Statement on H Res 1194, "Reaffirming the support of the House of Representatives
for the legitimate, democratically-elected Government of Lebanon under Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora."
I rise in opposition to H. Res. 1194 because it
is dangerously interventionist and will likely lead to more rather than less
violence in the Middle East.
I have noticed that this legislation reads eerily similar to a key clause in
the 2002 Iraq war bill, H J Res 114, which authorized the use of force.
The key resolved clause in H. Res. 1194 before us today reads:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives
(A) the United States Government and the international community to immediately
take all appropriate actions to support and strengthen the legitimate Government
of Lebanon under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora;
The Iraq war authorization language from 2002 is strikingly similar, as you
can see here:
(a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of
the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing
threat posed by Iraq;
I am concerned that this kind of similarity is intentional and will inevitably
result in US military action in Lebanon, or against Syria or Iran.
I am also concerned over the process of bringing this resolution to the Floor
for a vote. I find it outrageous that H. Res. 1194, which calls for more risky
US interventionism in the Middle East, is judged sufficiently "non-controversial"
to be placed on the suspension calendar for consideration on the House Floor
outside of normal order. Have we reached the point where it is no longer controversial
to urge the president to use "all appropriate actions" with the
unmistakable implication that force may be used to intervene in the domestic
affairs of a foreign country?
Mr. Speaker, the Arab League has been mediating the conflict between rival
political factions in Lebanon and has had some success in halting the recent
violence. Currently, negotiations are taking place in Qatar between the Lebanese
factions and some slow but encouraging progress is being made. Regional actors
who do have an interest in the conflict have stepped up in attempt
to diffuse the crisis and reach a peaceful solution, and press reports today
suggest that a deal between the rival factions may have been reached. Yet at
this delicate stage of negotiations the US House is preparing to pass a very
confrontational resolution pledging strong support for one side and condemning
competing factions. US threats in this resolution to use "all appropriate
actions" to support one faction are in fact a strong disincentive for factions
to continue peaceful negotiations and could undermine the successes thus far
under Arab League moderation.
This legislation strongly condemns Iranian and Syrian support to one faction
in Lebanon while pledging to involve the United States on the other side. Wouldnt
it be better to be involved on neither side and instead encourage the negotiations
that have already begun to resolve the conflict?
Afghanistan continues to sink toward chaos with no end in sight. The war in
Iraq, launched on lies and deceptions, has cost nearly a trillion dollars and
more than 4,000 lives with no end in sight. Saber rattling toward Iran and Syria
increases daily, including in this very legislation. Yet we are committing ourselves
to intervene in a domestic political dispute that has nothing to do with the
This resolution leads us closer to a wider war in the Middle East. It involves
the United States unnecessarily in an internal conflict between competing Lebanese
political factions and will increase rather than decrease the chance for an
increase in violence. The Lebanese should work out political disputes on their
own or with the assistance of regional organizations like the Arab League. I
urge my colleagues to reject this march to war and to reject H. Res. 1194.