Ron Paul
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 99

East Timor

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28 September 1999

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL).

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1999 Ron Paul 99:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution, not because I lack concern for the serious problems that the East Timorese are undergoing, and not for lack of humanitarian concerns for this group of people or anybody in the world. It is just that there is another side to the argument for us intervening. And, besides, we helped create the problem in Indonesia.

1999 Ron Paul 99:2
In the 1970’s, we were very supportive of the Indonesian Government in their takeover of East Timor after it became independent from Portugal. So once again, here we are intervening.

1999 Ron Paul 99:3
I would like to advise my colleagues that we are not just endorsing a humanitarian effort to help people who are suffering. We are literally giving the President carte blanche to go and commit war in this area. We are committing ourselves to troops, and it is an open-ended policy.

1999 Ron Paul 99:4
We complained a whole lot about what was happening in Kosovo. And that operation has not ended. It is continuing. This is just another example of being involved, although with good intentions, but with unintended consequences just hanging around the corner.

1999 Ron Paul 99:5
I would like to point out that some of those unintended consequences can be rather serious. I would like to call my colleagues’ attention to number 11 under the resolve clause, making these points. Number 11 says it “expresses support for a rapid and effective deployment throughout East Timor of the United Nations Security Council-endorsed multilateral force.” This means troops.

1999 Ron Paul 99:6
Our Security Council has already decided to send troops to East Timor. What we are doing today is rubber stamping this effort to send troops into another part of the world in a place where we have no national security interests. We do not know what victory means. We do not know what lies ahead.

1999 Ron Paul 99:7
In addition, under number 13, it “expresses approval of United States logistical and other technical support for deployment of a multinational force for East Timor.” Troops, that is what it means, endangerment and risk that this could escalate.

1999 Ron Paul 99:8
Under number 13, there is another part that concerns me a great deal. In the 1970s, we passed the War Powers Resolution. Both conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats endorsed the notion that Presidents should be restrained in their effort to wage war without declaration.

1999 Ron Paul 99:9
Once again, we are endorsing the concept that, if we just subtly and quietly endorse a President’s ability and authority to go into a foreign country under the auspices of the United Nations, we do not have to deal with the real issue of war. But under 13(B), it explicitly restates the fact that a President in this situation can at least wage war for 60 days before we have much to say about it.

1999 Ron Paul 99:10
I think this is dangerous. We should be going in the other direction. This is certainly what was expressed many, many times on the floor during the Kosovo debates. But we lost that debate, although we had a large number of colleagues that argued for non-involvement. We are now entrenched in Kosovo, and we are about to become entrenched in East Timor, not under the auspices of the United States, but under the United Nations.

1999 Ron Paul 99:11
I do not see that the sanctity and the interests of the United States will be benefitted by what we are getting ready to do.

1999 Ron Paul 99:12
Number 16 under the resolved clause, “recognizes that an effective United States foreign policy for this region requires both an effective near-term response to the ongoing humanitarian violence in, and progress toward independence for, East Timor.”

1999 Ron Paul 99:13
If we decide that we have to fight for and engage troops for everybody who wants to be independent, we have a lot of work ahead of us. And, in addition, in the same clause, “and a long-term strategy for supporting stability, security and democracy.”

1999 Ron Paul 99:14
This is a major commitment. This is not just a resolution that is saying that we support humanitarian aid. This is big stuff. The American people ought to know it, the Members of Congress ought to know it.

1999 Ron Paul 99:15
This resolution became available to me just within the last 20 minutes. It has been difficult to know exactly what is in it, and yet it is very significant, very important; and we in the Congress should not vote casually and carelessly on this issue. This is a major commitment. I think it is going in the wrong direction, and we should consider the fact that there are so often unintended consequences from our efforts to do what is right.

1999 Ron Paul 99:16
I understand the motivation behind this, but tragically this type of action tends to always backfire because we do not follow the rule of law. And the rule of law says if we commit troops, we ought to get the direct and explicit authority from the Congress with a war resolution. This, in essence, is a baby war resolution, but it is a war resolution.

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