Floor Remarks by Rep. Gregory W. Meeks on
- March 19 - U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) a member of the
International Relations Committee released today his written remarks
from last night on the House Floor regarding Iraq:
of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman of the Congressional
Black Caucus for his leadership in bringing us to the House floor
to speak to the American people tonight about the Bush administration's
decision to choose war as the best way to make the American people
safe. It is a choice which I believe is wrong.
foremost, in opposing President Bush's decision, let me say unequivocally
I support in every way the men and women of our armed services
and the sacrifices they and their families are being asked to
make. May God bless each and every one of them in this time of
crisis and bring them home safely.
I believe in a strong America. We have more instruments of power
than any nation on Earth. However, our greatest source of power
is our moral clarity and purpose in how we use our strength. Unfortunately,
the Bush administration has failed to understand this.
"As our President
prepares to unilaterally and preemptively use military force against
a nation which is not an imminent threat to us, we may be on the
verge of threatening the very international laws and norms which
are the foundation of global stability. Many of the consequences
of such actions have already become known. America is more isolated
than ever and anti-American sentiment is rising globally. However,
it is the unknown consequences of this administration's choice
for war which will likely be even more dangerous. My single greatest
fear is that this war will jeopardize the help we receive from
moderate Muslim nations in successfully bringing to justice those
who directly attacked us on 9-11 and prevent attacks against Americans
at home and abroad against known imminent terrorist threats.
the President's force dichotomy that our choice was either war
or doing nothing, I believe we do have alternatives to this war.
If Iraq was such a threat, we can continue to use robust inspections,
sanctions, and a military containment box. There are others that
I think are on the list that are much more of an imminent danger
to us here in America, but it is clear to the world that this
war is not really about Iraq's threats to America.
believes that this war is about changing a regime we once supported
and a test case for the Bush administration's doctrine of preemption,
a doctrine that was not just created after 9-11, but a doctrine
that was espoused back in 1991 by many of the same individuals
in the Bush II administration during the Bush I administration.
So it is not a new doctrine that we have to go by because of 9-11;
it is a doctrine that was preached and talked about prior to 9-11
by many members of this administration.
it is a disservice for the strongest Nation in the world to adopt
such a doctrine, because it represents a policy of fear and weakness.
More importantly, it signals a dangerous devaluation of diplomacy
as an instrument of statecraft to the entire world.
there is not a question in my mind that our military will defeat
Iraq, but the real question for America and the world is what
will come next and what damage to the region and international
order will this cause? What will happen in the Arab and Muslim
worlds when the U.S. military occupies Iraq in the name of stability?
In the end, the question is: Will this make America safer? I believe
not. I think we are making a mistake; but may God bless all of
the men and women again that are there, that they may return home
to their families safely."
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