Sam Johnson on Iraq: Withdrawal is not an option
Washington, Nov 18 - Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) delivered the following closing statement on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of American troops in Iraq. The day before U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a House Democrat, advocated pulling out U.S. troops from Iraq by introducing his own resolution. The bill failed by a vote of 403-3.
Watch the video.
A 29-year Air Force veteran, Johnson spent nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam.
“Mr. Speaker – I rise today on behalf of the American men and women in uniform – and their families.
“I spent 29 years in the Air Force – served in Korea and Vietnam… and spent seven years as a POW in Vietnam – more than half of that time in solitary confinement.
“I know what it’s like to be far from home – serving your country – risking your life – and hearing that America doesn’t care about you… Your Congress doesn’t care about you. Your Congress just cut all funding for your war. They’re packing up and going home – and leaving you here.
“When I was a POW, I was scared to death when our Congress talked about pulling the plug that I would be left there forever.
“I know what it does to morale – I know what it does to the mission – and so help me God, I will never, ever let our nation make those mistakes again. Never.
“Our men and women in uniform need our full support. They need to know that when they’re in Iraq driving from Camp Blue Diamond to Camp Victory that the Congress is behind them –
to give them the best armored trucks they can drive, the best weapons they can fire, and the best ammunition they can use.
“They need to have full faith that a few nay-sayers in Washington won’t cut and run – and leave them high and dry. They need to know these things because that’s mandatory for mission success and troop morale.
“America – and the Congress – must stand behind our men and women in uniform because they stand up for us every minute of every day!
“Any talk – even so much as a murmur – of leaving now– just emboldens the enemy and weakens the resolve of our of troops in the field. That’s dangerous! If you don’t believe me – check out Al Jazeera. This story is on the front page. We can’t do that to our fellow Americans over there.
“Mr. Speaker – we’re making great progress in Iraq.
“Remember in January how we saw pictures from Iraq of that first election. For weeks the media predicted gloom and doom. Remember that? What did we see? We watched people as they waited in lines for hours – defying death threats – just to cast their vote for democracy.
“Remember the picture of the woman in a black head cover flashing her purple finger in the V after voting in the first Iraqi elections. It was a breakthrough for democracy – and it was just the beginning.
“Remember the recent vote on the referendum -- when people came out in droves to make their voice heard. You wouldn’t have known about it because there was so little mention of it here in the American press – but people got out there and they voted – they showed their support for a democracy –a new government, hope and a future.
“These people are thirsting for something more – they’re risking their lives in the name of a new government – and we must stay the course if we want to foster a stable Iraq and create hope for millions in the Middle East.
“And our work is paying off -- not just at the ballot box. Remember when we were waking up that Sunday morning in shock as we caught Saddam Hussein cowering in a rat-hole. He’s gone.
And you know what, at least 46 of Hussein’s 55 most wanted regime members are either dead or incarcerated.
“Nationwide, thousands and thousands of police officers have been hired and nearly 200,000 Iraqi soldiers are trained and serving their country.
“It’s going to take time – but our guys on the ground are working with other nations to make inroads to create leadership and inspire democracy in a country that has only known hate, fear, and death from a ruler.
“However, sadly – some here want to embolden the enemy by saying we just cut and run. That’s just irresponsible and unconscionable.
“I have to ask – What would Iraq be like if the United States pulled out -- allowing dangerous people like the head of al-Qaida, Zarqawi, to run the country? What would that mean for the region? The world?
“Al Qaida rules with death, fear, terror and blood. Al Qaida takes innocent people hostage – then beheads them – and then brags about it on the internet.
“Al Qaida has no respect for human life. They prey on innocent people to do their dirty work – because they know we don’t target schools and hospitals and mosques – yet those are the exact places that they’re using for safe cover.
“Al Qaida will kidnap loved ones – especially very young children - of people trying to build democracy – like local leaders – to scare them out of helping out the new country. They’re taking kids hostage – because parents want a new life and a better future for their children. Why is that such a crime?
“What part of Al Qaida do you want operating here in America?
“Al Qaida is a world-wide organization and world-wide threat. I don’t want any part of this. Americans don’t want, need or deserve al Qaida. Our troops are over in Iraq fighting not just for our freedom and protection – but freedom for the world.
“We must fight the bad guys over there – not over here. WE must support our troops to the hilt so they don’t go to bed at night – covered in talcum-powder thin white sand wondering – “Does America really support me.”
“In case people have forgotten, this is the same thing that happened in Vietnam. Peaceniks and people in Congress – and America - started saying bad things about what was going on over there. Let me tell you what it did for troop morale. It’s a real downer. I just pray our troops and their families can block this noise out and know that I will fight like mad to make sure our troops have everything they need - for as long as they need - to win the global war on terrorism.
“Withdrawal is not an option!
“I hope and pray every Member of Congress stands up and says to our troops ‘THANK YOU’ and ‘AMERICA SUPPORTS YOU.’ To them I say, God bless you and I salute you.”
And who does the media fawn over? John Murtha.................