Victims' Rights Caucus



Feb 14 2007


Thank you, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. I appreciate your leadership and the time you have given me to talk about this really important resolution, the resolution of retreat from combat.

You know, we in this House, in this warm House tonight at 5 minutes after the hour of 10 o'clock, we view this resolution from our own personal opinions. But maybe we should view something, and this resolution in particular, from a historical standpoint, for history has no opinion but is a teacher of hard facts of retrospect.

You know, this debate is not new to Congress. Years ago, after 5 long years of war, this Nation found itself at war with the greatest empire on Earth, Great Britain. The war of independence was not going well in 1781 and 1782. It looked bleak. The Commander in Chief, George Washington, had lost most of the battles he was engaged in. Public opinion was at an all-time low during the war. There were even mutinies in the Army from the Pennsylvania volunteers and the New Jersey volunteers. There was talk in the press of even reuniting with Great Britain - of all things, forming a truce and going back to be with the British. There were preachers of gloom, doom, despair and defeatism. There were generals on the battlefield that didn't like the way George Washington was handling himself as Commander in Chief and they were preaching to the public and their troops, We can't beat the British.

The debate was not new to this House, Mr. Speaker. Congress wanted to cut funding. The Continental Congress wanted to cut funding for the American Army and they not only wanted to do so, they did slash funds. Congress even in this time of bleak war reduced the size of the Continental Army. For the first and only time during the long war, George Washington left the field of battle and came to Congress and made the case for winning the war and not giving up, not surrendering, not reuniting with Great Britain.

And he made the comments. He said, ``We should never despair. Our situation before has been very unpromising. But it has changed for the better. So it will be again.''

It's a good thing the Commander in Chief did not listen to the gloom, doom and despair of the Continental Congress in 1781. Then, as now, victory was the only option. Victory is simple. You defeat the enemy wherever they are.

So George Washington and a handful of barefoot soldiers at Yorktown defeated who the skeptics and cynics said could never be defeated--the British. The consequences of loss in 1782 would have been somewhat staggering.

Mr. Speaker, the flag that flies behind you now would have been the Union Jack instead of the Stars and Stripes, and this country, this people, this free people, would have been much different had we not won the war and stayed the course.

The consequences of abandoning our troops in the field by not giving them more troops would be joy to the terrorists that hate us and want to kill us. I am sure the terrorists throughout the world would vote ``yes'' for this resolution of retreat and surrender, and those of us who want to defeat the terrorists should vote ``no.'' Our troops on the battlefield need to know help is coming. Like most Members of Congress in this House, they know people and they know people in their congressional districts that have died for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Speaker, I carry with me the names of the fallen in my congressional district. The first one that fell was Sergeant Russell Slay, 1 day after I was elected in 2004. There are 17 names on these sheets of paper, all of them volunteers from southeast Texas, who went to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight terror