Congressional Record: January 6, 2005 (Senate)
Page S37-S39


  Mr. DAYTON. Last week, Senator Lieberman and I traveled to Iraq, to 
Baghdad. When I visited Iraq a year and a half ago, our Senate 
delegation in Baghdad and other cities, Basra and Tikrit, boarded armed 
Humvees and with military escort drove throughout those respective 
cities. Last week, we were confined for security reasons to the heavily 
fortified green zone, which is the command post of the United States 
military, our Government representatives, and the Iraqi government.
  The necessity for those restrictions was made apparent because one of 
the opposition political leaders with whom we were supposed to meet and 
where we envisioned traveling for 5 minutes outside of the green zone 
was the target of an assassination attempt the previous day. He was not 
harmed, but a suicide bomber killed himself and nine other Iraqis 
outside the location where the meeting was to occur, which underscores 
the perilous nature of the environment and the impossibility of 
providing the necessary and complete security for our own forces who 
are performing heroically and continue to risk their lives, and in some 
cases give up their lives, tragically, to protect the Iraqi people from 
the insurgent forces which are brutal and sometimes lethally effective 
in what they are intending to do in that particular country.
  Sunday, I had the occasion to meet with a few hundred Minnesotans, 
family members of loved ones who are presently serving in Iraq. They 
asked the same question over and over again: When are our husbands, 
wives, sons, fathers, mothers, coming home?
  Although I opposed the Iraq war resolution in October of 2002 and 
continue to believe, unfortunately, we have on an overall basis 
weakened our national security, not strengthened it by our action, we 
are there, with 150,000 of our Armed Forces committed. It is imperative 
we succeed. It is also imperative that we start to devise--we should 
have already--a strategy to bring our troops home safely as soon as 
possible with the victory secure. The only way victory will be 
ultimately secured is by the Iraqi people.
  When Senator Lieberman and I met with the Deputy Prime Minister of 
Iraq he said exactly that: The security of Iraq can only be gained by 
the Iraqi people. The process from being subject to a brutal dictator, 
tyrannical oppression for over a quarter of a century, to self-
determining democracy is an enormous social transformation, one that 
will probably take several years.
  When we justify, by those who are responsible for our continued 
presence in Iraq, what we are doing there, they need to be very clear 
about the parameters. First, we were looking for weapons of mass 
destruction which turned out not to exist there. Then it was an alleged 
link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida which has never been 
demonstrated to exist. Then it was opposing an evil dictator, which 
Saddam Hussein certainly was, which was achieved in the first 3 weeks 
of magnificent effort by our military. For the last 21 months it has 
been protecting as much as possible the country and protecting the time 
necessary for the Iraqi people to form a government, which they are in 
the process of doing.
  Holding the election on January 30 as scheduled is essential to doing 
that. Training and equipping the Iraqi forces--police, military, 
national guard--to be able to do what the people of any country have to 
do to have a functional country under any form of government, which is 
to protect and defend their own country, has been regretfully a very 
slow process. I asked the United States military command and our 
civilian leadership in Iraq as well as the Iraqi Government authorities 
how far they thought we had progressed from a starting point to 100 
percent Iraqi self-sufficiency regarding their own self-security and 
the answer was variously between 40 and 50 percent. We have initiated 
and engaged in and this Congress has funded to the full extent 
requested by the administration the Iraqi security training programs 
for over a year, about 15 or 16 months.

[[Page S38]]

It is obviously a difficult assignment, given that the previous 
military structure of the country was removed by the Provisional 
Authority, but that decision has been made and now that process of 
retraining new forces has been underway for 15, 16 months and we are 
told it is not even half way there.
  The Iraqi people need to be responsible for their own country. They 
must be responsible for their own country. They must decide to stand up 
for themselves. Many are doing so and even giving their lives to 
conduct this upcoming election and engaging in various security 
  But the brunt of that responsibility, the burden, the fighting, the 
bleeding, the dying, is still being incurred by our own forces. We need 
to know when that is going to be able to stop. We need to know how that 
transition and when that transition is going to occur. We need to put 
the Iraqi people and our allies on notice that we are not going to be 
there indefinitely and that they need to be willing to step forward to 
provide what I think everyone wants, most of the world wants: a stable, 
secure, and successful Iraq.
  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have been 
increasingly frustrated by our inability, either in the committee, 
whether in public or secret briefings, whether as a body or through 
other discussions, to get what turns out to be accurate and reliable 
information from the civilian command, from the administration. 
Yesterday afternoon we had an Armed Services Committee hearing, 
a secret hearing, for 3 hours. I received information regarding the 
force capabilities of the Iraqi police and military that was at 
significant variance from what I was told a week before in Baghdad, 
which itself was at considerable variance from what we were told 2 
months before, which then was half of the force level we were told 
existed a year before that.
  What the numbers are, what the training capabilities are--I hesitate 
to use this word on the Senate floor, but it applies here--I don't like 
being lied to. I am elected to represent the people of Minnesota. I am 
elected to look out for their best interests. I met on Sunday with a 
few hundred Minnesota family members who were depending upon me to look 
out for the interests of their sons and daughters, husbands and wives. 
I take that as a life-or-death responsibility, as it is to them and 
their loved ones and all the members of the U.S. Armed Forces, putting 
their lives on the line every day.
  They deserve to know, we deserve to know, the American people deserve 
to know from this administration their plan, what is their timetable, 
and what kind of progress are we making. We deserve to know the facts. 
We deserve to be told facts today that hold up as the truth tomorrow. I 
regret to say that is not occurring. It has not occurred, not only in 
this instance yesterday but in other significant respects throughout 
the last several months.
  I appreciate enormously and admire tremendously the leadership of the 
Senate Armed Services Committee under its chairman, Senator Warner, and 
its ranking member, Senator Levin. Senator Warner has convened any 
number of hearings and briefings on the situation in Iraq and other 
places around the world, on the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib, on the 
armoring and rearmoring of the equipment and personnel for service in 
Iraq and Afghanistan.
  In the last month, we have found, according to the private 
contractors, there was an unused capacity in their production 
capabilities of 25 percent for armored Humvees and these rearmoring 
kits for those Humvees that are over there in Afghan and Iraq that are 
unarmored, a 25-percent unused capacity because of a lack of production 
orders from our military, when we were told--and we asked, Republican 
and Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee alike, 
repeatedly: What do you need? What money, laws, procedures? What do you 
need to maximize production and immediate distribution to protect our 
men and women serving in Iraq?
  We were assured, again and again and again, there was 100-percent 
production, that everything was being done, and that they did not need 
anything. And then we find out there is significant variance to that, 
in fact, in the truth.
  Chairman Warner convened several hearings in the last 6 months on the 
alleged prison abuses at Abu Ghraib. There were rumors of abuses 
occurring elsewhere in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. We were assured 
again and again by the administration and the other authorities who 
spoke before us that it was limited to those isolated instances in Iraq 
and in the Abu Ghraib prison. Now it comes to light, in the last month, 
there were documented reports through the chain of command, information 
that people who testified before our committee had to be aware of when 
they told us in committee hearings information that was at variance 
with those reports.
  Similarly, the status of the Iraqi security and military forces--
being told by the Secretary of Defense, who I think believed what he 
was telling us because that was the information he was given, a year 
ago that force level was at 202,000; and then to find out last 
September 15, in public remarks he made elsewhere, that number was 
about half that level; and then to get published reports that the 
actual number is some 78,000; and then to get a report last week that 
the number is somewhat above that; and then to get a report yesterday 
that the number is some tens of thousands above that. Having that 
number not being able to be confirmed by those who are testifying 
before us is a great travesty of justice and legality, and their moral, 
ethical responsibility to tell us the truth and give us the facts so we 
can make those judgments that we are elected and held responsible to 
make, along with them, so that hopefully the collective wisdom of all 
of us serves the best interests of this country, its foreign policy, 
and the lives of its men and women who are serving us overseas, and 
who, for every day we keep them over there, are continuing to risk 
their lives, and some of them losing their lives or losing limbs, 
bodily functions.
  This is life and death, and it is time we stop being lied to. I want 
this administration, I want the Pentagon command, to tell us the facts, 
tell us the truth about the situation in Iraq--what is going right, but 
what is going wrong, to tell us the truth and the facts about the 
capability of the Iraqi forces to replace ours, to take over 
responsibility for the law and order of their own country, to tell us 
the truth and the facts about the economic recovery projects, which 
ones have started, which ones have not, how much money has been 
expended, how much money has been wasted, how much money has been 
  It is shameful this body, which has the history of Harry Truman 
setting up a special committee during World War II to investigate the 
proper contracting, the proper expenditure of taxpayer dollars for a 
defense effort, where again American men and women were relying on that 
equipment, relying on getting it right away, and living or dying as a 
result--Harry Truman said: I don't care whether they are Democratic 
contractors or Republican, let the chips fall where they may and the 
truth be known. He went on to become the Vice President and then the 
President of the United States because he had that kind of integrity 
and that kind of courage.
  We ought to see that today on the other side of the aisle, to be 
willing to investigate these matters. Whether it is a Republican 
administration or a Democratic administration, I don't care; it is an 
American administration. Those are American soldiers putting their 
lives on the line. We are all responsible, and we can't even get 
anybody to look into what is happening or not happening there, and we 
can't get anybody to tell us the facts, the truth. It is deplorable. It 
is unconscionable. It is un-American. And it is intolerable.
  I think this body collectively needs to stand up and demand that we 
get the facts and the truth so we can go back home and tell those sons 
and daughters and fathers and mothers and husbands and wives what is 
happening to their loved ones over in Iraq, and when they are coming 
home with the victory they worked for, lived for, bled for, and died 
for secured, and how we are going to do that and when.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. DeMint). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.