Speeches And Statements

November 19, 2004

Stay out of Sudan's Civil War
House Amendments to Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this ill-conceived, counter-productive legislation. This represents exactly the kind of unconstitutional interventionism the Founding Fathers warned us about. It is arrogant and dangerous for us to believe that we can go around the world inserting ourselves into civil wars that have nothing to do with us without having to face the unintended consequences that always arise. Our steadily-increasing involvement in the civil war in Sudan may well delay the resolution of the conflict that appears to be proceeding without our involvement. Just today, in talks with the UN, the two sides pledged to end the fighting.

The fact is we do not know and cannot understand the complexities of the civil war in Sudan, which has lasted for 39 of that countryís 48 years of existence. Supporters of our intervention in Sudan argue that this is a clear-cut case of Sudanís Christian minority being oppressed and massacred by the Arab majority in the Darfur region. It is interesting that the CIAís World Factbook states that Sudanís Christians, who make up five percent of the population, are concentrated in the south of the country. Darfur is a region in the mid-western part of Sudan. So I wonder about this very simplistic characterization of the conflict.

It seems as if this has been all reduced to a few slogans, tossed around without much thought or care about real meaning or implication. We unfortunately see this often with calls for intervention. One thing we do know, however, is that Sudan is floating on a sea of oil. Why does it always seem that when we hear urgent clamor for the United States to intervene, oil or some other valuable commodity just happens to be present? I find it interesting that so much attention is being paid to oil-rich Sudan while right next door in Congo the death toll from its civil war is estimated to be two to three million - several times the estimated toll in Sudan.

At a time when we have just raised the debt-ceiling to allow more massive debt accumulation, this legislation will unconstitutionally commit the United States to ship some 300 million taxpayer dollars to Sudan. It will also freeze the US assets of certain Sudanese until the government of Sudan pursues peace in a time-frame and manner that the US determines.

Inserting ourselves into this civil war in Sudan will do little to solve the crisis. In fact, the promise of US support for one side in the struggle may discourage the progress that has been made recently. What incentive is there to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict when the US government promises massive assistance to one side? I strongly urge my colleagues to rethink our current dangerous course toward further intervention in Sudan. We may end up hurting most those we are intending to help.