One of the reasons why people are convinced, why many of these experts are convinced, that this situation is one which is increasingly difficult to solve, is because of the fact that we were there once before. The right course of action is to make preparations as quickly as possible to bring our people home. It does not mean as soon as order is restored to Haiti, it doesn’t mean as soon as Democracy is flourishing in Haiti, it doesn’t mean as soon as we’ve established a viable nation in Haiti, as soon as possible means as soon as we can get out of Haiti without losing any American lives. Now there may be different interpretations of this Resolution on the other side but it is my view and I want to make it clear and I think the majority of the American people’s view that as soon as possible means as soon as possible. Exactly what those words state. The Haitians were to police themselves but the cooperation that was to prevent mission creep has not materialized and U.S. troops have assumed a greater and greater responsibility for policing Haiti. We all see on CNN what they are doing. Day by day their mission expands. American military personnel have been tasked with preventing looting, stopping Haitian on Haitian violence, protecting private property and arresting attaches.
Mr. President, there is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia. The American people want them home, I believe that the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1st, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible. An evolution, which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks. Mr. President, our continued military presence in Somalia allows another situation to arise which could then lead to the wounding, killing, or capture of the of American fighting men and women. We should do all in our power to avoid that. Date certain, Mr. President, are not the criteria here. What’s the criteria and what should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal from Somalia. And if we don’t do that, and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured, because we stayed too long, longer than necessary, then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not excercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home as quickly and safely as possible. But the mission which the American people supported and this Congress supported, in an overwhelming resolution, has been accomplished. The American people did not support the goals of nation-building, peacemaking, law and order and certainly not warlord funding. For us to get into nation-building, law and order, etc, I think is a tragic and terrible mistake. But the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think, is baloney. The fact is, what can hurt our prestige, Mr. President, I’ll tell you what can hurt our viability, as the world’s superpower, and that is, if we inmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation, which entails the loss of American lives, more debaucles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aidid’s lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige. Look at the tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President, 240 young Marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia, as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.
Anybody want to transcribe these so I can post the transcripts? They’re that good.