Tom Tancredo on War & Peace
Republican Representative (CO-6)
The founders of this country knew very well what would happen to us if we ended up with 535 generals in the Congress. And that is, you lose wars. You need a commander in chief. And then the Congress has every right to be involved in it. It has every right to talk about this and to condemn it if you donít agree with it. But you know what? It ends up with this. If you donít want it, donít fund it. But you cannot micromanage it from the Congress of the United States.
A: One of the most important things we can do with Iran is to look at the Iranian people themselves. There is a great deal of dissent inside Iran. We certainly donít immediately, you know, use the button. We immediately donít go to war. But I also tell you that we cannot back away from this situation, and we cannot be threatened in that way. If itís required, action has to be taken & a president has to do that.
A: Well, I hope and pray that the surge works. But let me get back to a central point here, and that is why weíre there and in fact, with whom we are at war. The war is not actually in Iraq. The war is with radical Islam. Thatís who we are at war with. And we have to understand it, Iraq is a battlefield in that war. In order for us to be successful there, we have to disengage as the police force in Iraq. But we cannot leave the country. We cannot leave because this is not a war that will end with our departure. I wish that were the case. Wouldnít that be wonderful if thatís all it would take, for us to say weíll withdraw all of our troops and weíll never have another thing to worry about? But we were not attacked because we had troops in Saudi Arabia; I donít believe it. We were attacked because radical Islam wants to destroy the United States of America and any part of this world that they do not agree with.
A: There are a number of things, of course, with regard to Iraq that I think we have found some common ground on, but the reality is this: that it is absolutely true I think that we are in a war with radical Islam. That is the war. A battle is being fought in Iraq. Now, can we win the military battle on the ground? Yes, we can. Our guys are the best in the world, and cannot be faulted in any way.
I unveiled a statue in my district for a Navy SEAL. He is dead because the rules of engagement did not allow them to do what they needed to do over there. That is unacceptable. In the broader picture, of course, we have to do something about the fact that there is no political or economic solution being developed by the Iraqis. And you have to push them into it. America cannot be the police force in Iraq. It cannot remove itself entirely from Iraq, but Iraq has got to take control of Iraq.
A: Yes, the State Department--boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say, Iíll tell you right now. My task as president is primarily to do one thing--not to make sure everybody has health care or everybodyís child is educated--my task is to do one thing: to protect and defend this country. And that means to deter--and I want to underline ďdeterĒ--any kind of aggression, especially the type we are threatened with by Al Qaida, which is nuclear attack. I read the national intelligence estimate. I see what they are planning. And Iím telling you right now that anybody that would suggest that we should take anything like this off the table in order to deter that kind of event in the United States isnít fit to be president.
A: The president said, ďI am establishing a benchmark of November for the Iraqi government to be in control of all 18 provinces of Iraq.Ē I believe that that is a good benchmark to set. I will support him in that effort, & I will support our troops while they are in the field in every single way I can. That is my responsibility as a member of Congress.
PAUL: No. [Abandoning our tradition of] non-intervention was a major contributing factor. They attack us because weíve been over there; weíve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.
TANCREDO: Whether Israel existed or didnít, whether or not we were in the Iraq war or not, they would be trying to kill us because itís a dictate of their religion, at least a part of it, and we have to defend ourselves.
GIULIANI: I was talking about the timetable for retreat that the Democrats passed, in which they did something Iíve never heard of in the history of war, which is to give your enemy a schedule of how a retreating army is going to retreat. That was highly irresponsible. What the Republicans suggested isnít the right approach either.
Q: Rep. Tancredo, you are one of those congressional Republicans who talks about disengaging from Iraq. You have talked about November as a timeframe for beginning to pull some of our troops back from the frontlines.
TANCREDO: We are going to have troops in Iraq or in the region for a long time. The question is, will the troops be a constabulary force, which I do not believe they should be? Will they be a supporting force for the Iraqi government, which I believe they should be?
A: There are two kinds of Irans that we are going to have to deal with here: one headed by a gentleman who believes that he is going to be responsible for the coming of the 12th imam; and a guy with a bomb, that should put us in the position of saying that anything we can do to stop that is imperative. And if Israel is put in that position, and we need to be involved in order to protect both ourselves and the Israelis, then of course we respond in the appropriate fashion.
Q: If the prime minister asks you for help, you say you will say yes?
A: Well, there are conditions, of course, under which we would say yes. But if there is a threat to the existence of Israel, which is a potential threat to the existence of the United States, then you have to come to the aid of Israel.
A: I would not have and I did not support that, whether you want to call it a surge or a reinforcement or whatever, & I didnít because primarily I listened to the people on the ground, I listened to the generals who were in charge of the operation. Every single commander on the ground--not one of them supported such an increase or believed that it was necessary, and in fact, would be counterproductive because it would only make the Iraqis more dependent on the US. I think that the increase in the number of troops that weíve sent to Iraq is simply the beginning of the end game. We are leaving Iraq, relatively soon.
Q: Is the US going to leave with a defeat or with a victory?
A: It remains to be seen, quite frankly. We donít know. But Iím telling you that we are going to be leaving.
A: I am worried about it. I feel as though we have, just as you say, stretched them as far as they can be stretched. Look, it could have been and, in fact, was a noble endeavor. No one should go back on and no one should have recriminations about the fact that we tried. But at the point in time we now are looking at the situation, Iím telling you that we must begin the process of withdrawal from Iraq. It is not helping us in the all-out war, the bigger war against radical Islam.
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.
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.
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