Flashback: Rep. Bereuter’s Statement of October 2002

Excerpt from a statement Rep. Doug Bereuter made on the floor of the House of Representatives on Oct. 8, 2002:

"As the House takes this extraordinarily important step, fully mindful that Congress in passing the resolution authorizes putting members of the U.S. Armed Services in harm’s way, and recognizing no citizen in this country is assuredly safe now from related terrorist events either, Congress has additional important responsibilities. Congress needs to take every step to assure that the executive branch has given adequate consideration and provided contingency planning and resources on the following questions, which, bear in mind, are beyond the questions about adequately helping and preparing and deploying our military force.

"These questions are: number one, has the U.S. taken adequate steps to broaden the international coalition for not only the military operations, but especially for the more important and long-term task of developing a democratic regime in Iraq that will not threaten the security and stability of the region? The gentleman from Florida [Mr. Wexler] made reference to this question.

"Number two, has the administration prepared contingency plans to take into account that Saddam may use chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, directly or through anonymous terrorists, against other nations in the region before or during the conflict which may ensue, for example, to be used against Israel? Has the U.S. prepared for what could be a rather extraordinary Israeli response?

"Number three, has the administration taken steps to understand and prepare for the international consequences of such military action against Iraq in the region and elsewhere in the world? Will U.S. action strengthen the influence of Iran in the region, even in Iraq? Will U.S. military action strengthen demands for an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, including areas in neighboring countries? Will a victory in Iraq unleash a Shi’a Muslim bloodbath against the Sunni Muslim population or a large part of the Iraqi population that supported or is perceived to have supported Saddam Hussein? Is the U.S. ready to control it? Certainly the Shi’a have suffered tremendous provocation for such retribution.

"Number four, has the administration adequately considered the resources the U.S. will need in this Iraq war-peacekeeping scenario in order to successfully pursue the ongoing American war effort against al-Qaeda and terrorism, including the far-from-finished military, peacekeeping, and broad reconstruction requirements in Afghanistan?

"Mr. Speaker, this list of questions is only illustrative. It could be much longer. The passage of H.J. Res. 114 today, momentous as it is, as necessary an action as it is, constitutes but the first step in many important duties the Congress must pursue in this arena. Congress must be ready and fully committed to accomplishing them in a constructive, bipartisan effort with the executive branch."

(From the Congressional Record)