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Last Updated:3/31/00
Statement of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), March 30, 2000
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I would first like to assure the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) that I am not dealing with a fly, a gnat, or a flea with my amendment. I would rather not categorize this as dealing with an elephant for obvious reasons.

But I would like to say that my amendment deals with what I consider a monster, and that monster to me is careless foreign military interventionism in which we engage way too often and something we are getting ready to further engage ourselves now in Colombia.

I am quite convinced that, when most of the Members go back to their districts, they never brag and they never say that, `I go to Washington, and I always vote for the United States to be the policemen of the world. I enjoy deferring to the United Nations and NATO forces for us to pursue some of our policies overseas.' Quite frankly, I believe most of us go home and say that we do not believe that the United States should be the policemen of the world.

Earlier on, we debated the issue of whether or not our allies are paying their fair share, and it is obvious they are not. So not only do we defer to them for policy and we extend ourselves throughout the world, we actually end up paying the bill, as most American citizens know.

Last year, when we were dealing with Kosovo and our initial involvement in there, we had several votes on the floor dealing with the sentiment of the Congress. For the most part, the sentiment was strongly opposed to our military troops being placed in Kosovo.

But, unfortunately, when it came time to deal with the funding, we were all too anxious to permit and authorize and appropriate the money to go into Kosovo. Today we are continuing to fund our activities in Kosovo as well as Bosnia, East Timor, and now with plans to go into South America, principally Colombia.

My amendment deals with this. It would strike these funds, and it would permit funds to be used in Kosovo to bring troops home. Some people argue that if we strike funds for areas like Kosovo, that we are deserting our troops and it will be detrimental to their morale. Quite the opposite. I think it would absolutely be helpful, because the morale of our servicemen cannot get much lower. The morale is low because they do not know what their real function is in areas where we're involved. They have become policemen dealing with local laws as well as Peace Corps type operators.

The morale would be tremendously helped by bringing these troops home. This is what this amendment deals with. And it strikes the funding for the expansion of our efforts in Central America.

In Colombia, there are a lot of weapons already, and we are responsible for 80 percent of them. There is one irony about this bill that strikes me. The administration and many here on the floor who vote for these weapons are the same individuals who are anxious to prohibit the right of an American citizen to own a cheap weapon in self-defense. At the same time, they are quite willing to tax these individuals and take their money to spend it on the weapons of war around the world and become involved in no-win situations.

I cannot think of a worse situation where there is a four-way faction in Colombia for us to get further involved. Buying 63 helicopters is bound to cause trouble and some will be shot down thus requiring more involvement by American troops.

It is time to reassess this policy; to come home. We should not be the policemen of the world. The American people are not anxious for us to do this. They have spoken out. A recent poll has shown that 70 percent of the American people are very anxious for us not to be involved in policing the world. They certainly are not interested in us placing United States troops under the command of U.N. and NATO forces.

This is a good time for the Members of the Congress to decide whether or not they would like to vote clearly and say to the American people, `I do not endorse the concept that we should have an open-ended commitment to the world, to be the policemen of the world.' This is what this amendment says. Quite frankly, the large majority of the American people are strongly supportive of this position.

This is a clear amendment. This is not dealing with a gnat or a flea. This is dealing with a principle. Some say this amendment deals with a principle of foreign policy, and we should defer to the President.

That is not correct. Under the Constitution, the words `foreign policy' do not exist. All the obligations fall on the Congress, especially with the power of the purse. The President is the Commander in Chief. But he should never send troops around the world without permission, which all Presidents continuously have done in the last 50 years. This amendment addresses that subject.

I would have preferred an amendment that would have struck some of these funds from overseas and placed them into beefing up the military, increasing the pay of our military personnel, giving them better housing and better medical care, as well as having some of those funds spent here at home. That amendment was not permissible under the rule.

But this point, if my colleagues are anxious to make it, can be made by voting for this amendment. If you are sick and tired of America being the patsy, sick and tired of us picking up the bill, sick and tired of our troops being exposed around the world, this is the amendment to support.

I think this is a very important amendment, and I the American people support it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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