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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Cynthia McKinney (R-Georgia), March 29, 2000
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Georgia (Ms. McKinney).


[TIME: 1330]

Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Chairman, if this bill were not so serious, I would think it is a joke. Once again, the United States is proposing a huge military alliance with the foreign military known for its human rights abuses.

Now, you think we would have learned our lesson by now. How long ago was it that Bill Clinton went to Guatemala and apologized for fueling that country's generation-long slide into chaos? But just a year later you can say here we go again.

No one seriously denies the link of paramilitary groups to the Colombian government, and here we are going to turn over to known human rights abusers the means by which they can perfect their trade.

As we stand here on the floor today, 3,000 union leaders, students, parents, shopkeepers and others are standing before 3,000 armed Colombian soldiers, forming a human shield to protect the peaceful U'wa people that the Colombian government wants to move off their ancestral land to make way for Occidental Petroleum's oil rigs. We should be standing with the people, not giving aid and encouragement to Colombia's brutal military.

We should have learned our lessons well about going in with the military where only diplomacy should be allowed to tread. Unfortunately, it appears that we have not. Because in addition to Plan Colombia, this bill also provides an additional $5 billion to keep us in Kosovo, another failed military blunder that diplomacy should have resolved.

After our military gambit in Kosovo, we have left 31,000 rounds of depleted uranium rounds and 50 percent unemployment, in some areas rising to 85 percent. The crumbling infrastructure is yet to be rebuilt, and our European allies have not lived up to the commitments they made at the beginning of that adventure.

Time and time again, this Congress commits our troops to military adventures without a plan to bring them home. Last year, U.S. aircraft flew over 1,000 sorties in Iraq, nearly a decade after that war was supposedly over. In Kosovo, our limited military engagement has turned into a permanent occupation. Now we are being asked to fund the Vietnamization of Barry McCaffrey's war without an exit strategy or end game.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to reject this so-called emergency amendment.

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

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