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Paul Ryan on War & Peace

Republican nominee for Vice President; U.S. Rep. (WI-1)


Why didn't we prepare for embassy attack in Libya?

Q: One month ago, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?

RYAN: We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered. [Initially, Obama] sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. Look, if we are hit by terrorists, we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms? This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself. But unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem, that we are watching the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more chaotic and us less safe.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

US needs credibility to have an effect on Iranian nukes

Q: How effective would a military strike against Iran be, to prevent nuclear development?

RYAN: We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability. And talk about credibility. When this administration says that all options are on the table, they send out senior administration officials that send all these mixed signals. In order to solve this peacefully, you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. It's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. It's because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us from putting the tough sanctions in place. Now we have them in place because of Congress. They say the military option's on the table but it's not being viewed as credible, and the key is to do this peacefully, is to make sure that we have credibility. Under a Romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue.

BIDEN: Incredible. These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

Nuclear Iran is worse than war

BIDEN: There is no nuclear weapon that the Iranians have at this point. What are they talking about? Unless he's talking about going to war.

RYAN: Let's look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon; they're spinning the centrifuges faster. We have to change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and they're going faster.

Q: What's worse: another war in the Middle East, or a nuclear-armed Iran?

RYAN: I'll tell you what's worse. A nuclear-armed Iran, which triggers a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This is the world's largest sponsor of terrorism. They've dedicated themselves to wiping an entire country off the map. They call us the Great Satan. And if they get nuclear weapons, other people in the neighborhood will pursue their nuclear weapons as well. We can't live with that.

BIDEN: War should always be the absolute last resort.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

Make Afghan withdrawal succeed by providing resources

Q: Why not leave Afghanistan now?

RYAN: We don't want to lose the gains we've gotten. We want to make sure that the Taliban does not come back in and give al-Qaida a safe haven. We agree with the administration on their 2014 transition. And that means we want to make sure our commanders have what they need to make sure that it is successful so that this does not once again become a launching pad for terrorists.

BIDEN: We went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, al-Qaida. [Ryan & Romney] say it's based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. We are leaving in 2014, period.

Q: What conditions could justify staying?

RYAN: We don't want to stay. We want to make sure that 2014 is successful.

Q: He says we're absolutely leaving in 2014. You're saying that's not an absolute.

RYAN: Do you know why we say that? Because we don't want to broadcast to our enemies, put a date on your calendar, wait us out and then come back.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

No boots on the ground in Syria, but stop acting thru UN

BIDEN: All this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. How would we do things differently? We wouldn't refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he's killing his own civilians. We wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the UN. After international pressure mounted, then President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It's been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country. So the longer this has gone on, the more groups like al-Qaida are going in.

BIDEN: What would you do differently?

RYAN: We would not be going through the UN. Things like embargoes and sanctions and overflights--those are things that don't put American troops on the ground.

Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

Supported the Iraqi Surge; opposed call for sudden retreat

While critical of past mistakes and current political difficulties in Iraq, I have been a strong supporter of new strategies and the accompanying surge in troops that have dramatically reduced violence and causalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Surge has shown dramatic signs of success in enhancing Iraq's security, turning the tide against al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, breaking apart Shi'a death squads, and reducing the need for local militias. Attacks across Iraq have declined.

An even more encouraging sign of the Surge's success can be seen in the stand Iraqi citizens are taking against the terrorists and insurgents. As Iraqi Security Forces take an increasing role in defeating terrorist extremists, American troops will be in a better position to return home with honor and in victory. I oppose calls for sudden retreat, without regard for the conditions on the ground or the ability of the Iraqis to defend themselves, which we would forfeit the progress our troops have already achieved.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

Don't let Afghanistan return to a terrorist training camp

Taliban strongholds have re-established themselves in Afghanistan. As a result, US, coalition & Afghan troops are in the midst of implement the President's new counterinsurgency strategy.

Last year, I visited with our forces and leaders in Afghanistan to receive a first-hand account of our efforts on the ground. I was impressed with the dedication and resolve of our troops. We can all be proud of their representation of our country while in harm's way. Getting the Afghan military and security forces equally organized, trained and equipped is the key to a achieving a stable Afghanistan. In addition, reconstruction efforts and reforming the national government will be vital to our longer term success.

Should we fail, the consequences will be severe. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are anxious to regroup and return Afghanistan to a terrorist training camp. If Afghanistan and Iraq return to being safe havens for terrorists, our way of life and lives will once again be under attack.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

No artificial surrender dates in Iraq and Afghanistan

I will continue to support our troops on ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, without restricting our commanders on the ground with artificial surrender dates as the House Majority had previously sought to do. Rather than playing politics with the troops, I will continue working to provide our troops with the tools, equipment, and supplies they need to complete their mission and return home as soon as possible.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

Remain vigilant in global War on Terrorism

Although we have been successful in warding off another terrorist attack for nearly 10 years since September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda and its allies remain intent on killing innocent people and spreading an ideology of violence and hatred around the world. We must never lose sight of this grave threat to our American ideals, and I believe that we must remain vigilant in our defense of freedom and democracy, even as we face difficult challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on other fronts in the War on Terrorism.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

Voted YES on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval.

RESOLUTION Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of US Armed Forces in Libya, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.
    The House of Representatives makes the following statements of policy:
  1. The US Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the US.
  2. The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon US national security interests for current US military activities regarding Libya.
  3. The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the US Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.
The President shall transmit a report describing in detail US security interests and objectives, and the activities of US Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:
  1. The President's justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.
  2. US political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.
  3. Changes in US political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  4. Differences between US political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.
  5. The specific commitments by the US to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.
  6. The anticipated scope and duration of continued US military involvement in Libya.
  7. The costs of military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.
Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the US States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.
Reference: Resolution on Libya; Bill HRes294 ; vote number 11-HV410 on Jun 3, 2011

Voted NO on removing US armed forces from Afghanistan.

Congressional Summary:
    Directs the President, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, to remove the U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan:
  1. by no later than 30 days after this resolution is adopted; or
  2. if the President determines that it is not safe to remove them by such date, by no later than December 31, 2011.

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.

Reference: Resolution on Afghanistan; Bill HConRes28 ; vote number 11-HV193 on Mar 17, 2011

Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This vote is on referring the impeachment resolution to a Congressional Committee to decide further action (not on impeachment itself).

Congressional Summary: Resolved, That President George W. Bush be impeached for committing the following abuses of power:

Proponents' arguments for voting YEA: Rep. Kucinich: Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring our troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter and I urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution.

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.

Reference: The Kucinich Privilege Resolution; Bill H.RES.1258 ; vote number 2008-401 on Jun 11, 2008

Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days.

To provide for the redeployment of US Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq. Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement. Prohibits the use of DOD funds to increase the number of US forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Authorizes retaining in Iraq US forces for providing security for diplomatic missions; for targeting al-Qaeda; and for training Iraqi Security Forces. Requires the President to transfer to the government of Iraq all interest held by the US in any military facility in Iraq.

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.

Reference: Out of Iraq Caucus bill; Bill H R 2237 ; vote number 2007-330 on May 10, 2007

Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

Reference: Resolution on Prevailing in the Global War on Terror; Bill HRES 861 ; vote number 2006-288 on Jun 12, 2006

Voted YES on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

States that the House of Representatives:
  1. affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
  2. commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
  3. commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
  4. commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Strengthen sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition.

Ryan co-sponsored strengthening sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition

A bill to strengthen sanctions against the Government of Syria, to enhance multilateral commitment to address the Government of Syria's threatening policies, to establish a program to support a transition to a democratically-elected government in Syria.

Source: Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (S2917/HR2332) 08-S2917 on Apr 24, 2008

No contact & enforce sanctions on Iran until threat is gone.

Ryan co-sponsored Iran Threat Reduction Act

Congressional Summary:

  1. Iran Energy Sanctions: Compelling Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other threatening activities can be achieved most effectively through full implementation of all enacted sanctions. Declares that it is US policy to deny Iran the ability to support acts of foreign terrorist organizations and develop unconventional weapons.
  2. Iran Freedom Support: States that specified sanctions regarding Iran shall remain in effect until the President certifies to Congress that the government of Iran has dismantled its nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, and ballistic missile development programs; and ceased its support for international terrorism.
  3. Iran Regime and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Accountability: Prohibits any US person from knowingly conducting any commercial transaction with any IRGC-owned entity or any foreign entity that conducts any transaction with the IRGC.
  4. Iran Financial Sanctions: Divestment from Certain Companies that Invest in Iran; and Prevention of Diversion of Certain Goods, Services, and Technologies to Iran.

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.

Source: H.R.1905 11-H1905 on May 13, 2011

Boycott & sanctions against Iran for terrorism & nukes.

Ryan signed Iran Threat Reduction Act

Source: H.R.1905 11-HR1905 on May 13, 2011

Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.

Ryan co-sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
  1. Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  2. warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  3. urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
  4. expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
  5. expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
  6. strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  7. rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-HJR568 on Mar 1, 2012

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Ryan signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
    States that it should be US policy to:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009

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KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
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Re-seated Former Reps:
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2013 Resignations and Replacements:
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