``Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes that he will encounter. The statesman must realize that once the signal is given, there are unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.''
Winston Churchill's statement many years from the past indicates the truism of war. It is hard. It is always hard.
Next week, General Petraeus will be reporting to this Congress what progress has been made in achieving security and stability in Iraq. No doubt the report will offer mixed results, signs of progress and probably setbacks.
In the midst of all of this review, Mr. Speaker, the question is: Now what?
Regardless of what anybody thought about going into Iraq, we are there. Right now our military personnel are risking their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our interests at home and abroad. In my opinion, there are far too many people focusing on where we have been and how we got there rather than making decisions about the future and our involvement in Iraq.
The way I see it, Mr. Speaker, we just have two options. We can stay in Iraq and keep fighting for the American interest and what we believe is right, or we can turn our back and leave. There is not a third option.
To those who think we ought to leave Iraq and bring our troops home, what will happen if we withdraw before the job is done? The answer is chaos and more bloodshed. Without a stable Iraq, the power vacuum will inevitably entice more civil war like we haven't begun to imagine and, most likely, a regional conflict that will lead to serious security risks for those nations and the United States.
Congress is making the outcome of this war the same as the planned failure in Vietnam. That war lasted 10 years. The media didn't like the war. The American public got war weary and Congress then cut the funding and started bringing troops home. The results: We left before the mission was accomplished. We abandoned our friends, and when the communists gained control, they killed thousands of people because we lost our way.
Our enemies today believe we will abandon Iraq in the same way, and they hope we do. They feel we don't have the stomach for war. Our enemies believe they are more committed to their cause of killing in the name of religion than we are for our cause of life and liberty.
Abandonment and retreat is not a strategy. We stay because it is in America's best interest to stay and secure a victory before we turn the country over to the Iraqis. We stay because there are men and women laying down their lives for the cause of America. Twenty-one courageous men and women from my area in southeast Texas have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. What would the retreat crowd tell those families about their kids who died on the altar of freedom? War got too hard so we left? We don't quit because war is hard. War is always hard. We stay, Mr. Speaker, because we know that we are fighting a global enemy who doesn't intend to stop war. They want to destroy us. Success, Mr. Speaker, has never come from withdrawal; it never will.
General George Patton in World War II told his troops in 1944, he said, ``Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to get the ones who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. You must always do your finest and win.''
That is the only option. And yes, Mr. Speaker, Patton and his boys successfully finished that war.