This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:8/6/03
Speech by Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), July 23, 2003

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I have been following events in Colombia since 1957, and I would like to think that the money that we are spending there is well spent and will reach a useful conclusion. I wish I could say that, but after watching that government and that society, especially the economic elite of that society for a long time, I have reluctantly concluded that they simply do not have the will to do what is necessary to win their own battles. I think we have drifted little by little into a long-term sustained financial and political involvement with little expectation of real success.

Oh, I know, people say we have reduced this production here and reduced production there. Baloney. It is like a balloon. It just pops up somewhere else. I remember when one of the members of the Reagan administration's antidrug team came to me privately and told me in despairing terms what a tremendous waste he thought the money was that we were spending in our antidrug campaign in Latin America. And when he told me how little we actually intercepted at our borders, I was blown away, and that has not changed that much.

And so if I thought this money was going to accomplish any useful purpose, I would say, ``Fine, provide it.'' But when I see the economic elite of that country still not making the sacrifices that are required in order to achieve the ends that we say we have, then I think we ought to look for a more useful place to put that money.

But I have a second question. My understanding is that the leadership of the Republican Party from the highest levels on down cares very deeply about our efforts in Colombia. So my question is, if that is the case, why are so many Members of the majority party watching ``Seabiscuit'' tonight? Why was this House shut down for a couple of hours to avoid votes on the House floor so that Members of the Republican leadership structure could enjoy a summer movie?

It seems to me if this issue is important enough for us to provide our money, then it is important enough for the people who believe in it the most and the people who brought about our investment in the program in the first place to be here on the floor defending it. And if they think it is more important to watch ``Seabiscuit'' than to deal with this program, then I think that says volumes about how useful even they think this money is.

So with all due respect to the cries of alarm, I have heard about our antidrug efforts around the world for years and years, those efforts cannot be successful unless they are coupled with a determination on the part of the recipient country to do whatever is necessary to win the battle against drugs. And when that will is absent or when it is weak, then Uncle Sam is simply being taken for Uncle Sucker.

So I would suggest my colleagues pay attention to this amendment. At least that money will be put someplace where it will do some good. And perhaps if this amendment passes tonight, in the future we will not have Members of the majority party running off to

[Page: H7399]
watch ``Seabiscuit'' when something that is supposedly important to the national security is on the floor of this House.

As of August 6, 2003, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030723)

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org