And it will be darned near impossible for anything to beat this - today or any other day:
(highlighting of lines that made me cheer - by Sandy)
Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Yarmuth).
Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Speaker, 4 years ago I was just like most other Americans, trying to evaluate the President's plan to invade Iraq. Unlike most Americans, I was writing a newspaper column and was expected to take a public position on such a national policy. But like most Americans, I was unburdened by the classified and faulty intelligence provided to Members of Congress.
I concluded and wrote that the claims made to justify the American invasion of Iraq were baseless, that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States, that Saddam Hussein was not in any way connected to the 9/11 attacks, and finally that Iraq was not a safe harbor for al Qaeda.
I also concluded and wrote that we were rushing into Iraq with no idea of what we would do after the Iraqi regime fell, and also that we had no plan for getting out. The point of all of this reminiscing is not to show that I was so smart, nor is it to say that I told you so.
Four years later, as our men and women are still dying in Iraq, the American people know everything there is to know about the situation there. We know as much if not more than the President of the United States. And our ideas about the conflict are just as valid.
That is why this resolution is so important and this debate so significant. Tomorrow we will be voting on what may be only a nonbinding resolution, but it is a resounding and unequivocal expression of the National will. This is not simply a group of Congressmen and women explaining their votes. It is the echo of an overwhelming majority of Americans who are demanding a new direction in Iraq.
It is the sound of scores of people like me who were sent here by citizens to turn the ship of state around. During this momentous debate, we have heard from some on the other side of the aisle that this resolution and the discussion we are having somehow undermine our national interest.
I believe they are selling this institution short. We are displaying for the world what a government of the people, by the people and for the people truly looks like. What we are doing here this week speaks far more clearly and loudly than our bullets and our rockets and even our dollars. When the United States Government so clearly and dramatically reflects the will of its citizens, we may not shock the world, but we make it watch in awe.
James Madison wrote that the role of Congress is to expand and refine the public view. He accurately perceived that on most issues Americans assume that their representatives will consider their opinions and work out the details. In the present situation, I believe the American people are shouting at us that it is time to get our men and women out of harm's way in Iraq.
I will cast my vote not simply to oppose the President's escalation, but as a statement that this Congress will no longer abdicate its responsibility to expand and refine the public view.
Mr. Speaker, today I am as confident about my position as I was 4 years ago. I am confident because I have listened to those who oppose this resolution. I hear only disingenuous rhetoric. The other side accuses us of trying to micromanage the Iraqi conflict, then says we should have our own plan.
They say that we are dishonoring our fallen heroes, but then offer no strategy for honoring them other than to simply send more brave soldiers in their place. They continue to talk about victory and defeat, while virtually everyone agrees that we could never identify or define either.
They say this resolution is an empty political gesture, and then say it is tantamount to surrender. What they do not give us, and more importantly what the President of the United States has not given us, are any reasons to believe that we are succeeding in Iraq, that the current plans increase the odds of our success, that we are any closer to eliminating the threat of terrorism, or finally that the United States is enhancing its image around the world as the beacon of freedom.
We who support this resolution honor and respect our troops. We care deeply about the international reputation of our country. We are unequivocally committed to our Nation's security, and we desperately want America to succeed. By supporting this resolution, we undeniably succeed, because we honor our Nation and its citizens who have entrusted us with the simple, but grave, responsibility to listen to them.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Petri).(Have I mentioned yet today how much I respect and appreciate John Yarmuth?)