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Last Updated:10/05/01
Speech by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), July 24, 2001
Mr. Chairman, if I am the last speaker, let me just say: this amendment is the equivalent of burning down a house because one of the rooms is messy and it needs cleaning. In our Child Survival Account in this bill, we are spending $1.387 billion on child survival, maternal health, vulnerable children, HIV-AIDS, other infectious diseases, reproductive health and voluntary family planning and a grant to UNICEF.

Included in this very, very important expenditure of $1.3 billion is five primary childhood killers: a focus on diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition, malaria, directed primarily at children, and vaccine-preventible diseases. We are also looking at contaminated water. We are working to improve maternal health to protect the outcome of pregnancy, neonatal and young infants, to save the lives of the mothers by improving maternal nutrition, promoting birth preparedness, improving safe delivery and postpartum care, and managing and treating life-threatening complications of pregnancy and childhood.

I keep hearing about values. This committee is already weighing in at $1.3 billion, and we believe that we can work to continue to support the war on childhood diseases.

Now, Mr. Chairman, why do I say they are just burning down the whole house? The author of this amendment a few minutes or hours ago said that this amendment does not direct a cut towards military. Now, I understand that they are angry at the military, but this amendment does not stop there. It is not earmarked. Therefore, it does go after human rights; it does go after judicial reform. It goes after all the good parts of Plan Colombia, which I think they would support.

But I want to address why is their military involved. Maybe it would be better to send down the Boy Scouts. Maybe we could send AmeriCorps in there. Maybe we could send the Peace Corps. Maybe we could send my church Sunday school group down there, and they could interface with these drug dealers and say, you really do not want to kill people, do you? Maybe that would work better. But I think not.

Let me read to you a part of the Andean counter-drug initiative report. It talks about Bolivia's 5-year plan to eliminate illegal coca cultivation. Why do we have seven countries involved in this? Just keep in mind that the drug dealers and drug problems are kind of like fire ants in neighborhoods. You treat fire ants in your yard, they go to your neighbor's yard. And drugs work the same way.

This talks about the eradication operation in the Yungas Mountains. It says coca is located in remote areas that are well guarded by resistance and militant coca growers, making it difficult, dangerous and costly to remove. The international narcotics elimination plans to go in there with aircraft, C-130Bs, and supply personnel.

It talks about one road where there are violent ambushes and attacks from coca growers and traffickers. It talks about this one road in the Yungas being the world's most dangerous road, that aside from tricky hairpin turns, the rocky and gutted road is seldom wider than 11 feet, necessitating its closure by soldiers to allow one-way traffic during various times of the day.

Eradicating coca is very, very dangerous business, and that is why you have paramilitary in there. I wish there was another way to fight drugs, but the money is too great.

Think about what we are faced with here in the United States of America. This is a product that if you work for the drug dealer, you do not have business cards, you do not advertise, you do not have brochures; and yet this insidious product is so bad that it can be obtained nearly on every school yard in the United States of America. I would challenge my 434 colleagues, if you do not believe me, go ask schools, particularly high schools in your districts, to the kids, can you get illegal drugs by the end of the day? And at most high school seniors' classes, about half the hands go up and say yes, they can.

This is a threat to society, not just in America, but all over the world. That is why you have to get tough with it. That is why you have to use the military.

But, again, Mr. Chairman, very, very importantly, this amendment does not stop at military. This cuts into judicial training; it cuts into efforts to assist displaced people and other human rights violations. This is a reckless and sloppy amendment, and it should be voted down. I would hope that the author of it would just withdraw it.

As of October 3, 2001, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)
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