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Senate Proceeding on Mar 30th, 2011 :: 3:03:35 to 3:14:20
Total video length: 7 hours 26 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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John Ensign

3:03:30 to 3:03:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: quorum call: mr. ensign: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. mr. ensign: mr. president, i rise or i ask the call of the quorum. the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. ensign: ask the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ensign: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ensign: thank you. mr. president, i rise today to

John Ensign

3:03:35 to 3:14:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Ensign

John Ensign

3:03:51 to 3:04:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: speak in reaction to president obama's speech this week outlining what he believes to be in our nation's interest in libya. last week, while i was working in nevada, many of my constituents asked what my thought were -- thoughts were on the military actions that we've taken in libya. my answer to them was simply

John Ensign

3:04:12 to 3:04:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: that i did not believe that the president had outlined a vital u.s. american interest in our engagement in libya, that the united states cannot afford to be the police force of the world. this week, with the president's address to the nation, i had hoped that i would hear something to change my mind, or, better yet, something that would

John Ensign

3:04:34 to 3:04:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: instill confidence about the president's decision, but unfortunately, this address provided the american people with many more questions than answers. president obama left me wondering why any vital u.s. american interest in libya would justify military action. he said refugees would stream

John Ensign

3:04:55 to 3:05:15( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: into tunisia and egypt, but we often aid refugees without f-15's. he said we needed to preserve the writ of the united nations security council, but he did not explain why the safety of our men and women in uniform should ever be put at the service of that body. he said that we needed to show dictators across the region that they could not use violence to

John Ensign

3:05:16 to 3:05:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: cling to power. but if president obama's policy fails to get rid of qaddafi, qaddafi,that -- that is exactly the lesson they will learn. the president left me wondering about the definition of military success. he said that our military mission is limited but how do we

John Ensign

3:05:37 to 3:06:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: know when we've hit our limit. is it when qaddafi poses no throat civilians, is it when all his thugs are gone, or is it when qaddafi steps down. this week's racy from president obama makes it -- weak's address from president obama makes it clear to me that we may be

John Ensign

3:06:02 to 3:06:22( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: headed for a decades-long mission in libya. our military is stretched thin enough as it is. this weekend, the secretary of defense -- this is what secretary of defense gates said. he said that when asked about libya, whether it's in our vital interest, he said, "no, i don't think libya's a vital interest

John Ensign

3:06:23 to 3:06:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: for the united states." so what are we doing? well, i understand that the president may sincerely want to save lives in libya, but our country cannot afford to be the police force for the rest of the world. we did not step in when there were genocide in darfur. and, as a matter of fact, there's a story today -- and i would ask unanimous consent to

John Ensign

3:06:45 to 3:07:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: have this story put into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ensign: the headline says: darfurese feel betrayed by libya no-fly zone." see, we didn't step in in darfur. we also didn't help the people in rwanda. the last time we did try to police a situation such as this

John Ensign

3:07:07 to 3:07:27( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: was in somalia, and we all know how that ended. that's probably why we haven't intervened in the ivory coast, even though there are more than a million people who have fled their homes and hundreds of thousands have crossed into neighboring countries. other nations, such as france, wanted to take the lead on addressing the libya situation.

John Ensign

3:07:28 to 3:07:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: i believe we should have allowed them to do so. the president's address made it clear to me that our military action in libya is less about humanitarianism and more about realizing a multilateralist fantasy. you see, while secretary clinton has continued to refer to senate

John Ensign

3:07:50 to 3:08:10( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: resolution 85 as a senate endorsement of the president's establishment of a no-fly zone, i'd like to point out to the american people to this talking point is very misleading. this is what she said. she said, "the united states senate called for a no-fly zone in a resolution that it passed, i think," and she said, "on march the 1st, and that the

John Ensign

3:08:11 to 3:08:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: mission is on the bing of having been accomplished. and there was a lot of congressional support to do something." well, this senate resolution had the same amount of consideration that a bill to name a post office has. this bill was hot-lined. there was no debate allowed on the issue, no legislative language provided to consider,

John Ensign

3:08:32 to 3:08:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: and there was no vote. senate res. 85 described a no-fly zone as a possible course of action for the u.n. security council's consideration. it did not instruct the u.s. ambassador to the united nations to take action, let alone authorize a military operation. using the hot-line process for

John Ensign

3:08:53 to 3:09:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: this resolution as a grerl endorse -- as a congressional endorsement for the president's policy is simply not an adequate use of congress' role in authorizing military action. the administration unilaterally developed, planned, executed its no-fly zone policy. the president consulted with united nations, he consulted

John Ensign

3:09:14 to 3:09:35( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: with nato, he consulted with the arab league, but he didn't consult with the body that is mandated under our laws and our discussionthat's the united states -- and our discussion, and that's the united states congress. there was no congressional approval or oversight of this military commitment. the senate resolution simply does not authorize or endorse

John Ensign

3:09:36 to 3:09:57( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: the use of force. it urges a multilateral body to consider a no-fly zone as a possible course of action. this is not the legal equivalent of an authorization to use force. this is not the political equivalent authorization. so what is it? i believe it's a disrespectful

John Ensign

3:09:58 to 3:10:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: checking of the box for congressional approval by the administration's unilateral action. as secretary gates has stated, there is not a vital interest for our nation in libya, which now means that now we are engaged there. the united states is at risk of mission creep and a possibility

John Ensign

3:10:22 to 3:10:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: of a take 2 of what happened in somalia. before our military intervention, u.s. interests in libya were minimal. our intervention has overinflated our interest in libya's civil war. if qadhafi stays in power -- and there's many who believe we will -- and he continues to fire

John Ensign

3:10:44 to 3:11:05( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: on innocent civilians, demands for u.s. military capabilities will go up. this sounds strikingly similar to what happened in somalia. furthermore, this engagement has explicitly announced our support for the rebel cause and yet we don't even know who or what these rebels are. what their ideology is. president obama's military

John Ensign

3:11:06 to 3:11:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: strategy risked damaging our already shaky credibility in this unstable region of the world, and even with complete military success, president obama's policy may appear to fail because he has disconnected military means, a no-fly zone, from his staj i can -- strategic ends, qadhafi's

John Ensign

3:11:27 to 3:11:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: the obama administration has confused our priorities in the middle east. operations in libya divert our focus from unstable situations in syria, yemen, and iran, all of whom are much more important for the united states interests. operations in libya muddle our interests and undermine our ability to lead across the region.

John Ensign

3:11:50 to 3:12:10( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: and if tur oil in lib a-- and if turmoil in libya calls for a no-fly zone, are we prepared to make the same commitments in syria and iran, where we have far greater strategic interests? if not, what kind of a message does this send to the reformers in those countries? last year, if you recall, when there was an uprising in iran,

John Ensign

3:12:11 to 3:12:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: the president basically said, "hand's off. it's not in our interest. we can't do anything about it." what kind have a message does that send? some have argued that oil is the underlying reason for our engagement in libya. whether this is the case or not, the perception is there. and instead of lessen our

John Ensign

3:12:32 to 3:12:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: depend -- lessening our dependence on dangerous foreign oil, this administration has steadfastly refused to let the united states of america to tap into its own oil reserves. in alaska alone, there are three places up in alaska that would supply the united states with 65 years worth of what we import from the persian gulf. 65 years worth of oil that we import from the persian gulf is

John Ensign

3:12:57 to 3:13:17( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: in just three areas in alaska. unfortunately, as strongly as i believe in renewable energy, it's going to take us 30 to 40 years for renewable energy infrastructure to be up and running enough to start contributing significantly to our nation's energy supply. which is why we need to act to get more oil, natural gas, and other types of american fossil

John Ensign

3:13:18 to 3:13:38( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: fuels into our energy supply today. i would argue that there is a vital u.s.-american interes to -- u.s. american interest to harvest our own energy or we risk in engaging in military conflict every time those in the middle east become unstable. mr. president, this is

John Ensign

3:13:39 to 3:14:01( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: absolutely a critical debate. there are legitimate differences on both sides of this debate, but this is a debate the congress should be willing to have, whether the president should have consulted and whether this is in our vital u.s. american interest to go forward. mr. president, i yie floor. and note the absence of a

John Ensign

3:14:02 to 3:14:20( Edit History Discussion )

John Ensign: quorum. the presiding officer: the will call the roll.

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