Today, Congressman Brian Higgins made the following remarks on the House floor prior to Congressional approval for H.Con.Res 63:
This week, the House considers a non-binding resolution concerning the Iraq war, and expresses the unequivocal support of this body for American troops serving in Iraq, and for their families.
This resolution expresses opposition to the President’s planned surge, escalation, augmentation – call it what you will. But what this resolution opposes is this administration’s deeper commitment to its fundamentally and deeply flawed military strategy.
The fact is that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lacks the authority or the will to confront the Shiite militias; to do so would result in a major confrontation with militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, without whom that government has little support.
These dangerous Iraqi alliances – and the compelling evidence of an Iranian alliance – demonstrates clearly the weakness of the National Unity Government, and how pathetically dependent this administration is on them for success in Iraq.
Madam Speaker, the American people deserve better.
"Surging" troop levels in Iraq was attempted in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Each time it failed to reduce violence and only served to inflame anti-American sentiment. Under the President’s plan, it is still American troops that will do most of the fighting, and the dying.
For any decent outcome in Iraq, the President has to be serious about setting and enforcing deadlines. The President needs to demand that Prime Minister Maliki stop protecting the militias and make clear that there will be serious consequences if he continues to do so.
The problem in Iraq today is the same as it was when this conflict started: American war planners never provided the resources to successfully create a vital and secure center from which a functioning democratic society could evolve.
The history is clear. Modern Iraq was born out of a strong and unified nationalist aspiration in the early 20th century. In 1921, Shia, Sunni, Christians and Jews stood united against the British and peacefully created and coexisted in a new ethnically diverse Iraq.
Then, Iraqis prayed in one another’s Mosques. Today, Shia and Sunni militias bomb each other’s Mosques with impunity. Last month, 70 college students were slaughtered by a car bomb in Baghdad, and Iraqi weddings and funerals are regular targets of suicide bombers.
These are called revenge killings and they are carried out in the name of destiny, in the name of God.
Where is the outrage? Where is the condemnation for these atrocities in the Arab Muslim community? Nowhere does the Koran talk of revenge killings, violence, hate or intolerance. The Koran describes the Prophet Muhammad as the Prophet of Mercy, and at the core of Islamic belief are compassion, forgiveness and tolerance – to you, your faith, and to me, mine.
Absent the real possibility for a functioning society, economy and military, the National Unity Government of Iraq cannot succeed because it lacks legitimacy in the very eyes of those it seeks to govern. Elections and forming governments are symbols of democracy, but legitimacy in the eyes of the governed is the substance of democracy, and that of free and open societies throughout the world.
In the final analysis, Madam Speaker, this resolution represents and important first step toward increasing Congressional oversight as a vital check on this administration’s management of the war in Iraq. This step represents the will of the American people and will force this administration, at long last, to consider the wisdom of continuing the course it has taken over the past several years – a course that can only be judged by any objective analysis as an abject failure.