(House of Representatives - June 25, 2013)

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[Page H3999]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Poe) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, there is a civil war raging in Syria. 
No question about it, President Assad is a bad guy. He hates Israel and 
he hates his own people. The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire. I 
have been to Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and seen firsthand the 
devastation of this war. In one camp I went to, there were 150,000 
Syrians in Turkey fleeing from the devastation of war.
  However, there are numerous rebel groups trying to remove Assad from 
power. Who exactly are these rebels? We really don't know. But we do 
know the most powerful among them is al Nusra, an affiliate of al 
Qaeda. These extremists on both sides are killing each other in the 
name of religion, and the people of Syria are caught in the middle.
  Lining up on President Assad's side are the nations of Russia and 
Iran; also, the terrorist group Hezbollah, of course, sponsored by 
Iran. Lining up on the so-called rebels' side are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, 
Egypt, and numerous rebel groups from patriots to criminals to al Qaeda 
and outside mercenaries.
  For 2 years, the United States has just ignored the situation; but 
now, suddenly, the administration has decided it's time to get 
involved. The administration's answer: send the rebels American guns. 
Send the rebels American guns? Blindly traffic American guns into Syria 
and, I guess, hope for the best.
  Does this sound familiar, Mr. Speaker? We've tried this before. We've 
seen this song and dance in Libya and even in Mexico, our neighbor. 
This administration is gun-happy to give guns away. In Libya, the 
administration armed the rebel group to oust Muammar Qadhafi, another 
bad guy. Well, where are those guns now? Were they used in Benghazi? 
Who knows. The administration is still silent on Benghazi. Those guns 
are scattered all over the Middle East and in north Africa.
  Were they used in Algeria? Remember, Mr. Speaker, in Algeria there 
were Americans working at an energy plant there, along with other 
citizens from other countries. Two Americans were killed in that 
attack. Were they also used in Mali? Who knows. Only time will tell. 
And who has died because these weapons end up in the wrong hands every 
time we give American guns away to rebel groups?
  By providing weapons to radical sectors fighting against Assad, we're 
really taking sides in somebody else's war. We're also arming some 
radicals who seek to destroy us, like al Qaeda, who is fighting on the 
side of rebels. More weapons will only escalate this conflict. More 
people are going to die because the United States picks sides.
  But Syria and Libya are not the first time this administration 
blindly trafficked weapons to terrorists. Let's go back to our own 
hemisphere. Let's talk about our neighbor, Mexico. Do you remember 
Operation Fast and Furious? We still haven't gotten answers on that 
  In an effort to help fight the drug cartels, the administration sent 
thousands of weapons to Mexico without even telling the Mexican 
Government. And who got those weapons? The drug cartels.

                              {time}  1220

  Of course these guns ended up in the hands of the terrorists--the 
narcoterrorists--and resulted in the death of at least two or three 
Americans and hundreds of Mexican nationals. Another botched gunrunning 
operation sponsored by the U.S. Government.
  Too bad we don't learn from history and stop this nonsense of 
furnishing guns to groups in somebody else's country. Did we implement 
universal background checks on the violent criminals we armed in Syria, 
Libya and Mexico? Yeah, right. Is this the new foreign policy of the 
United States--international weapons trafficking?
  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this administration is on a tireless 
crusade to ban guns in the United States. Mr. Speaker, why is the White 
House so determined on disarming Americans while arming known potential 
terrorists, bandits, drug lords and mercenaries? Ironic, don't you 
think? But that's a different issue for a different day.
  And I ask this question: What is the national security interest of 
the United States to be involved in Syria, in somebody else's civil 
war? There is none. This is not our war.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a regional religious war that we should not be 
involved in. It's a war between the Sunnis and the Shias. These two 
religious groups have been fighting each other since the year 630, and 
now we're involved in this regional, religious war. What's next? Is the 
administration going to propose and implement a no-fly zone? Well, if 
this occurs, I believe the President must ask for congressional 
approval under the War Powers Act.
  Almost 100,000 Syrians are dead.
  No question, the U.S. should help with humanitarian aid.
  The U.S. should work for a political solution, not a military 
  But the Administration's policy seems to be traffic guns to third 
world countries and subversives and hope for the best.
  However, recent history has shown this is a bad idea.
  This is a dangerous foreign policy.
  What area of the world is next for our gun running government?
  Wait and see.
  And that's just the way it is.

                             War Powers Act

                               (In Part)

       50 USC Sec. 1541--Purpose and policy
       (a) Congressional declaration
       It is the purpose of this chapter to fulfill the intent of 
     the framers of the Constitution of the United States and 
     insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and 
     the President will apply to the introduction of United States 
     Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where 
     imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by 
     the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in 
     hostilities or in such situations.
       (b) Congressional legislative power under necessary and 
     proper clause
       Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is 
     specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power 
     to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into 
     execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers 
     vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United 
     States, or in any department or officer hereof.
       (c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; 
       The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-
     Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into 
     hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in 
     hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are 
     exercised only pursuant to
       (1) a declaration of war,
       (2) specific statutory authorization, or
       (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United 
     States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces