Wednesday, October 06, 2004


This press release was sent out by Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss today.


WASHINGTON - Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., member of the Senate Armed Services and the Senate Intelligence Committees, delivered the following statement on the Senate floor.

"For the past several days, I have followed the remarks of the senior Senator from Massachusetts relative to Iraq and the war on terrorism. He likes to talk more about yesterday and not so much about tomorrow. He finds fault in everything that the President and his team have done to protect our lives, our liberties, and our way of life. He interprets facts to fit his dismal view of Iraq.

"What bothers me most about his many public statements condemning the war in Iraq is that he does so while we still have troops engaged in securing that country. These troops know it is vital - absolutely vital - for the long-term security of the United States and our allies that they succeed in helping Iraq become a free and democratic country.

"The most recent edition of the Army Times newspaper contains a very telling survey of active, reserve, and National Guard troops on their views of Iraq and the presidential race, which bears this point out. This is the October 11th edition of the Army Times. I ask unanimous consent that the article, which appears beginning on page 14, be printed in the Record. Mr. President, the caption is: "Troops Sound Off: Who you chose for President and why?"

"Among active duty forces, 66% in this poll said the most important issue for them in deciding for whom to vote is the war in Iraq. In the same poll, 60% said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq and 72% said if the presidential election were held today they would vote for President Bush. That is quite a statement of support for the Commander-in-Chief, and his policies in Iraq, from those who are actually doing the fighting and dirty work to bring security and prosperity to that country.

"Even more significant are the results from the reserve and National Guard troops who have been called to active duty and deployed to Iraq. Among this group, 72% said the most important issue for them is the war in Iraq, 63% approve of the President's policies in Iraq, and a full 76% of the reserve and National Guard soldiers who have actually been deployed to a combat zone said they are planning on voting for President Bush. These are amazing figures from both our active and reserve forces that tell us much more about what is going on in Iraq than just the reports of bombings and kidnappings.

"Listening to the assessments from my colleague from Massachusetts begs the question: Why do the vast majority of our soldiers and Marines engaged in ground operations in Iraq appreciate the importance of our mission there and believe they are engaged in an historical struggle that will lead to a better world and a safer America when a senior senator cannot see the same thing? Are they right or is he right?

"As I reflect on the words of the Senator from Massachusetts, I am reminded of that famous quotation made by McLandburgh Wilson:

Twixt the optimist and pessimist,
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut,
But the pessimist sees the hole.

"When it comes to Iraq and our war on terrorism, my colleague from Massachusetts sees the hole when he should be seeing the doughnut.

"I suspect that nothing we say in this Chamber will change his views on the issue. Nonetheless, I feel obligated to make some remarks about why our troops are fighting in Iraq, and why some are giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is important for our troops and their families to know that not all Senators see only the "hole."

"Our policy in Iraq should not be viewed in isolation; the issue is far more complex than that. It is important to understand the linkage between the Islamic terrorists who want to destroy us and the totalitarian regimes under which so many of them were raised. People who have such a deranged view of a Supreme Being that they believe their religion sanctions their own suicide while killing innocent people do not come from free, open, and democratic countries and societies.

"Let me explain how I look at Iraq and the war on terrorism. If we look at each incident individually, each bombing, each hostage-taking, each killing, etc. we get one impression of these events. What we should do instead is put ourselves in the place of an eagle that is soaring high and looking down on everything that is going on inside of Iraq.

"When we take the eagle's view this is what we see: Iraq is no longer a sanctuary for terrorists, it is no longer a country that threatens its neighbors, and it is no longer a threat to world peace and order.

"The insurgency in Iraq is confined to 3 of the 18 provinces, and the country is preparing for its first democratic election in only 4 months from now.

"Iraqi leaders, Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi policemen are stepping forward in the thousands to take back their country from the terrorists.

"All we have to do to see what progress is being made in this area is to look at the success we have had just over this weekend. It was not just American troops who had success in Samarra, one of the most violent places inside of Iraq; it was the now-trained Iraqi security police, who fought side by side with the American troops, who received the praise of the American troops for the training, the preparation and the great job they did in not just helping secure the peace but driving the insurgents out of that town and providing a safer and more secure community in which people could live.

"America, along with many other countries, remains firm and will not be deterred from achieving the goal of seeing a democracy in Iraq; and there is a realistic understanding of the difficulties and dangers in Iraq.

"There are also visionary, optimistic leaders in Iraq and in the many countries that make up the multinational force who are determined to see the insurgency fail.

"There have been many references to the July 2004 National Intelligence Estimate, or the NIE. In fact, Senator Kennedy said in this Chamber on 29 September 2004 that the best case scenario in that NIE was that violence in Iraq would continue at current levels, with tenuous political and economic stability. Regardless of what this classified NIE actually said, I do know that it was based on information that is but a snapshot in time and that time continues to move on.

"There are many things visible today that were not clear when that NIE was written. The character of the Iraqi leadership was unknown last June. But, no one who heard Prime Minister Allawi speak to a Joint Session of Congress recently could be anything but impressed with his enthusiasm, his intellect, and, most importantly his determination to see a free and safe democratic Iraq.

"Lieutenant General Petraeus has been working assiduously to build up the Iraqi security forces. Last June, when the NIE was written, very few of those forces had completed their training. Now trained and competent Iraqi army and police units are "on-duty" and are assuming the major role in restoring security in their own country, and the training continues, so we can expect even more Iraqi security forces to assume their duties every month, just as they did in Samarra this past weekend.

"We are engaged in an enormous struggle of historic proportions to see freedom and democracy spread throughout the Islamic world, and, this will set the foundation for a final, peaceful solution between Israel and Palestine. It will also, in the long-term, eliminate the politically oppressive environment and poor economic conditions that have been the breeding grounds for terrorists to find new recruits.

"I want to say to our military personnel and their families that your role in this historic and important struggle is key to its success. You will look back on your contributions and your sacrifices in making our country and the world safer. When you see what you have accomplished from an eagle's view, you will not see the hole that a pessimist sees."