Scenic photo of Dismals Canyon

Congressman Aderholt Votes for American Troops and Victory in Iraq

February 16, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The following statement was submitted to the Congressional Record from Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) today in opposition to the Iraq resolution brought to the floor by House Democrats.

House Concurrent Resolution 63, disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq, passed the House this afternoon by a vote of 246 to 182.

Congressman Aderholt voted against the resolution.

“Today is a day that we will look back on and know that fundamental decisions regarding our nation’s history were made. 

The discussions that we are engaged in will go a long way in determining our future in the ongoing Global War on Terror and Iraq’s role in that fight.  When this vote is cast on the non-binding, Democratic resolution, we will be sending a message to the world.  The only question remaining is what message will we send?

Will we say that America remains steadfast against the rising tide of hate and intolerance offered by militant Islamists?  Will we say that we don’t have the stomach to finish the fight against terrorists who actively seek to kill us and destroy our way of life?

The war in Iraq has become such a flashpoint that we struggle to separate the politics of the situation from the reality.  The politics attacks the intelligence that led us to war, questions our nation’s elected leadership, and condemns the decisions made along the way.  It leads to the resolution that we now have before us.  The reality recognizes that we are at war now and our troops are putting their lives on the line each and every day.  It says that if this is a fight that we believe in, a fight against global terrorism, we must do everything possible to support the men and women who are carrying it out on our behalf and never giving a hint to the contrary.

Unfortunately we are at a point today where some have forgotten exactly who and what we are fighting. 

Prior to 9/11, we failed to understand the hate of people like Osama bin Laden and what could result from it despite all evidence to the contrary. 

• In 1979, 66 American diplomats were held hostage in Iran for 444 days. 
• In 1983, 241 Marines were killed in Beirut when their barracks was attacked.
• Militant Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. 
• 225 people were killed in attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. 
• And, in 2000, 17 American sailors were killed when Al-Qaeda attacked the U.S.S. Cole.

Today we are at a historic crossroads: we either boldly tackle the issue of militant Islam that exists on the Iraqi front and is part of this world-wide struggle, applying the lessons we have learned from the years leading up to 9/11, or we approach the issue as we naively demonstrated before 9/11 and expect more attacks and more American deaths.

The war in Iraq has gone on longer than any of us would have wished.  We’ve seen too many funerals for too many sons and daughters, husbands and wives.  To all those who have lost a friend or loved one, our hearts go out to you.

It should be noted that mistakes have been made, of that there can be no doubt.  We must know without question what led us to this point, and that time will come.  But now is not that time.  Not while we still have American service men and women in harm’s way.  History will play its part, teaching us our mistakes and urging us not to repeat them.  But we don’t have the luxury of waiting on history to pass its judgment. 

Without resolve, it is certain we will fail in Iraq and there will be far-reaching consequences for our nation, the region and ultimately the world.  Since September 11, there have been major terrorist attacks in Karachi, Bali, Moscow, Casablanca, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, London and Amman.  If we allow the terrorists present in Iraq to win, we can expect more of the same.  We can expect to see another Afghanistan – a puppet government established to support and back the aims of their terrorist masters.  This is totally unacceptable.

Victory in Iraq is our only option.  It is the only path through which we can hope for peace.  Without victory, our terrorist enemies gain confidence in their opposition to the United States and their ability to defeat us militarily.  We embolden them and offer them the opportunity to further their attacks against American men, women and children. 

The resolution that we are debating will send a message to the world.  What will that message be?  My fervent hope and prayer is that it will be a message of resolve, a message of strength, a message of victory. 

Now is the time to support our troops in the field unequivocally and vote against this non-binding resolution.  We don’t want anyone to construe our action here today as not fully supporting our men and women who serve us in Iraq.”