The Democrats’ plan would force security screeners to waste their time scanning cargo that poses no risk to the U.S, and in so doing it would undermine our security by forcing containers to sit for an extended periods of time, putting them at even greater risk. And because no technology currently exists to make this process move quickly, the Markey amendment would basically shut down global trade. Paralyzing the flow of goods coming in and out of the country won’t make Americans safer -- it would kill American jobs, send U.S. jobs overseas, and weaken the U.S. economy.
As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. It must be won politically. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their ethnic and political differences.
We cannot allow the atrocities there to continue, nor let the conditions get worse. Amid the breakdown, things have already started to worsen if you can believe that is possible. Because of funding issues, the UN World Food Program said Friday that it was cutting rations in half for the Darfur region, a region where the population is severely undernurished to start with. We must take advantage of this window while it is open, so we can begin to bring peace and stability back to Darfur.
Many experts believe Iraq is on the brink of a civil war, and some believe one has already begun. Thousands of our troops have died, and American taxpayers are spending $11 million an hour to pay for the mission. Elections have not ushered in stability, and instead, the top commander in Iraq last week predicted that insurgent attacks would rise in the coming weeks. According to the State Department, about half of the worldwide terrorist attacks last year were in Iraq. Iran has been strengthened by the dissolution of its arch rival.
It is more than a little ironic that President Bush’s remarks on health care today come on the same day that marks the beginning of ‘Cover the Uninsured Week.’ The fact is, there are 46 million uninsured Americans today, an increase of 6 million over the last five years. The President’s continued insistence on Health Savings Accounts as a remedy for America’s health care crisis shows that Republicans have no plan to help the uninsured. But at least President Bush is raising the issue; House Republicans are ignoring it.
We wouldn’t recite the Pledge in French, or German, or Russian, or Hindi, or even Chinese (which, after Spanish, is the second most spoken foreign language in the United States). And we shouldn’t sing the national anthem in Spanish, or any other foreign language.
The image of President Bush standing in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner has been etched into the minds of the American people as a metaphor for the Bush White House’s misleading and dangerous incompetence. It shows a self-described "war President" not ready for the war, or the difficult problems of securing the peace—problems the president and his Secretary of Defense simply ignored or did not understand following the invasion of Iraq.
I am pleased the Homeland Security Committee and the Congress have adopted a sense of urgency with regard to this important legislation. Comprehensive legislation that addresses the vulnerabilities of our sea ports is long overdue. The SAFE Port Act is that legislation. National port security has become a very hot topic in recent months, but Congresswoman Jane Harman and I have been working on this legislation since last year.
Extending our borders out and strategically focusing our resources, SAFE Port improves the safety of the American people and the security of our global supply chain. Creating multi layered maritime security and dedicating the resources necessary to identify suspect cargo and individuals, this legislation will ensure our shores are our last line of defense, not our first