terrorists have used violence in a futile attempt to intimidate the United States;

Did our decision-makers even consider the idea that we could have made strides against terrorism by improving our capabilities in Criminal investigation, capture and prosecution without blurring the roles by adding military duplication?

As the Global War on Terror is a continuation of the thought process that created and sustains the War on Drugs, why haven't our decision-makers learned that this type of end-goal can never been achieved?

Which American values do the terrorists hate - the values of freedom and openness that this country is losing or the values that are driving our highest levels of government to try to forcibly privatize the world?

Are terrorists forcing their ideology on other countries or are we forcing ours?

Terrorism started in 1986?

Whereas it is essential to the security of the American people and to world security that the United States, together with its allies, take the battle to the terrorists and to those who provide them assistance;

Was it really essential to our security to start this war or did we have other, less palatable reasons?

Has it made us safer or has it made us into larger targets?

Whereas the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorists failed to stop free elections in Afghanistan and the first popularly-elected President in that nation's history has taken office;
Whereas the continued determination of Afghanistan, the United States, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be required to sustain a sovereign, free, and secure Afghanistan;
Whereas the steadfast resolve of the United States and its partners since September 11, 2001, helped persuade the government of Libya to surrender its weapons of mass destruction;

Whether our successes in Libya were achieved by British diplomacy or Gadhafi’s son , there are some good developments in these statements. At the same time, as always, there is another oil connection here. Libya announced that they would be privatizing their oil resources.
I want to trust our motives, but our decision-makers have completely shaken my faith.

Whereas by early 2003 Saddam Hussein and his criminal, Ba'athist regime in Iraq, which had supported terrorists, constituted a threat against global peace and security and was in violation of mandatory United Nations Security Council Resolutions;
Whereas the mission of the United States and its Coalition partners, having removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, is to establish a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq at peace with its neighbors;
Whereas the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology;
Whereas the Iraqi people, with the help of the United States and other Coalition partners, have formed a permanent, representative government under a newly ratified constitution;
Whereas the terrorists seek to destroy the new unity government because it threatens the terrorists' aspirations for Iraq and the broader Middle East;

Saddam Hussein was secular and he persecuted Islamists.
President Bush has admitted Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11

How much of the current insurgency had to do with our total mismanagement of the aftermath of the war and problems (corruption?) of the reconstruction?

Whereas United States Armed Forces, in coordination with Iraqi security forces and Coalition and other friendly forces, have scored impressive victories in Iraq including finding and killing the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi;
Whereas Iraqi security forces are, over time, taking over from United States and Coalition forces a growing proportion of independent operations and increasingly lead the fight to secure Iraq;
Whereas the United States and Coalition servicemembers and civilians and the members of the Iraqi security forces and those assisting them who have made the ultimate sacrifice or been wounded in Iraq have done so nobly, in the cause of freedom; and
Whereas the United States and its Coalition partners will continue to support Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives
(1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;
(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

We have to affirm all of the justifications for the Global War on Terror or say we don’t honor these people and sacrifices?

(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

I think it would be harmful to set a firm date too, however I’m very surprised that such corporatist decision-makers don’t set concrete goals and measurement plans that would enable them to know that we’re “finished”.

(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

Actually, we do have a “blue dot” goal. We will stay in Iraq until they have a united government that is friendly to our interests (and ideally not to Iran's).

(5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq's new constitution;
(6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and
(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

While I’m happy to see some recognition that we need the help of the rest of the world, I want to know how we know when we’ve “prevailed”?

I wish I could believe the Global War on Terror was keeping us free from terrorists, but terrorism will always be with us. It is a tactic, not an entity... If they are referring to the freedom in our society, the Global War on Terror is eroding those...

Those of you who agree that we go to war to protect our interests, but think that's ok because we need to maintain our position in the world, is that a "noble struggle to protect freedom"?

Although I think we need to clean up our mess in the countries we’ve invaded, this resolution was about more than that. This resolution affirms the concepts that sent us in there in the first place. Onward to the next?? Does anyone in this country really want that?

Christine

Posted by Christine at June 16, 2006 12:22 AM
Comments
Comment #158302

Christine, there are so many things wrong with this it is hard to be brief. I will select just a couple.

First, nothing so initimidated the U.S. as 9/11. Almost all government action since 9/11 has been motivated in one way or another by the intimidation factor of 9/11. It is a flat falsehood of language in the resolution to state: “Whereas for the past two decades, terrorists have used violence in a futile attempt to intimidate the United States;”

Terrorists violence has not been futile by any stretch of the imagination. Iran and N. Korea were named axes of evil but, we have sure acted differently toward them than toward Iran precisely due to the intimidation factors of both terrorists and our failed execution of the Iraq reconstruction and occupation.

To put forth a resolution without option for refining and improving it, is not resolution, it is a dictate of the majority party. If it were to be a U.S. supported resolution, a bi-partisan resolution which clearly represented and overwhelming majority of assent of the U.S. people would have to have been created. That option was prevented by the rules constraining modification of the resolution.

Lastly, the global war on terrorism and the occupation of Iraq, are different pursuits, with different predicates, requiring different approaches, debates and resolutions. To combine them under one umbrella forces a tunnel visioned view of how to proceed and will detrimentally affect our progress in one or both areas of endeavor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 16, 2006 8:12 AM
Comment #158322

Christine,

Why do you think the Republicans refuse to address these issues seperately? Iraq and the global war onterror are seperate issues.
Politics, not respect for the fallen or our troops.
Why do they continue to politicize Iraq? They only care about getting reelected not the fallen or our troops.
Why have they not yet cleared infrastructure rebuilding contractors of the theft of billions of dollars(Haliburton) but they continue to pump money into the contractors bank accounts?
Nothing to do with respecting those who have sacrificed, the fallen or our troops.
Why did the intelligence leaders that are supposed to have been the architecs of the biggest blunder in U.S. intelligence history get medals and appointments? Respect for the fallen or are troops?
Look at the laundry list of mistakes due to incompetence this administration and the Pentagon have compiled.
We all respect the fallen. We want our troops home. We grieve for those who have sacrificed.
The Republican controlled government has no respect for all of the sacrifices being made or they wouldn’t be using fear and 9/11 and the fallen in Iraq for their own political agendas again.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at June 16, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #158336

It seems to be another
“Our way or the highway” approach to democracy.
I wonder if the Iraqi’s feel the same about the 14 permanent bases Bush & Co are building.
I suppose the Iraqi’s can have a nice airport system when they kick us out eventually.

Posted by: Joe at June 16, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #158392

Christine:

The resolution is purely a way to demonstrate the defference between Republicans and Democrats. It is pure propaganda, part of their fall election campaign. It has nothing to do with execution of the Iraq War.

Republicans would rather play politics than fight the Iraqi War. They KNOW how to do the former, but have no idea how to do the latter.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 16, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #158538

I have to agree David, so much wrong… With what Christine wrote. Where to begin?

Whereas for the past two decades, terrorists have used violence in a futile attempt to intimidate the United States;

Terrorism started in 1986?

Aha, I think I see a potential problem. Lack of English Comprehension.

No where in this statement does it say that Terrorism started in 1986.

I’m starting to think that the lack of ability to read and understand what is being said could be a big problem with most of us attempting to communicate. Could be why we cross lines a lot. :/ Or, could it be hatred of an administration or party that could be clouding that comprehension? Hmmmm

Saddam Hussein was secular and he persecuted Islamists.

When it suited his purposes, yes.

President Bush has admitted Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11

Hmmm, I believe he stated that we have no hard evidence that he did. Those are actually two different things… it’s that comprehension thingy.

Actually, you left out the third part of your statement, perhaps you didn’t want to see it in print? I would write it like this:

“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. As evidence, he cited Iraqi intelligence officers’ meeting with bin Laden in Sudan. “There’s numerous contacts between the two,” Bush said.

Oh, yeah, and that was backed up by the members of the commission, even though it was reported differently in the press, go figure. Perhaps it’s that comprehnsion thing?

The same one that has people confused now into thinking that Bush was the one responsible for leaking Valerie Plame’s name to the press, when there is no evidence to suggest such a thing.

Or the same one that attempts to use the Downing Street Memo as ‘proof’ that Bush and the administration knew that intelligence was wrong before the state of the union, even though it is clear that the mention in the document is one man’s opinion.

Or the same one that attempts to assert that Bush didn’t win the 2000 election even though recounts done in 2001 show clearly that had the 2nd round of recounting been allowed to continue that he still would have won (and by a larger margin too).

Now, I don’t like the administration either, the only thing that he’s done that I agree with is following through on Iraq, even though he has completely botched it. His overzealous use of his power and attempts to persecute those who happen to be different than his religious views tell him to live make me ill. But my disgust with him doesn’t lead me to try to change reality in order to ‘make my point’…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 16, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #158549

Rhinehold
I’m sorry that you began judging my entire comprehension ability based on the 1986 question. Although my question was sarcastic and not quite accurate, the “two decades” part of the resolution made me want to start researching the Reagan era Drug Wars, Iran-Iraq contra scandal, Central American interventions…
In the end, I decided it was late and I wanted to let someone else look it up and tell me the significance.

Saddam Hussein was secular and he persecuted Islamists.
When it suited his purposes, yes.

I wasn’t saying that Saddam Hussein was a practitioner of genocide (or whatever the religious differences equivalent is). I’m saying that he persecuted all challengers to his power, and in my opinion, Islamic groups like al-Qaeda would fall into that category.

I’ll research the Saddam and al-Queda link, but I don’t believe it yet.

When two people disagree about something and neither one has access to all the facts, neither one knows which one actually has access to the “reality”.
Why is disagreement and real debate so scary to so many?

Christine

Posted by: Christine at June 16, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #158557

To the rest of you, I don’t claim to have the answers, I just found it interesting (and depressing).

I know House resolutions don’t mean anything in real actionable terms and I know that the debate was nothing but a political game, but it’s still interesting to me that the media seems to be focusing almost entirely on the portions about Iraq but the resolution was really about the whole philosophy.

On NPR, I heard that the Republicans think that the war in Iraq is a negative for them, but the Global War on Terror is one of their more popular issues. It’s “incomprehensible” to me how that can be.

Christine


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Comment #159840

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