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12 February 1998
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 5 minutes.
1998 Ron Paul 11:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, obviously, I am not in the leadership; I do not speak for the leadership. But I do hope that I speak for a lot of people in America and other Members of Congress who may feel differently. I equally condemn the horrors going on in the country of Iraq. I have no desire at all to defend Hussein. I rise, though, to just urge some caution on what we do.
1998 Ron Paul 11:2
I have a problem with the procedure, which we are pursuing, that we are condoning, encouraging and literally paying for a program which permits the President to go and bomb another nation. There was a time in our history when bombing another country, when that country had not attacked us, was an act of war. But today we do this rather casually.
1998 Ron Paul 11:3
Morally, the only justifiable war is a war of defense, a war when our national security is threatened. A legal war in this country is one that is declared by the Congress acting for the people.
1998 Ron Paul 11:4
We have not declared a war. If we had a declared war even once since World War II, possibly we would have fought for victory. Instead, we get involved too carelessly and we do not fight to victory, and maybe that is why we are standing here today debating the consequence of the Persian Gulf war because we really did not achieve victory and the war continues.
1998 Ron Paul 11:5
It is argued that the legislation passed in 1990 gives legitimacy for the President to pursue this adventure, but this really contradicts everything intended by the founders of this country that we could literally pass legislation which was not a declaration of war and to allow it to exist in perpetuity. And here it is 7 or 8 years later, and we are going to use legislation passed by Congress. Very few of us were even in that Congress at that time that are in the current Congress, but they want to use that.
1998 Ron Paul 11:6
Also a contradiction to our established form of government is the fact that that legislation was passed more or less to rubber-stamp a U.N. resolution. So I think those are terms that are not justifiable under our system of law, and I call my colleagues attention to this because this is very serious.
1998 Ron Paul 11:7
I do not care more about military than those who would bomb; they have just as much concern as I have. But I am concerned about the rule of law, and obviously, I am concerned about consequences that are unforeseen, and there could be many.
1998 Ron Paul 11:8
I am worried that we do not have allied support, and everybody recognizes that now. There are very few neighbors of Saddam Hussein who are very anxious for us to do this. So that should cause some reservation.
1998 Ron Paul 11:9
Also the military strategy here is questionable. It is actually what are we going to try to achieve? Are we going to try to literally destroy all the weapons, or are we going to try to destroy him? Are we just going to bomb people where maybe innocent people will be killed? The long-term military strategy has not been spelled out, and I have a concern for that.
1998 Ron Paul 11:10
Also we are not doing real well on the P.R. front because just today on the Reuters wire line there was a report that came out of a television program in Britain, which is rather frightening. Although I have criticized our policy of the 1980s, because during the 1980s we were obviously allies of Saddam Hussein, but the reports on British television now say that both the American Government, both the U.S. Government and the British Government participated and they have the documents, U.S. documents, that document, that say that we did participate in sales of biological weapons to Saddam Hussein, which points out an inconsistency. And I guess all governments have the right to change their minds, but I still think that should caution us in what we do.
1998 Ron Paul 11:11
Nothing is going to happen to the world. Saddam Hussein has not threatened his neighbors since the Persian Gulf war, and surely before we get back in 10 days this is unnecessary.
1998 Ron Paul 11:12
The other side of the aisle suggests that we have a full debate and a resolution in 10 days after we come back. That certainly makes a lot of sense to me. I think at this point to condone and endorse and encourage the President to do something at this late hour when there is essentially no one here in the Chamber, I do not think this is a good way to casually step into something that could be rather dangerous. The resolutions that have been talked about ironically are quite similar to the resolution passed in the 1960s that got us further involved in Vietnam.
1998 Ron Paul 11:13
So, in all sincerity, I come here asking all Members to be cautious and for the President not to move too hastily.