Nancy Pelosi Was Right
"Let Us Show Our Greatness: Vote No On This Resolution"
I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein.
From that perspective, though, of 10 years on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I rise in opposition to the resolution on national security grounds. The clear and present danger that our country faces is terrorism. I say flat out that unilateral use of force without first exhausting every diplomatic remedy and other remedies and making a case to the American people will be harmful to our war on terrorism.
For the past 13 months, it will be 13 months tomorrow, we have stood shoulder to shoulder with President Bush to remove the threat of terrorism posed by the al Qaeda. Our work is not done. Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the other al Qaeda terrorist leaders have not been accounted for. We have unfinished business. We are risking the cooperation that we have from over 60 nations of having their intelligence and their cooperation in fighting this war on terrorism.
There are many, many costs involved in this war, and one of them is the cost to the war on terrorism. We cannot let this coalition unravel.
Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons. This is a threat not only from him but from other countries of concern in the past.
I want to call to the attention of my colleagues a statement about Saddam's use of chemical and biological weapons that was just declassified and sent to the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The question is: If we initiate an attack and he thought he was an extremist or otherwise, what is the likelihood in response to our attack that Saddam Hussein would use chemical and biological weapons? This is a letter from George Tenet, the head of the CIA to the committee. The response: Pretty high, if we initiate the attack.
Force protection is our top priority on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. We must protect our men and women in uniform. They are courageous. They risk their lives for our freedom, for our country. We cannot put them in harm's way unless we take every measure possible to protect them. So another cost is not only the cost on the war on terrorism but in the cost of human lives of our young people by making Saddam Hussein the person who determines their fates.
Another cost is to our economy. The markets do not like war. They do not like the uncertainty of war. Our economy is fragile as it is. The President has spoken. In his speech the other night, he talked about rebuilding Iraq's economy after our invasion. We have problems with our own economy. We must focus on building our own economy before we worry about Iraq's economy after we invade Iraq.
So let us do what is proportionate, what is appropriate, which mitigates the risk for our young people.
Another cost in addition to human lives, the cost of terrorism, cost to our economy, another cost is to our budget. This cost can be unlimited, unlimited. There is no political solution on the ground in Iraq. Let us not be fooled by that. So when we go in, the occupation, which is now being called liberation, could be interminable and so could the amount of money, unlimited that it will cost, $100-, $200 billion. We will pay any prices to protect the American people, but is this the right way to go, to jeopardize in a serious way our young people when that can be avoided?
We respect the judgments of our military leaders. It is a civilian decision to go to war, but the military leaders present us with options which they know are to be a last resort.
These costs to the war on terrorism, the loss of life, the cost to our economy, the cost in dollars to or budget, these costs must be answered for. If we go in, certainly we can show our power to Saddam Hussein. If we resolve this issue diplomatically, we can show our strength as a great country, as a great country.
Let us show our greatness. Vote no on this resolution.