[Congressional Record: September 21, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ASKING FOR COMMON SENSE AND REASON
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the
gentlewoman from Georgia (Ms. McKinney) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Speaker, our Armed Forces are poised to conduct
military strikes in foreign lands. My own State of Georgia is
contributing significantly to our overseas forces with troops being
committed from the 116th Bomber Wing, the 117th Air Control Squadron,
the 293rd MP Company from Fort Stewart in Augusta, and the 224th Joint
Communications Support Squad, Brunswick, Georgia. And I have no doubt
that men of the elite 75th Ranger Battalion from Fort Benning are
currently or soon will be deploying overseas.
Our Nation suffered a terrible injury last week with the attacks in
New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Many thousands of our
innocent civilians were unjustly taken from their families and loved
ones, and we as a Nation must now respond. But just how we should do
that, both internationally and domestically, is now giving rise to
We have heard the Bush Administration's call to arms to fight the
first war of the 21st century. I understand that our Nation's full
military resources are soon to be turned against not just the
terrorists responsible for last week's attack, but international
terrorism generally. Our intelligence agencies have allegedly
identified terror cells in some 60 countries, and that
whether or not Afghanistan actually surrenders Osama bin Laden, the
alleged mastermind of last week's attacks, our military intends on
fighting a long and bitter worldwide campaign against international
terrorism in more than 60 countries, or, as Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld announced this week, we intend to drain the swamp.
I understand a draft bill, which is the first of a far larger package
of anti-terrorist legislation, is now circulating Capitol Hill, and I
am told it proposes giving law enforcement the power to detain non-U.S.
citizens for indefinite periods without charge, giving immigration
authorities greater and accelerated powers to deport non-U.S. citizens,
and, at the same time, curtailing rights of non-U.S. citizens to
judicial review and appeal.
Many of these reforms that the Bush Administration is now proposing
are the very same types of state powers that we routinely criticize
other nations for possessing in our own State Department's annual Human
Rights Report. I am greatly concerned that we are about to engage in an
extremely hazardous military campaign of unknown duration with
unrealistic objectives and perhaps even ultimately harmful long-term
consequences for our Nation.
Already, there is disquiet in the Muslim world that the U.S. is
poised to turn its terrorist campaign into a war against Islam. The
Bush Administration has already had to change the name of the military
mission once when it used term ``crusade,'' and now it has got to
change the name again, because it used the term ``Infinite Justice,''
and that is offensive to our Muslim communities.
All of these gaffs feed the growing Muslim fear that this impending
U.S. military action could become a broader campaign against them.
Mr. Speaker, I know I do not need to address the impending
catastrophe should large sections of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims
unify and turn against the United States. It would be ironic indeed if
we as a Nation destroyed democracy in the name of saving democracy. But
before we grant more powers and massive resources to our law
enforcement, military and intelligence community, we should be
examining why they did not detect the threat of these and other
attacks, especially since we had been told that the attacks last week
were sophisticated, involved many people over a considerable period of
time, and maybe even involved the assistance of a foreign government.
We should know or should have known that bin Laden was capable of
attacking our major cities. Just 7 months ago, during the trial of
suspects charged with the embassy bombings in Africa, Federal
prosecutors detailed the bin Laden network in open court. Details of
bin Laden's business and financial history, his international terror
network, as well as his hatred for America, were all systematically
dissected by Federal prosecutors.
Given these revelations, it was clear, or it should have been clear,
that our Nation and our citizens were in grave danger. I do not
understand how intelligence services have the ability to penetrate,
analyze and publicly distribute records of bin Laden's alleged cellular
phone traffic in the hours immediately after the bombings. From these
conversations, we learned of bin Laden's alleged celebrations with
supporters. But in stark contrast, over the same period of months, they
were not able to intercept bin Laden's planning or preparations for the
I am also deeply concerned that recent reports in the press of
specific, credible and quite extraordinary warnings of terrorist
attacks on our citizens, which were ignored by our government, and some
of these warnings directly referred to the use of hijacked aircraft
attacking the World Trade Center.
For example, the L.A. Times reported on September 20, 2001, that
Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, had warned the FBI and the
CIA that a major terrorist force of some 200 individuals were entering
The Advertiser Newspaper from the Murdoch Group reported on Monday,
September 17, that a man in the Cayman Islands wrote to U.S.
authorities on August 29 and warned them that he had overheard three
Afghan men in a bar talking about impending attacks on the United
States. The CIA is said to have followed up on the attack, but
apparently did not take it any further.
Then it is also reported that a week later, an Iranian in Hamburg,
Germany, contacted police and warned them of an impending terrorist
attack against the United States using hijacked planes.
Tragically, I am forced to say, this does not appear to be the first
time our intelligence services have been caught flatfooted. Earlier
this year, Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, a former aid to Osama bin Laden, while
testifying in New York against the four men accused of the U.S. embassy
bombings in Africa, said that he told U.S. officials that bin Laden's
group was trying to make a war on the United States. Similarly,
Prudence Bushnell, the U.S. Ambassador in Nairobi, warned the State
Department of the poor security of her embassy in Nairobi. Regrettably,
these warnings appear to have been ignored. Not surprisingly, our
government now finds itself subject to civil actions by survivors and
family representatives of those killed in the U.S. embassy bombings in
Count up the combined assets of our Nation's law enforcement,
military intelligence agencies charged with fighting terrorism over the
last 10 to 15 years, and we have budgets worth billions and billions
and billions of dollars, space-age technology that most countries would
just dream of having; and despite all of these resources, we sustained
thee terrible attacks upon our military, our cities, our warships, our
In my view, the problem is not one of resources, but of a failure of
implementation on a scale that should shame us. But what frustrates me
most is that no one in a position of leadership in our Nation has yet
to seriously ask why our Nation has been attacked in this way. Why have
our cities, our embassies and our military forces been systematically
targeted by terrorist organizations? Why is it that our Nation and its
people are being attacked in these ways? Our politicians and political
observers have, for years, been willing to analyze and discuss about
the IRA in England, the Shining Path in Peru, the Red Brigade in Italy;
but now that it has come home, all of a sudden, we failed to analyze
and ask the question, why did it happen.
Secretary of State Colin Powell is absolutely right. We must give
diplomacy a chance. We must honestly ask ourselves, what is the root
cause of this war being waged on our people and our country? I suspect
that we will need to look at altering some of our foreign policy
positions. Unless we do this, I fear that a military campaign,
unsupported by sound foreign policy strategies, will only cause
immeasurable civilian suffering throughout the world and may well
actually lead to more terrifying attacks upon our cities and our
I would ask our President to sidestep those Rambos in the Pentagon
who are talking about using nuclear weapons. Now is not the time for us
to be talking about using nuclear weapons. We need to free our
Secretary of State to do his job, and I know he can do it.
Finally, I pray that common sense and reason will prevail.
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