Sam Brownback on War & Peace
Republican Sr Senator (KS)
A: I don’t believe that in the least. What I voted for was the war on terrorism. And Afghanistan was where the Taliban was -- where al Qaeda was located; it was run by the Taliban. And we saw in Iraq what we thought was the mixture of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. And it was in 2003, this was in close proximity to 2001, when we had the 9/11 crisis, and I wasn’t about to trust that Saddam Hussein wasn’t going to mix terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. And we haven’t found the weapons of mass destruction, but that doesn’t mean we leave. And I think the Bush administration has generally done well military, and I think the military has done a fabulous job. I think we have done poorly on the political side. That’s what has been poorly done by the Bush administration--it hasn’t been well-handled politically. We’ve got to get a better bipartisan political solution--we can.
PAUL: We shouldn’t have so many injured and in our hospitals because we shouldn’t go to war unless it’s declared. If it’s declared, we should go win it and get it over with. Now we’re in this war for five years or so and nobody sees the end to this.
BROWNBACK: One, I think it’s clear what we need to do at this point in time, and I think we need to talk about at this point in time, where we are. We declared war. We voted in Congress to go to war, Republican and Democrats. People can say things weren’t right, we shouldn’t have done this, shouldn’t have done that. We are where we are today. The military, I believe, has done and is doing a superb job. We have had a terrible political answer on the ground in Iraq.
A: We don’t have a political solution on the ground that works. Iraq is less a country than it is three groups held together by exterior forces. It’s the Kurds in the north, the Sunni in the west, the Shia in the south, and a mixed city in Baghdad. I think we need to recognize that reality. We ought to now push for establishment of a Sunni state in the West. Still one country--but separate states. That’s a political solution that you can take advantage of what the military has done on the ground. That’s what we need to do to move forward now.
Q: If you do that kind of federation, how do you keep the Kurds in the north from fighting with Turkey, how do you keep the Shia from allying with Iran, and how do you keep the Sunnis from rebelling over having no oil resources?
A: How do you do it now? I mean, I think you’re going to need a long-term US presence--particularly in the Kurdish region in the north and the Sunni region in the west--invited by those governments.
A: I think the problem with your question and scenario is that it is an all too likely scenario. What you’re describing is much of the situation that we’re facing today. And you have to also recognize that the founder of the current Iranian regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, said, if we destroy Israel, Allah will reward us. That was his stated policy. That is something that he stated.
I think you have to take the factual setting of what you put forward, take it to the American public and to the Congress, and ask for the authority to use military force for two purposes. Number one purpose is to go after the military forces being developed on the ground and trained on the ground in Iran to attack our people in Iraq, and number two, towards the nuclear weapons development program that the Iranians are working on.
A: There’s another piece to this as well. And that is that you’ve got the military performing. They’re doing an outstanding job, but the political situation continues to deteriorate on the ground in Iraq. You’ve got the Iraqi politicians not even meeting now. You’ve got a weak leadership that’s taking place there. I think the key missing element here is political resolve on the ground. We need a political surge. We need to put a three-state solution in place, like was in Iraq prior to World War I, where you have a north that’s Kurdish, which is right now; a west that’s Sunni, which is right now; and a Shia south, with Baghdad as the federal city. A weak, soft partition: that’s the piece missing.
BROWNBACK: I don’t remember that report. I had a number of briefings. And I held a number of committee hearings. I was chairing the Middle East Subcommittee on Foreign Relations and we held hearings on this topic and what was taking place and what Saddam was doing.
Q: Gov. Gilmore, you chaired the commission on Iraq. Do you think it was appropriate that members of Congress would authorize the president to go to war without reading that NIE?
GILMORE: I think the people who are in Congress who are responsible for sending this country to war, with the enormous dangers that it has geopolitically and strategically, ought to read at least that kind of material. I know they get a lot of stuff and they can’t read everything.
A: I think he made a right call on saying that about terrorist states, particularly Iran. But I think we have to at times talk with them in different situations, like before we went into Afghanistan, we talked with Iran. It wasn’t we were negotiating. We didn’t open up formal diplomatic relations, and we shouldn’t.
A: It’s not about leaving and it’s not about being defeated. It’s about getting the situation to a point that we can turn it over to Iraqis and then us pull back from the front of the line. That’s why I’m putting forward a bill about a three-state solution in Iraq--a Kurdish state, a Sunni state, a Shi’a state--with Baghdad as the federal city, in a loose, weak, federated system, oil revenues equally divided. We will have bipartisan support. We’ve got to pull together here to win over there. A political solution that will be long term and durable.
Q: Is that a good idea to divide up Iraq?
A: It’s not divided. Three states, one country.
A: We’ve got to pull together here to win over there, and I think it is a way for us to pull forward. We’ve got far too many divisions in this government here. We will win if we can pull together, and we can win the war. It’s difficult for us to win with one party for the war and one party against the war.
I condemn the statements of Harry Reid, the majority leader of the Senate, saying we’ve already lost. We haven’t lost. That’s his declaration, but we’ve got to pull people together here. And when we can do that, and when we do that, we will win.
A: I think we win the war by standing up for our values and working with those who will work with us. While we’re in a war on terrorism, we’re partnering with a number of moderate Muslim regimes. And that’s something I think we need to convey into the Muslim world as well, that these are groups--the Al Qaeda group, the militant Islamic fascists--they’re trying to unseat moderate Muslim regimes. And I think we need to engage those regimes--regimes in Pakistan, regimes in Egypt--as long as we also confront those regimes, like in Iran, the lead sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we’ve got to be very confrontational and very aggressive there. So it’s to engage those that’ll work with us, contain and confront those that won’t, and convey that to the Muslim world.
A: Well, I think we have to do both. You have to engage in those countries. We have to engage in Jordan, and I think we need to engage with all the tools of state that we have: economic tools, along with foreign relations, diplomatic & military tools as well. But at the same time, when we do that, you’ve got to confront. You’ve got to confront those that are coming after us. And they’ve been doing this for over a decade--coming at us--from before 9/11. We cannot be weak on this whatsoever. Engage those that’ll work with us, contain and confront those that won’t, and convey that to the Muslim world.
A: That’s not my understanding, but I do agree that we need a political solution. I’ve had my own problems with the surge. But what I think you have to do is mix both the military & the political, to push a 3-state, 1-country solution. But you’re going to need a long-term military presence to ensure that.
A: I think you’re seeing mixed results right now. Anbar, there’s improvements taking place there. The number of attacks in Baghdad are decreasing, but you’re seeing more attacks in other places. I think you’re seeing a mixed set of results. The full scale of the deployment on the surge has not taken place yet. I don’t think we can put a full judgment in.
A: Well, [the public may agree with Democrats] on that opinion, but the date we set a deadline to pull out is the day that al Qaida will declare victory over the US. And much of the world will agree. And I don’t think the US public wants to see that taking place. The problem here is, the solution involves both Republicans and Democrats. I think it evolves more of a political solution on the ground that we don’t have in place in Iraq, and we’re going to need to have a long-term military presence in Iraq or this will continue to have civil war-type features and devolve into a terrorist state. We cannot have that taking place.
The name ‘war on terror’ is a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic. It’s like a war on bombs. It doesn’t say who it is you’re fighting. We’re fighting against a group of people who are dedicated to our destruction. An Islamic fascist militarized definition of Islam.
It is not everybody, it is not a majority of people who practice Islam. But it is a dedicated force. They’re not only after us, they’re after moderate Muslim regimes in the region. They’re dedicated to our destruction.
it’s very clear--look on their website to see what they seek to do. They want to drive the US out of the Middle East and they want to establish an Islamic Caliphate, or an Islamic dictatorship. If you want to know what a caliphate looks like, look at Afghanistan under the Taliban, or the Sudan today, which is on its 2nd genocide.
We must win the war on terrorism. We must see it through. In Iraq, we must see it through
A: I don’t think this is the way to go. I think we have to get to a political solution and that we cannot impose a military solution. I also think we’ve got to come to a bipartisan agreement here of what we can support there for us to actually be able to move forward. The worst thing to happen would be for us to precipitously pull out. But if we don’t start coming together here, Republican and Democrat, and pushing a political solution there, then I don’t think we’re on the right track to move this to some sort of conclusion. We can start getting fewer of our troops killed in Iraq.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since . Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.
"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.
"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text]. That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.
Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.
Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.
Calling for the urgent deployment of a robust and effective multinational peacekeeping mission with sufficient size, resources, leadership, and mandate to protect civilians in Darfur.
Legislative Outcome: Agreed to by Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Whereas President Ahmadinejad stated on June 3, 2007, that 'With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine.... By God's will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future';
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