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Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney blasts H.R. 3908 "Emergency" supplemental

March 29, 2000

Mr. Speaker, if this bill weren't so serious, I'd think it's a joke. Once again, the United States is proposing a huge military alliance with a foreign military known for its human rights abuses. Now, you'd think we'd have learned our lesson by now. How long ago was it that Bill Clinton went to Guatemala and apologized for fueling that country's generation-long slide into chaos? But, just a year later, you could say, "Here we go again."

No one seriously denies the link of vicious paramilitary groups to the Colombian government and here we're going to turn over to known human rights abusers the means by which they can perfect their trade.

As we stand here on the Floor today, 3,000 union leaders, students, parents, shopkeepers and others are standing before 3,000 armed Colombian soldiers, forming a human shield to protect the peaceful U'wa people that the Colombian government wants to move off their ancestral land to make way for Occidental Petroleum's oil rigs. We should be standing with the people, not giving aid and encouragement to Colombia's brutal military.

We should have learned our lessons well about going in with the military where only diplomacy should be allowed to tread. Unfortunately, it appears that we have not. Because in addition to Plan Colombia, this bill also provides an additional 5 billion dollars to keep us in Kosovo: Another failed military blunder that diplomacy should have resolved.

After our military gambit in Kosovo, we have left 31,000 rounds of depleted uranium rounds and 50% unemployment; in some areas rising to 85%. The crumbling infrastructure is yet to be rebuilt and our European allies haven't lived up to the commitments they made at the beginning of that adventure.

Time and time again, this Congress commits our troops to military adventures without a plan to bring them home. Last year, US aircraft flew over 1,000 sorties in Iraq nearly a decade after that war supposedly ended and the civilian death toll climbed over one million. In Kosovo, our limited engagement has turned into a permanent occupation. Now we are being asked to fund the Vietnamizaton of Barry McCaffrey's war without an exit strategy or end game.

We ought to take a page out of Nancy Reagan's book and just say no. It seems that an emergency is only an emergency when multi-million dollar arms sales are at stake. We think nothing of spending a million dollars each for cruise missiles or attack helicopters, but to reverse the devastation of Mozambique that is suffering a real emergency today, it doesn't even make it on our radar screens.

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