think I have been to Colombia more than any Member of Congress
in the past 10 years. I do not know that for a fact, but I think
so. I have lost track of the trips. And I do not go to Cartagena
and take the carriage ride through the tourist section. I have
been to Neva, I have been to San Jose, I have been to where the
pipeline is that the President wants to spend $98 million of our
tax money to protect a pipeline owned by Occidental Petroleum
through which Colombian National Oil Company oil flows and, by
the way, they had record profits last year.
have got to tell you, every time I come back from Colombia, I
come back with the same sick conclusion, and that is that the
Colombians are going to do their utmost to get us to fight this
civil war for them.
see, what has not been mentioned yet today is unlike the gentleman
from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) who had two sons in Desert Storm,
the Colombians just changed their law to where if you have a high
school diploma, you are exempt from their draft. All of us can
get the gist of that real quick. The politicians' sons are not
going to fight this war. The poor bubba from the countryside,
he does not have a high school diploma, so he goes and gets shot.
Colombians are in the midst of a 38-year civil war, and yet they
have cut their own defense budget in the past three years. Now,
that is a fact.
me tell you what is even worse. When I went to little towns like
Neva, it is probably a big deal in a little town like that for
an American congressman to show up, so their chamber of commerce
came out to meet me. We had a very long visit. We drank a few
beers. They were amazingly honest.
said, "Guys,'' I was trying to compare their tax load to
ours. I said, "What do you all pay in taxes?'' These were
bankers, these were lawyers, these were the local mayor, the civic
leaders. Their answer was, "We don't pay taxes. Yes, they
are on the books, but we don't pay them.''
see, Americans do pay taxes, and what I really resent is a country
where they pride themselves on not paying taxes, where they pride
themselves on their kids avoiding military service, asking people
in Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia, whose kids do volunteer
to serve our country, to go fight their war for them.
think the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) is exactly
right. And I will take it a step further. I want to make this
as personal as I can. I think it is insane for this Nation to
spend $98 million to protect a pipeline that Occidental Petroleum
owns with American lives.
am going to make this as personal as humanly possible. President
Bush, I will send my kids to guard that pipeline when you send
your kids to guard that pipeline. Because I do not think you are
going to see your daughters down there, and I sure as heck do
not want to see my daughters or my son down there.
the Colombians do not take their civil war seriously, then we
should not either. My God, all day long we have been talking about
being for the troops. Is not the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sam
Johnson) proof positive what goes wrong when good kids go off
to fight a war that our Nation does not really understand, that
a Nation maybe should not be involved in? This is that case.
this is dead serious. I shut down the House two weeks ago because
I wanted a vote on this. I cannot go to a funeral in Wiggins,
I cannot go to a funeral in Louisville, I cannot go to a funeral
in Waynesboro, and look somebody in the eye and say your son or
daughter died doing the best thing for America.
is not about America. The FARC and the ELN have gone out of their
way not to target Americans. In 20 years, only 10 Americans have
died in Colombia. They do not want us in their war. It is their
war, and it is not worth sending my kids or your kids to die in.
They do not even pay their own taxes. Their kids do not serve.
So why on good God's good earth are we going to send our tax money
and our kids to fight in it? Please support the Skelton-McGovern
amendment. Do not waste one American life needlessly.
Taylor represents Mississippi's fifth congressional district.