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:3/31/00
Speech of Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), March 29, 2000
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, the issue is not whether we should fight drugs. We should. The issue is what is the most effective way to do that. The issue is not whether we like the president of Colombia. I do. The question is whether his country, his society, and his military are reliable reeds to lean on when we are talking about starting a 5-year or more commitment of military involvement.

I would like to once again read some of the comments made by James Hoagland, who I think everyone knows to be an objective, middle-of-the-road, and very sage reporter on international issues. This is some of what he said on March 19:

`In Colombia, the United States pursues unattainable goals largely for domestic political reasons with inappropriate tools.'

Mr. Chairman, I will insert the full text in the Record when we are in the full House, but I am quoting portions now.

He goes on to say, `Questions not being asked, much less answered, now in the rush into quagmire include the following: What happens when it becomes clear of the considered judgment of the U.S. Air Force officers that the Colombian military will not be able to maintain the Blackhawks under the conditions in which they will be flying is shown to be correct? Will the United States replace the helicopters that crash or are shot down at 13 million a copy? Will large numbers of U.S. advisors be provided to maintain the helicopter force? If cocaine exports from South America continue unabated, will 30 more or 300 more Blackhawks be furnished to expand the war?

`Clinton, of course, will not be around to provide the answers. Colombia's first Blackhawks will not arrive until 6 months after he leaves office. His successor will inherent an open-ended military obligation that can be trimmed back or abandoned only at domestic political cost.

`Sound familiar? Do the names Kennedy and Johnson come to mind?'

He then goes on to say, `House Republicans have championed super-sized aid to Colombia with an eye to blasting Clinton and Gore if it is not passed. They are the true catalysts for this foreign policy fiasco. The Clintonites merely show the courage of their cynicism jumping aboard a train they hope will be derailed in the Senate.

`The House Republicans blithely ignore the fact that American demand is at the root of the drug problem more than Colombian supply. They vote down efforts by Representative Nancy Pelosi to add funds for drug treatment at home in the catch-all bill that provides aid to Colombia. They slice out of that same bill $211 million in debt relief for the world's poorest countries. They will shoot away the problems of the Third World.

`That has been tried elsewhere with similar fuzzy and contradictory thinking in Washington at the takeoff. I can only wonder: Where is the Vietnam Syndrome when we really need it?'

I agree with those statements.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173:

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