Congress Must 'Speak with One Voice' on Iraq, GOP Leaders Say

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Thanks to U.S. intervention, "Iraq is free, America is safer, and the world has changed for the better," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as he joined other Republicans in passing a House resolution praising U.S. troops and the Iraqi people.

The resolution, timed to mark the first anniversary of the war in Iraq, passed 327 to 93.

"Should the United States appease international terrorists and pretend they are a law-enforcement problem, or fight them as the military threat they are?" DeLay asked.

"If we follow the example of the new Spanish government and we accept failure in Iraq and permit the victory of the terrorists, there will be no counting the number of people around the world who will suffer the consequences."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert wondered how anyone could vote against a resolution "that commends the Iraqi people for adopting an interim constitution; commends our military for their brave efforts in liberating Iraq; and affirms that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power."

Democrats objected to that last point -- the affirmation "that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq." Some Democrats saw that statement as a vote of support for President Bush's policies.

Democrats also objected to the fact that the resolution ignored the rising death toll among U.S. soldiers and civilians in Iraq.

Hastert, like DeLay, said he hopes the terrorists don't "draw the wrong conclusion" about the recent victory of Socialists in Spain.

"Europe should have learned a painful lesson in the 1930's and should never return to a "peace thru appeasement" strategy, Hastert said in remarks on the House floor.

"And our country -- the United States of America -- must never adopt a policy of appeasement. We must never let the terrorists take encouragement from anything we do on the battlefield, or in this chamber," Hastert said.

"We must all say with one voice that we were right to rid the world of the murdering thug Saddam Hussein -- that our troops did the right thing to bring Uday, Qusay and all of Saddam's brutal henchmen to justice. And that the long march to democracy that has started finally in both Baghdad and Kabul is both inexorable and inevitable."

'Not Vietnam'

"This is not like Vietnam," Hastert told his collegues. "Vietnam is over. This war we fight now is a war against terrorists. It is against those who have attacked and killed Americans abroad and on our own soil. And Saddam Hussein was a terrorist of the worst kind."

Hastert said a vote for the resolution would be a vote for US troops - and a vote against terrorism.

Some Democrats said they voted for the measure, only to show support for U.S. troops, and they said their votes should not be construed as support for the Bush administration's policies.

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