rise today to voice my concern about the disastrous
turn which the fortunes of this nation have taken.
The Bush Administration, in a scant 2-1/2 years,
has imperiled our country in the gravest of ways,
and set us up for a possible crisis of mammoth
urge my colleagues to think long and hard about
the growing quagmire in Iraq. I urge members of
the President's own party to warn him about the
quicksand he asks America to wade in.
of linking arms with a world which offered its
heart in sympathy after the brutality of the terrorist
attack in September of 2001, this White House,
through hubris and false bravado, has slapped
away the hand of assistance. This Administration
has insulted our allies and friends with its bullying,
and go-it-alone frenzy to attack the nation of
Iraq. In order to justify such an attack, it was
decided somewhere in the White House to blur the
images of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
Blurred images notwithstanding, what is becoming
increasingly clear to many Americans is that they
are going to be asked to carry a heavy, heavy
load for a long, long time.
me be clear. We are presently engaged in not one,
but two wars. There is the war begun by Osama
Bin Laden who attacked this nation on the 11th
of September, 2001. Then there is the war begun
by George W. Bush when he directed U.S. forces
to attack the city of Baghdad on March 19, 2003.
The first war was thrust upon us. The bombing
of Afghanistan was a just retaliation against
that attack. The second war was a war of our choosing.
It was an unnecessary attack upon a sovereign
nation. This President and this Administration
have tried mightily to convince the people of
America that attacking Iraq was critical to protecting
them from terrorism. The case they make is false,
flimsy, and, the war, I believe, was unwise.
war against Iraq has crippled the global effort
to counter terrorism. The war in Iraq has made
a peace agreement between Israel and its adversaries
harder to obtain. The obsession with Iraq has
served to downplay the resurgence of the Taliban
in Afghanistan. The focus on Saddam Hussein has
diverted attention from Bin Laden, who is apparently
still on the loose and threatening to attack again.
The war in Iraq has alienated our traditional
allies and fractured the cohesive alliance against
terrorism which existed after 9-11. It has made
the United States appear to the world to be a
bellicose invader. It has called our motives into
question. It has galvanized the worldwide terrorism
movement against us. The war in Iraq has cost
us lives and treasure. Yet, this President will
shortly request $87 billion more for his ill-fated
adventure. He says we will spend whatever it takes.
dictates that we consider the risks. This nation
has suffered massive job losses amounting to 93,000
in August alone and approximately 600,000 since
January of this year. Job loss of this magnitude
means less money coming into the treasury and
more money going out. U.S. manufacturing jobs
continue to disappear overseas as companies relocate
operations on other shores. There seems no end
to the job hemorrhage. The manufacturing sector
has lost jobs for 37 months in a row. The weak
job market threatens to sap strength from our
domestic economy. Should inflation begin to creep
up, as some worry it will, higher energy costs
and lower consumer confidence may slow the economy
further. Suppose another massive al Quaeda attack
were to occur here at home, killing thousands
and delivering another devastating blow to the
U.S. economy? Could we still afford to continue
to send billions to Iraq? At best our future economic
growth is uncertain. There are too many unknowns.
deficit is growing. When the $87 billion 2004
Iraq Supplemental is included, the deficit for
2004 alone is expected to total $535 billion.
That number will only grow if we continue to experience
massive job loss and the economy takes a turn
for the worse. We can ill afford to finance the
rebuilding of Iraq alone. Yet, President Bush
steadfastly resists doing what it takes to involve
the international community.
should be obvious that we need assistance. The
United States cannot even continue to supply the
troops to secure Iraq without more help. A recent
CBO study which I requested makes it clear that
to maintain the level of troops we now have in
Iraq will stretch us very thin, should something
happen in Korea or elsewhere on this troubled
globe. Our National Guard is being asked to stay
longer and longer in Iraq to help backfill the
shortage in regular troops. These are men and
women with jobs and families and key roles to
play in their own communities. We cannot continue
to utilize their skills in Iraq without suffering
the consequences at home. Even now, as a hurricane
lurks off of our shores, there are worries about
shortages of emergency personnel because so many
national guardsmen and women are serving in Iraq.
the Bush Administration continues to spend our
treasure and our troop strength in a single-focused
obsession with the fiasco in Iraq. Are we to mortgage
the future of our nation to years of financing
this adventure? Surely we cannot ask American
families for sacrifice indefinitely. We must come
to grips with our limits. We must acknowledge
risks and realities.
on last Sunday, Vice President Cheney dug his
heels in at the suggestion of rethinking our policy
in Iraq. In a television interview, Cheney said
that he saw no reason to "think that the strategy
is flawed or needs to be changed."
went on to try to convince the American public
that Iraq was "the geographic base" for the perpetrators
of 9-11 - - a claim that this humble Senator has
never heard before, and that flies in the face
of U.S. intelligence agencies which repeatedly
have said that they have found no links between
the 9-11 attacks and Saddam Hussein or Iraq. We
may come to rue the day when we took our eye off
of Bin Laden and sapped our energies and our credibility
in this quagmire in Iraq. Yet, there seems to
be no soul searching in this White House about
the consequences of this war.
Bush's aides talk of "generational commitments"
and the President talks of "sacrifice," I wonder
if the American people fully comprehend what they
are being urged to forego. They have already sacrificed
loved ones with 158 troops killed and 856 wounded
just since President Bush declared the end of
major combat on May 1. How many more families
must "sacrifice" while we occupy Iraq?
generation of "sacrifice" may also mean a slow
sapping of key national priorities, including
repairing the infrastructure which fuels our economic
engine and funding the institutions and programs
which benefit all Americans. Compare the latest
request for the Iraq Supplemental with the commitment
in dollars to other vital programs and the picture
becomes clear. President Bush is asking for $87
billion for Iraq, but only $34.6 billion for Homeland
Security. He wants $87 billion for Iraq, but only
$66.2 billion for the Department of Health and
Human Services. The President seeks $87 billion
to secure Iraq, but only $52.1 billion for the
Department of Education. He wants $87 billion
to shore up Iraq but only $29.3 billion for America's
highways and road construction.
the State Department and foreign aid for the entire
world, President Bush sees a need for only $27.4
billion, yet Iraq is worth over three times that
much to this White House.
that that $87 billion is just for 2004 alone.
Does anyone really believe that it will be the
last request for Iraq?
President asked America for a generation of "sacrifice,"
but that noble sounding word does not reveal the
true nature of what this President demands from
the American people. He asks them to supply the
fighting men and women to prosecute his war. He
implores our people to sacrifice adequate health
care; he asks them to settle for less than the
best education for their children; he asks them
to sacrifice medical research that could prolong
and save lives; he asks them to put up with unsafe
highways and dangerous bridges; he asks them to
live with substandard housing and foul water;
he asks them to forego better public transportation,
and not just for now, for generations, and all
of it for his folly in Iraq. Most puzzling to
this Senator is this President's stubborn refusal
to guard against the terror threat here at home
by adequately funding Homeland Security. Is he
asking us all to risk the safety of our homeland,
to further insult the hard working people of this
nation, George Walker Bush proposes to lay this
sacrifice not only on the adult population of
this great country, but on their children, by
increasing the deficit with nary a thought to
not a peep can be heard from this White House
about paying for some of this "sacrifice" by foregoing
a portion of future tax cuts - - tax cuts that
mainly benefit those citizens who don't need so
many of the services government provides.
reputation around the globe has already been seriously
damaged by this Administration. Are the dreams
and hopes of millions of Americans to be "sacrificed"
as well on the altar of Iraq? I urge my colleagues
to think long and hard about the growing quagmire
in Iraq. I urge members of the President's own
party to warn him about the quicksand he asks
America to wade in. We need a long and thorough
debate about the future of this country. We need
a serious discussion about the kind of America
we will leave to our children. We need to renew
our efforts to negotiate a peace agreement between
Israel and the Palestinians. Are we fighting a
war in Iraq when pushing the peace might better
serve our cause? We must think again about worldwide
terrorism and the best ways to combat it. Let
us not continue to simply wage the wrong war in
October 8, 2003