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Senate Proceeding on Sep 20th, 2007 :: 8:14:59 to 8:32:29
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Carl Levin

8:14:47 to 8:14:59( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: in the following order to speak on this amendment: senator lieberman, senator smith, senator kyl. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing none, so ordered. mr. lieberman: mr. president? the presiding

Joseph Lieberman

8:14:59 to 8:15:19( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. mr. president, i rise to speak against the amendment introduced by senator levin and senator reed, senators from michigan and rhode

Joseph Lieberman

8:14:59 to 8:32:29( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Joseph Lieberman

Joseph Lieberman

8:15:19 to 8:15:33( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: island respectfully, my friends, and i actually say that with --ith full meaning. i have great respect for the senators from michigan and rhode island. i even like them.| but in this case, i am in deep

Joseph Lieberman

8:15:33 to 8:15:53( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: disagreement about the amendment that they have offered. this is the most recent iteration of a series of amendments that senators levin and reid have put in. it changes slightly from earlier versions,

Joseph Lieberman

8:15:53 to 8:16:14( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: but the strategy is essentially the same, and in doing so, it ignores, i say respectfully, all the changes that have occurred in iraq on the ground in the months that have gone by since the first levin-reid

Joseph Lieberman

8:16:14 to 8:16:34( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: amendment was introduced. it ignores also the clearly state ed counsel of the national intelligence estimate, of the head of the independent commission to evaluate iraqi security forces, general jim jones,

Joseph Lieberman

8:16:34 to 8:16:55( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: and it ignores much of the testimony that general petraeus and ambassador crocker, who live on the ground, gave to congress and the american people last week. so i rise to oppose it because i think it does

Joseph Lieberman

8:16:55 to 8:17:11( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: not reflect the successes we have had, and if it ever passed would take us from this strategy that is bringing success to a strategy that would bring us to failure. it changes -- it orders a change

Joseph Lieberman

8:17:11 to 8:17:26( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of a strategy that is working and putes puts us on a course to a strategy that i fear will fail das strus disastrously but everyone would have to acknowledge we don't know how it would work as compared

Joseph Lieberman

8:17:26 to 8:17:41( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to the petraeus strategy that is how working. this amendment, as has been said said, would first order the beginning of a reduction of u.s. forces in iraq not later than 90 days from its enactment.

Joseph Lieberman

8:17:41 to 8:17:58( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: well, the interesting thing to say is that general petraeus and president bush announce ed last week that a withdrawal of american forces will begin this month. it will reach over 5,000 by the end

Joseph Lieberman

8:17:58 to 8:18:13( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of this year, by christmas christmastime. quite remarkable, unexpected, not predicted. but why is it happening? it is happening because the surge strategy, combined with the improvement in the performance

Joseph Lieberman

8:18:13 to 8:18:31( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of the iraqi security forces, has allowed our commander on the ground to recommend to the commander in chief, who has accepted the recommendation that we can reduce some of our troop presence in iraq without compromising

Joseph Lieberman

8:18:31 to 8:18:45( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: the mission and the security of iraq. so -- but general petraeus said very clearly that he's not for congressionally mandated deadlines, including this one, that as a general principle of war, not just

Joseph Lieberman

8:18:45 to 8:19:01( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to support his own position, he feels -- and i couldn't agree with him more -- that withdrawals of american troops from battle ought to be made on the basis of what is happening on the battlefield

Joseph Lieberman

8:19:01 to 8:19:12( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: and at the recommendation of the commanders on the battlefield. and then the leaf levin-reid amendment recommends essentially a transition of u.s. forces to a limited presence, undefine ed number,

Joseph Lieberman

8:19:12 to 8:19:24( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to carry out the follow following missions: to protect the united states and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training, equipping, providing logistical support spue the iraqi security forces, and

Joseph Lieberman

8:19:24 to 8:19:40( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: engage ing in targeted counterterrorism operations against al qaeda, al qaeda- al qaeda-affiliate ed groups and other international terrorist organizations. as i'll make clear in a moment, i'm particularly

Joseph Lieberman

8:19:40 to 8:19:58( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: troubled that that does not include the groups that iran is training, equipping equipping, and then sending back in iraq which have killed hundreds of american soldiers and thousands of iraqi soldiers and

Joseph Lieberman

8:19:58 to 8:20:14( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: civilians. in ordering a withdrawal within 90 days, in ordering a transition, a change from a strategy that's working to a strategy that i feel will fail, as i said at the outset, this amendment ignores

Joseph Lieberman

8:20:14 to 8:20:26( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: the best evidence and judgment that we have based on what's happening on the ground. national intelligence estimate commented quite clearly about what would happen if we limited the mission that our soldiers

Joseph Lieberman

8:20:26 to 8:20:41( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: in iraq are allowed to undertake prematurely. it said -- warned us in no un uncertain terms that -- quote -- "changing the mission of coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stable

Joseph Lieberman

8:20:41 to 8:20:52( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: ization role, which is the current petraeus strategy, to a primarily aprimary combat support role for iraqi forces and counter counterterrorism operations, which is the strategy that would be imposed by this

Joseph Lieberman

8:20:52 to 8:21:10( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: amendment -- quote -- "from the national intelligence estimate of the united states would erode the security gains achieved so far." end of quote. not might but would erode the security gains achieved

Joseph Lieberman

8:21:10 to 8:21:24( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: thus far far. general jones made very clear in the testimony he gave just two weeks ago that -- quote -- " "deadlines can work against us," and i think a deadline of this magnitude would be against our

Joseph Lieberman

8:21:24 to 8:21:39( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: national interest." end of quote. general petraeus warned us last week that we need -- quote -- " "to ensure that we do not cush surrender a gain for which we fought very, very hard by being locked into

Joseph Lieberman

8:21:39 to 8:21:58( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: a timetable." likewise, we heard from general petraeus, bluntly told us -- quote -- "while one may argue that the best way to speed the process in iraq is to change the mission from one that emphasizes

Joseph Lieberman

8:21:58 to 8:22:14( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: population security, counter counterterrorism, and transition to one that is strictly focused on transition and counter counterterrorism, making that change now would in our view be premature." end of quote,

Joseph Lieberman

8:22:14 to 8:22:30( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: diplomatic language chosen by a military man speaking to congress last week. "would be premature." look, as our mission in iraq succeeds, and hopefully continues to succeed, as it is now, both in terms

Joseph Lieberman

8:22:30 to 8:22:44( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of stable ize ing the country, reducing victims of sectarian violence, chase ing al qaeda and, most significantly significantly, improving the capacity of the iraqi security forces, we will transition our

Joseph Lieberman

8:22:44 to 8:23:05( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: mission because the iraqis and the environment will allow us to do that, and it will be transitioned to something i would guess quite like the goal of this amendment. but if you force this by

Joseph Lieberman

8:23:05 to 8:23:22( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: congressional action before the commanders on the ground tell us it can be safely implemented, it'll be more than general petraeus's diplomatic term "premature." and probably more than the n.i. n.i.e.'s

Joseph Lieberman

8:23:22 to 8:23:30( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: direct term "would erode the security gains a achieved so far." i think would begin to unwind iraq and lead to a victory for al qaeda in iranian- and iranian-back the terrorist --iranian-backed

Joseph Lieberman

8:23:30 to 8:23:44( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: terrorists. it is particularly unjustified dmor for congress to take up this amendment now at this moment that we are last seeing real evidence of progress in iraq. i know that some of the support

Joseph Lieberman

8:23:44 to 8:24:04( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: supporters of the amendment suggest that by withdrawing forces we would force the iraqi government to achieve the political progress we all want. no political solution, people say -- no military solution;

Joseph Lieberman

8:24:04 to 8:24:23( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: only a political solution will ultimately end this. that's true. but let me say this. that misses one powerful reality in iraq today. we're now not just fighting to give the iraqis the stability to

Joseph Lieberman

8:24:23 to 8:24:38( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: reach political reconciliation, the ability to self-govern; we're fighting al qaeda and the iranian-backed terrorists. that requires a military solution. and so to say that the goal here is just to

Joseph Lieberman

8:24:38 to 8:24:45( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: make sure that the iraqi leadership reaches some accommodations with one another, that's not the end of it. you can have that happen, and if we pulle out prematurely, al qaeda and iran could blow the

Joseph Lieberman

8:24:45 to 8:25:01( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: whole thing apart, and it would be a devastate ing devastate ing loss for iraq, for the region, and for the security of the people of the united states. but listen to what ambassador crocker said

Joseph Lieberman

8:25:01 to 8:25:14( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: about this idea -- and i quote to congress last week -- "an aprofess approach that says we're going to start pulling troops out regardless of the objective conditions on the ground and what might happen

Joseph Lieberman

8:25:14 to 8:25:26( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: in consequence of that could actual actually push the iraqis in the wrong direction, to make them less likely to compromise, rather than more likely. it would make them, i fear more focused on building

Joseph Lieberman

8:25:26 to 8:25:38( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: the walls, stacking the ammunitn and getting ready for a big, nasty fight without us around, than it would push them toward compromise and accommodation with the people who would be on the other side

Joseph Lieberman

8:25:38 to 8:25:52( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of that fight." end quote. that's ambassador vok crocker, who lives with these people every day, the leaders -- political leaders of iraq. and he's saying, watch out. a premature withdrawal by the

Joseph Lieberman

8:25:52 to 8:26:08( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: united states forces would do exactly the opposite. it would not encourage the iraqis to politically reconcile. it would basically lead them to hung hunker down for a civil war that they would fear

Joseph Lieberman

8:26:08 to 8:26:24( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: would be following. and you know what? from this distance, though i've been there soirks seven times now, it seems like common sense and human nature that if we pull out too soon, they're not going

Joseph Lieberman

8:26:24 to 8:26:33( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to wake up and suddenly make difficult political agreemes. they're going to get ready for civil war. so this amendment is based on a premise that disregards exactly what our ambassador -- non nonpolitical,

Joseph Lieberman

8:26:33 to 8:26:48( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: career person, expert in the middle east -- is telling us would happen. i would also point out, as i mentioned briefly at the beginning, that the amendment i fear would leave our troops un unable, even

Joseph Lieberman

8:26:48 to 8:27:01( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: in its reduced mission role, to respond to and go after iranian operatives and iranian-backed militias, the so- so-called special groups, who are in the midst of fighting a vicious proxy war against

Joseph Lieberman

8:27:01 to 8:27:19( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: american troops and iraqis in iraq. disben general petraeus testified last week -- and i quote again -- "that these elements have a assassinate ed and kidnapped iraqi governmental leaders, killed and wounded

Joseph Lieberman

8:27:19 to 8:27:30( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: our soldiers with advance ed explosive devices, provided by iran, and in indiscriminately rocketed civil civilians in the international zone and elsewhere." end of quote. so even in the reduced mission,

Joseph Lieberman

8:27:30 to 8:27:44( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: it does provide for going after -- allowing our troops to go after al qaeda but not the iranian-backed operatives and senator mccain, i think, quite compellingly pointed out on the floor earlier today,

Joseph Lieberman

8:27:44 to 8:28:02( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: what are our troops sfoafd do when they see somebody -- supposed do when they see somebody walking alofng with an embryo improvise ed explos explosive device? excuse me, snir are you a member of

Joseph Lieberman

8:28:02 to 8:28:16( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: a sectarian militia or al qaeda? that that's going to not going to work. i am sure my colleagues, include the sponsors of this amendment, agree that the united states has a vital national interest in preventing

Joseph Lieberman

8:28:16 to 8:28:29( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: the domination of iraq by the fanatical anti-american regime in tehran and yet this amendment would give our forces, as i read it, no authority to deal with that critical mission after the transition

Joseph Lieberman

8:28:29 to 8:28:40( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: period is over. mr. president, i just want to say that at the end of last year year, after too many months, too many, many mojtses of a strategy that was -- too many, many month months of a strategy

Joseph Lieberman

8:28:40 to 8:28:52( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: that was not working in iraq, president bush, as comeandz commander in chief, said i have to change the strategy. and he called in a lot of people to ask how should he change it. in response to the

Joseph Lieberman

8:28:52 to 8:29:08( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: reality on the ground, wheys we were doing was not -- which is what we were doin on the ground was not work working, was not sceeding. and he met general petraeus, a man who had been in iraq, had disagreed

Joseph Lieberman

8:29:08 to 8:29:25( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: with the prevailing strategy, and instead of paying honor, he was sent out to ft. eleven wrj leavenworth, where he did some great work. it is a great place. but he really should have been raid up

Joseph Lieberman

8:29:25 to 8:29:39( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to continue the fight in iraq. and president bush brought him back to iraq, accepted his ideas for a new strategy of counter counterinsurgency, of stable izing iraq, gave him the 30,000-plus extra troops and

Joseph Lieberman

8:29:39 to 8:29:55( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: it's worked remarkably. it's not -- we all know iraq is not -- has not reached the goal we want it to reach, but a assassinations, deaths from sectarian violence are down. americans american and

Joseph Lieberman

8:29:55 to 8:30:09( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: iraqi forces are in control of most of baghdad now, not the mitias. and most significantly, al qaeda is on the run.| i heard that bin laden and zawahiri put out another tape today. and i'm beginning

Joseph Lieberman

8:30:09 to 8:30:28( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: to wonder whether these tapes are a sign not of confidence but of insecurity by al qaeda's leaders. i'm beginning to wonder whether they're worried about the fact that they are essentially being chased

Joseph Lieberman

8:30:28 to 8:30:41( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: out of a, an arab country -- iraq -- particularly painful for them, chased out of an enormous sunni-arab province because they're all sunni-arabs, sunni-muslims and that they are on the verge of what

Joseph Lieberman

8:30:41 to 8:30:54( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: could be a humiliating defeat if we continue to move this strategy forward against them. as we all know in our own lives, sometimes the people who bark the loudest are the ones who are the most insecure

Joseph Lieberman

8:30:54 to 8:31:12( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: about how things are going for them. and i'm beginning to wonder whether bin laden and zawahiri, who masterminded the attack against us on 9/11, are now on this, what has become the central battlefield

Joseph Lieberman

8:31:12 to 8:31:25( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: of the war with islamist extremism, al qaeda, whether they are badly losing that war. what i'm saying is after a long time president bush looked at the facts, changed the strategy, and the new strategy

Joseph Lieberman

8:31:25 to 8:31:42( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: is working. this amendment, respectfully to its sponsors, does not regard the facts, does not look at the facts, does not accept the changes that have occurred in our strategy and the success that

Joseph Lieberman

8:31:42 to 8:32:00( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: it is bringing, and basically continues as if nothing had changed. in doing so, it if adopted would do a real disservice to our forces in iraq who are succeeding to the cause of freedom in iraq and throughout

Joseph Lieberman

8:32:00 to 8:32:14( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: the muslim world and to the cause of security of every american that is threatened by al qaeda, who we know is working, plotting and intends to strike us again, and the fanatics who, unfortunately,

Joseph Lieberman

8:32:14 to 8:32:29( Edit History Discussion )

Joseph Lieberman: control the government of a great country -- iran -- who lead thousands and tens of thousands on any occasion they can of chants of "death to america." that's what's on the line. that, i think, is what would

Carl Levin

8:32:29 to 8:32:43( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: be jeopardized if this amendment were passed. and that is why i respectfully ask my colleagues to vote "nay" on the levin-reed amendment. i thank the chair and yield the floor. mr. levin: mr. president,

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