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Statement on War Powers for Bush

September 14, 2001

Mr. Speaker:

The horrendous tragedies of this week warrant a strong and judicious response, however I'm concerned that the language of this resolution could result in dangerous foreign policy.

The perpetrators of this crime must be dealt with. However, we must ensure that when we strike back, we deliver a massive blow against those truly responsible for this terrible crime.

We as a nation stand for the rule of law. Perpetrators of crimes, no matter their size or scope, are afforded a trial through a judicial process. That means that targeted assassinations and no death squads.

In the aftermath of this horrendous act, let us not forget that real security and real peace come through justice. I too feel extreme pain and outrage at the attack on America, but our nation must respond with a commitment to justice or else we become all that we abhor.

The United States confronted this very same decision at the close of World War II: that is the struggle for justice in the face of tyranny. There were those who called for widespread executions of Nazis, Japanese leadership, and their civilians. On the other side were those who urged reason and a return to the rule of law. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who led the prosecution at Nuremberg said it best:

"That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason."

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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