Saturday, August 23, 2008


The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Delaware is recognized.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, our troops don't lose wars; bad policy and bad leadership lose wars. We should have the courage to stand up and tell the administration they have had a God-awful policy. They put our troops in a position that, in fact, has made it virtually impossible for them to succeed at the outset. They deserve a policy, a plan, but there is no plan.

We went to war with too few troops, we went to war unnecessarily, and we went to war with men and women who were ill-equipped, and they are coming home ill-served. It is about time we have the courage to stand up and say to the President: Mr. President, you have not only put us in harm's way, you have harmed us. You have no policy, Mr. President.

I am so tired of hearing on this floor about courage. Let's have the courage to tell the administration to stop this ridiculous policy they have.

We are taking sides in a civil war. I was there in Srebrenica. I was in Tuzla. I was in Sarajevo. I was in Brcko in the Balkans. How did we solve that? We solved that with a policy of separating the parties.

This is a cycle of self-sustaining sectarian violence that 20,000, 30,000, 50,000, 100,000 Americans will not be able to stop. This is ridiculous. There is no plan. I ask the President and everyone else who comes forward with a plan, whether it is capping or surging or whatever they have: Will it answer the two-word test: Then what? Then what? Then what? What happens after we surge these women and men?

And by the way, he said General Petraeus is one who believes. He may be the only one who believes this is a good idea. Virtually no one else thinks it is a good idea. Look, in this story about the Constitution, we gave the President specific authority, which is our responsibility. It was to take down Saddam, if need be, it was to get rid of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and it was to get compliance with the U.N. resolution. Every one of those have been met. Saddam is dead, there were no weapons, and Iraq is in compliance with the U.N.

So if one wants to be literal about it, his mission no longer has the force of law. Everyone I have spoken with, including from the Biden-Gelb plan straight through to the Iraq Study Group, says: Look, use our troops wisely; use them wisely. What are their missions? We have the right and obligation constitutionally, and we should have the courage constitutionally, to exercise our responsibility to say: Why are our troops there?

Did anybody on this floor, did anybody count on the utter incompetence of this administration when they were getting the authority they were getting? Absolute incompetence. I stood on this floor 3 years ago saying we need another 100,000 troops before the sectarian violence became self-sustaining and warned, as others did, that once it did, all the king's horses and all the king's men could not hold that country together.

So what is our objective here? Our objective is to leave Iraq relatively stable within its own borders, not a threat to its neighbors and not a haven for terror.

What is the President and my friend from Arizona and others insisting on? What can never be: a central government that is a democracy that is going to be fair to the rest of its citizens. It is not possible, mark my words.

So as long as the President keeps us on this ridiculous path, taking us off a cliff, I ask my colleagues: Does anybody think they are going to be able to sustain keeping American forces in Iraq at 160,000 for another year and a half? What do you think? What do you think is going to happen in Tennessee, in Delaware, in Illinois? Are we going to break this man's and woman's Army? What are we going to do here? How many times do we have to ask those 175,000 marines to rotate, three, four, five, six, seven times?

And what is the President's political solution? I love this. Everyone says there is no military solution, only a political solution. Name me one person who has come up with a political solution--one--other than me and Les Gelb.

There is a political solution. It is what history teaches us. When there is self-sustaining sectarian violence, there is only one of four possibilities:

They either, one, expire, kill one another off; two, you impose a dictator; three, you have an empire; or, four, you have a Federal system.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 30 more seconds.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I am tired of hearing about courage. The only courage being evidenced in this country is by those folks out on the battlefields getting shot at, getting killed. Why are they there? Let's get on with this. This is the only rational way to move.

All this malarkey about cutting off funds--this is about the mission.

Mr. President, you are leading us off a cliff. Stop.


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