Lamborn: “There Are Many Flaws”

Today, Colorado’s 5th Congressional Rep. Doug Lamborn weighed in on the floor of the House of Representatives, to the nonbinding resolution to oppose George W. Bush’s plan to send approximately 20,000 new troops to Iraq.

Bloomberg News quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the resolution would reflect that “the American people have lost faith in President Bush’s course of action in Iraq and they are demanding a new direction.”

Indeed, a new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that Americans “overwhelmingly” support capping the number of soldiers sent to Iraq, and bringing the troops home by the end of next year.

But Lamborn, a freshman Republican, called the resolution “deeply flawed,” and one which will send “bad messages” – including that “we are undependable,” “we are weak,” and “we are unable to complete a difficult task.” 

The full prepared text of Lamborn’s comments follow:

February 15, 2007

Thank you for yielding.

Mister/Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution. 

There are many flaws in this resolution.

One of the most serious is that while it gives lip service to a desire to support and protect the troops, it turns around and disapproves of the plan that is best calculated by those commanders on the ground to bring order to Baghdad.

This surge is the best way in the opinion of the Commanders to protect our troops and ultimately lead to victory.  I don’t see how you can claim to protect and support the troops while taking away the best option for victory. 

That brings up another serious flaw in this resolution.

It has no positive alternative. 

The resolution seems to say that we should go on as before, which I thought my colleagues across the aisle said was unacceptable.

Yet another serious flaw is that Members of Congress who are many thousands of miles away from the battlefield are substituting their judgment for that of the commanders on the field.  This is foolish and arrogant.

This gives rise to Constitutional conflict as well.  The Constitution gives the President the power of Commander in Chief.  President Bush, who was re-elected by a vote of the entire American people two years ago, has the duty and authority to conduct the War in Iraq.  Congress has the power to declare war and to fund or not fund war, but does not have the power to conduct a war.  This Constitutional division of powers is vital because, among other things, a clear chain of command is better calculated to lead to victory with the least possible loss of life.  War by committee, on the other hand, does not best serve the interests of our country and our troops.

Because this resolution is so deeply flawed, it will send bad messages if it is passed.  It will send a message to our enemies that we are weak and unable to complete a difficult task. It will send a message to our allies that we are undependable.  It will send a message to the families and loved ones of our fallen soldiers and Marines, and to those who have been disabled, and to the troops in the field, that their sacrifice is in vain, because their mission is not worth our commitment.

These messages will be destructive, and I urge my colleagues not to go down this road.

If America does abandon Iraq, which many of my colleagues across the aisle want to be the ultimate outcome, destruction will spread across the entire Middle East, and will be more likely to come to our own shores.

I know that the struggle against terrorism is difficult, but we cannot give up.  Yes, we must learn as we go, and we must adapt to changing circumstances, but we must not think that retreat will bring relief.  We and the entire world will pay a terrible price if we go down that road. 

This resolution is the first step down that road.

I urge defeat of this resolution.

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Cara Degette

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