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    "What's Wrong With Speaking the Truth?" - J.M.

Jim McDermott (D-WA): You Don't Negotiate With the Barrel of a Gun 

Washington state Congressman Jim McDermott gave this speech, "Using Constructive Engagement in the Middle East" on the House floor in March 2007.

March 15, 2007 - House of Representatives:

Madam Speaker, you don't negotiate with the barrel of a gun, but that seems to be the President's strategy with respect to Iran. That is why the House must legislate to ensure that the President cannot unilaterally start another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran. 
The President has lost all credibility, and the world worries that another war will be waged in Iran in the name of regime change. It has been over a quarter of a century since the U.S. tried constructive engagement instead of destructive isolationism in dealing with Iran.

Foreign policy under this President has played a role in pushing Iran's leaders to the fringe. The Iranian President appears intransigent and willing to use strident rhetoric to drive a wedge between the United States and other nations. What is our response? Showdown and confrontation are the diplomatic skills of this White House, a repeat of the spin cycle to foment a march to war against Iraq. Today it is economic sanctions against Iran, but what about tomorrow?

Presidential advisers like the Vice President continue to encourage a policy of aggression. The President says one thing, but the Vice President says all options are on the table. The Secretary of State says one thing, but then we read what is going on behind the scenes from an investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh. The world is weary over the war in Iraq, and the world is worried about the President's intentions regarding Iran.

The other day the Asia Times raised these concerns in the section entitled "Dispatches From America." The Times published an article by Tom Engelhardt called "A Bombshell That Nobody Heard," and I will enter it in the Record. The article considers the troubling information revealed by Seymour Hersh, especially the disclosure of U.S. military planning for a first strike capability targeting Iran, and ready to go on one day's notice.

Despite official denials, we see and hear the Vice President chill the world by saying a military option against Iran has not been ruled out. Having seen it before in this administration, one troubling thought comes to mind: Bullets and bluster are more likely to produce bloodshed than peace.

That is why the House must exert its constitutional duty when it comes to the President's intentions with respect to Iran. We have got to chart a new course in the Middle East, and it has to be based on a commitment to stop the bloodshed, not guarantee the flow of oil. And we cannot hope to achieve peace or stability in Iraq or Iran without addressing the Palestinian-Israeli issue openly, honestly and urgently.

The issues of the Middle East are inextricably interconnected, and no one understands that better than Speaker Pelosi. At a time when the White House prefers to choose sides, our distinguished leader prefers to pursue peace in the Middle East, demanding diplomacy aimed at achieving peace through social and economic justice for all.

It is the kind of vision the whole world has passionately embraced before when the world believed the United States could stand taller than any problem and person in the region.
So one has to wonder, what were they thinking the other day when some Members of AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, rudely booed during a keynote address as the Speaker spoke very plainly on this issue. She said the Iraq war has not made America safer, has not made Israel safer, and has not made peace in the Middle East much easier to achieve.

That is the truth. What is wrong with speaking the truth? Leaders speak the truth because they have a deep and abiding faith in the strength of people everywhere to see the truth for what it is and to use it to lay a foundation to build a better world.

Today, America has a Democratic leader willing to see the world as it is, but unwilling to leave it that way. These are difficult times and we face difficult decisions just ahead. We need a strong commitment to get our soldiers out of Iraq and the strength to prevent another military misadventure in Iran.

The path to peace should be littered with pages and pages of negotiation, not booby trapped by inflammatory rhetoric and people unwilling to listen.

Madam Speaker, I include for the Record the materials referred to earlier

related links:

Congressman Jim McDermott's Speeches on Iran, 2006-2007

Ron Paul: Iran: The Next Neocon Target (4/6/06)

Dennis Kucinich: False Iran Report (9/15/06)

Congressman Jim Moran on AIPAC's Push For War With Iran

Walter B. Jones: No War Without Congress Approval (1/18/07)


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