Mazie Hirono on War & Peace
Democratic challenger; Representative (HI-2)
A: Had I been in Congress at the time, I would have voted with the rest of the Hawai‘i delegation against the war. Preemptive strike should not be the basis of our foreign policy--such an act should require a very high threshold of accurate information, which we did not have. The Bush administration misled the country when it entered this war, and has shown no credible plan for winning the peace or for a safe exit strategy. We should get out of the quagmire that is Iraq with a phased redeployment of U.S. forces that begins before the end of 2006 and significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty should also occur. The U.S. should play a leading role in promoting peace in the region. As long as we are at war, we are severely compromised in our ability to do so.
A: Our most pressing foreign policy problem is our reputation in the world as a result of our basically unilateral action in preemptively attacking Iraq. Preemptive strike is not a policy which builds allies and strengthens our position at the global table. The President’s conduct in the war in Iraq influences our country’s ability to lead on a number of other important matters.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Kucinich, D-OH]:The American people oppose this war by a margin of two to one. Nearly 2/3 of Americans say the war isn't worth fighting. We are spending $100 billion per year on this war. There are those who are saying the war could last at least another 10 years. Are we willing to spend another $1 trillion on a war that doesn't have any exit plan, for which there is no timeframe to get out, no endgame, where we haven't defined our mission? The question is not whether we can afford to leave. The question is, can we afford to stay? And I submit we cannot afford to stay. The counterintelligence strategy of General Petraeus is an abysmal failure, and it needs to be called as such.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL]: This resolution would undermine the efforts of our military and our international partners in Afghanistan and would gravely harm our Nation's security. 3,000 people died on Sep. 11 because we walked away once from Afghanistan, thinking that it didn't matter who controlled that country. We were wrong then. Let us not make the same mistake twice. Completing our mission in Afghanistan is essential to keeping our homeland safe. This is about our vital national security interests. It is about doing what is necessary to ensure that al Qaeda and other extremists cannot reestablish safe havens such as the ones they had in Afghanistan when the 9/11 attacks were planned against our Nation and our people. The enemy, indeed, is on the run. It is demoralized and divided. Let us not give up now.
Congressional Summary: Resolved, That President George W. Bush be impeached for committing the following abuses of power:
Rep. Wasserman-Schultz: Impeachment is a lengthy process which would divide Congress and this nation even more deeply than we are divided right now. Referring this resolution to the House Judiciary Committee is the constitutionally appropriate process that should be pursued.
Rep. Ron Paul: I rise, reluctantly, in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq. This bill does not walk away from the Iraqi people. It specifically continues diplomatic, social, economic, and reconstruction aid. Finally, this bill leaves all the decisions on the locations outside of Iraq to which our troops will be redeployed wholly in the hands of our military commanders.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This legislation embraces surrender and defeat. This legislation undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander in chief. Opponents express concern about the effects of an ill-conceived military withdrawal, and about any legislation that places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the military commanders in the field. The enemy we face in Iraq view this bill as a sign of weakness. Now is not the time to signal retreat and surrender. It is absolutely essential that America, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.
Opponent's Comments (Robert Naiman on Huffington Post, Dec. 13, 2011):This bill would restore as policy the "Cooties Doctrine" of the early Bush Administration--US officials can't meet with officials of the adversary, because our officials might get contaminated. It seems highly doubtful that the provision is constitutional, since it tries to micromanage the executive branch in its conduct of foreign affairs. But putting the legal issuesaside, isn't the logic of this provision completely counter to the argument that we voted for in Nov. 2008: that it's ok--indeed, it is wise, prudent, and preferable--for the US to be able to talk to its adversaries?
Result: Bill passed the House on Dec. 15, 2011, by a vote of 410-11 (rollcall vote #927). Referred to Senate, where there was no vote before adjournment.
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