Page 1


weapons are so much more lethal today where you see biological warfare, chemical warfare, and you see a ruthless dictator who will not hesitate to use them. I believe the cost of even a short, successful war will be very high. Wars generally do not follow with precision any plan of action that a general sets forth at the beginning. … The other day Ross Perot made a telling point. He said we should commit our nation before we commit our troops. The President is asking Congress to commit our troops. He is asking us to sign off on the use of force to liberate Kuwait. … I do not rule out the use of military action to force the Iraqi military from Kuwait. But I strongly believe there is less risk overall in giving those sanctions more time to work. It is not clear to me that the people of the United States are committed to the option of invasion and all it entails. Some are saying that this debate divides us. But the truth is that the American people are already divided on the wisdom of war in the gulf. We cannot wish away those divisions or swallow them in a great gulp of certainties over the scope of that war and the consequences of a full-scale war and what might encourage the further destabilization of that area. … I still cannot see any compelling reason to rush into war, with all it means in terms of life, loss of life, economic dislocation, and dangers to our interests throughout the region. Major world powers like Germany and Japan, two of the largest economic powers of the world, have demonstrated that they can be aggressive, resolute, and make tough decisions when it comes to establishing market share in other countries, and economic sanctions on trade. But when it comes to taking risks and devoting the resources necessary to protect the system that enables them to continue to progress and prosper, many of our friends dial 911 and expect the United States to be on the other end of the line … Republican Phil Gramm: Mr. President, yesterday I was down in the barber shop as the debate played out on the television screen, and those in the barber shop at the time were amazed that they could not tell in listening to the speakers whether they were with the President or whether they were against him. In fact, speaker after speaker got up and praised the President’s program and his leadership, and then concluded by coming out in favor of the Mitchell-Nunn resolution. Mr. President, for domestic political purposes, the Mitchell-Nunn resolution is a very large fig leaf, indeed. It allows a supporter to be i in a position of talking about a declaration of War, and yet at the same time be committed to giving peace a chance. … Mr. President, if we adopt this resolution, we virtually guarantee that by eliminating, at least in the mind of Saddam Hussein, a clear and present threat to use military power, that the Iraqis will not leave Kuwait by January 15, will not comply with the U.N. resolution. In the House the Gephardt-Hamilton Resolution urged restraint and allowing the sanctions a chalice to work. The Michel-Solarz Resolution authorized the President’s to use military force. Democrat Ralph Hall: If I were President, I probably would not have sent ground forces to Saudi Arabia. Instead, I would have used air and sea power and our technological advantages to protect the Persian Gulf from further unprovoked aggression. … Granted, I am not in command of the information that our Chief Executive has. Therefore, I don’t know all of the relevant factors involved in the President’s decision to send a large contingent of ground forces. If I trust in the judgment of the President, if I believe he is sound of mind, that he is a patriot, and I do, then I must accept that he has made the right decision. I would ask my colleagues: How would you feel if you were a young soldier sitting in a pup tent in that remote desert, and you picked up a copy of the Stars and Stripes newspaper, only to read that the Congress did not support your Commander in Chief? I honestly believe that the policy of appeasement and delay is, in fact, a policy which in the end leads to even greater suffering and death. Republican Joe Barton: In a paradox, the most militant vote to support the Michel-Solarz resolution which authorizes the use of force, is, in my opinion, the vote most likely to avert war. As long as Saddam Hussein believes we will not risk war, he will not peacefully resolve the crisis. Only when he is convinced that the American people, through their elected representatives, are firmly committed to using force, if necessary will Hussein move away from war himself. … To paraphrase a popular television commercial, we can stop him now, or we can stop him later. Republican Jack Fields: As a Republican, I plan to ‘support my President; as an American, I plan to support my President as Commander in hief. … The price of gasoline since his invasion of Kuwait has gone up 24 cents per gallon on an average across this great country. Our economy has been pushed into a recession …. Closer to home, in Houston, Continental Airlines declared bankruptcy, giving as the main reason that higher cost of aviation fuel precipitated by the invasion of Kuwait. So those who wonder if we hae been affected in this country, it does not take much investigation to see that, yes, we have been affected … Democrat Jake Pickle: I am particularly sympathetic to our freshman colleagues who must cast as one of their first votes in Congress a vote that will help determine whether to send American troops into battle. I know how difficult their position is; as a freshman Congressman I was called upon to vote on the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964. … However, this situation is different….This debate is not whether we support the President. The question is when we start offensive action. … Mr. Speaker, at this point I hope that January 15 will not be interpreted as a deadline for U.S. military action, but that two or three additional weeks or some reasonable time should be used to explore all remaining options that might lead to a negotiated solution. I admit that there may be little hope that a negotiated settlement can be reached, but I call upon all parties to this crisis to take this extra time to intensify their search. Democrat Pete Goren: One of our distinguished colleagues has asked members who have spoken in support of Solarz if they understand that this resolution is tantamount to a declaration of war. To that colleague, I say, I do and I believe that such a declaration is the best chance for a just and peaceful resolution to this crisis. … My colleagues, Saddam Hussein is a warrior our world has seen his type before. … A showdown is inevitable. Only a credible threat of force will back him down. Democrat Bill Sarpalius: I, too, went to Saudi Arabia. I, too, stood out there in the desert with those brave young men and women, and I ask them how they felt about this war. They are prepared. They are ready. They are trained. All they ask is, “To give us the opportunity to fight, and do not hold us back. Let us finish the job.” There are some real concerns. What will happen if Israel becomes involved in this war? What will happen after we defeat Hussein? What will then happen to the country of Iraq? But the No. 1 concern thave is, will the American people support those brave young men and women? Democrat Kika de la Garza: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, arriving at this point in the discussion of this issue has been very difficult and painful. I support the President, I support the troops in Operation Desert Shield, but I am deeply disturbed at the events and the persons who have led us to this point in our history. I have and will continue to support all efforts to give them the necessary tools to fulfill their mission. Having said that, the most important support we can give them is to do our utmost to keep them from having to use those tools … I support you, Mr. President, but my conscience and my district demand that we give peace a chance first: Should that not be humanly possible and war is the ultimate need, I will be with you, and pray that it be achieved with the least loss of life possible, for it will be our young people in great part that will bear the burden. \(De la Garza’s 34year-old son Jorge is a military doctor staDemocrat Charles Stenholm: Let this Congress be clear, as the United THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9