6/06 Iraq Safer Than Washington, DC
Rep. Steve King
COMPARING THE STATISTICS — (House of Representatives)
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 4, 2005, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) is recognized for half of the time before midnight as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. KING of Iowa: As always, I profoundly appreciate the opportunity to address you, Mr. Speaker, and in doing so addressing this Chamber; and the echo of the voice that comes here echoes to the American people all across this continent, and indeed and in fact across the world.
Mr. Speaker, as I listen to the dialogue here in this deliberative body and listen to some of the statistics and some of the opinions that were presented here several speakers ago, primarily by the gentlewoman from Ohio speaking in opposition to our operations in Iraq and the concern that she has about the loss of life, which I share, but also the advice and the admonitions that came through that were not supportive of our Secretary of Defense, not supportive of the strategy. I think, though, that her remarks were made all in good spirit and I think in a fashion that she believes is the best course for this country to take. So I don’t take issue with the motive, Mr. Speaker, but I just have a different opinion and I have a different viewpoint on a number of the statistics, so I will try to illuminate this issue a little bit.
The statement was made by the gentlewoman that there have been 27,000 civilians that have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of our operations there, and that date for me would be March 22, 2003. That, indeed, may be the number, and I don’t take issue with the specificity of that number of 27,000 civilians killed. I would point out, though, that there have been now 3 years and a little more than a month go by, so one would need to divide that down to take a look at it from an annual perspective, and that would take that down to about 9,000 civilians a year.
Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me as I sit here in this Chamber and evaluate this that not too long ago I was down in South America on a trade mission through Brazil and also Argentina and a couple of other smaller countries briefly, and there in Sao Paulo, a large city in the southern part of Brazil, they informed me that they had an annual number of murders in that city of 10,000 people that died violent deaths at the hands of murderers in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now, whether you want to measure that that city is the compressed inner city with a lower population or the city and its suburbs with a larger population, and perhaps that could go as many as 16 million or maybe even larger for the size of the city, Mr. Speaker, that is still an astonishing number to think of 10,000 people in a single city that are murdered in a single year, a high level of violence.
So when I came back, I took a look at some statistics to try to get a handle on this, to try to put it in perspective. And one of the ways we can do that is we look at the communities that we know that we live in where we see the crime figures day by day on the front page of the paper, and sadly often they don’t make the front page of our paper, and look also at other countries where we are paying intense attention. So I pulled those statistics together for a number of countries.
Of course, Iraq would be number one on that list. And the statistics are given on many web pages and easily available to all, Mr. Speaker, but the number of murder victims, deaths due to violent acts, murder victims per 100,000. So you take it down into that number per 100,000, it puts it in a balanced perspective, it is apples to apples, and it will give a person an idea of about what kind of a violent society we might be dealing with.
So as I look at these numbers, Mr. Speaker, I actually didn’t come up with the numbers for Brazil and I couldn’t find the numbers for the city of Sao Paulo, but I did find the numbers for Iraq. For Iraq, the victims of violence, and in that we include the bombing victims, of civilians and those that are victims also of murder in Iraq, it comes down to 27.51 deaths per 100,000 per year; 27.51 is the number. So if you are living in a city of exactly 100,000 people, statistically there would be 27.51 of them who would die a violent death in any given year. That is the statistical number. And, of course, we know there are anomalies, and we know there are concentrations of tragedies, and we know there are long terms of peacefulness that go on in other parts of the country. But this helps us understand how a country like Iraq can continue to move forward with the kind of violence that we see on television. It makes me wonder, Mr. Speaker, if we aren’t seeing almost all of the violence that goes on in Iraq on television because we are seeing those high levels of violence continually in front of our faces every day. I think it is sometimes intentional and strategic rather than news; 27.51 fatalities per 100,000 in Iraq.
Now, how does this compare across the rest of the world? Well, one might look at a country, say, like Venezuela, 31.61 violent deaths per 100,000. So Venezuela is slightly more dangerous to live in than Iraq is.
And Jamaica, 32.40 violent deaths per 100,000 compared to the 27.51 in Iraq. Jamaica is slightly more dangerous to live in than Iraq.
And then you have South Africa. It jumps all the way up to 49.60.
Now, we are starting to see some numbers here that take us up to almost twice the rate, it is a little less than twice the rate of Iraq’s fatality rate; 49.60 in South Africa per 100,000.
But we do have some numbers that go over twice the rate. One of those would be Colombia. Iraq, 27.51 deaths per 100,000; Colombia, 61.78 violent deaths per 100,000, more than two times as many deaths there. It is more than twice as dangerous to be a civilian living supposedly in peace and harmony in Colombia than it is to be a civilian living in the middle of this chaos in Iraq that I hear is intolerable.
Mr. Speaker, I would point out that if it is intolerable to face that kind of violence as a percentage of the population in Iraq that is unsustainable and that somehow we should pull out of there and wash our hands and give up or cut and run or maybe split the country up into three different sections, and then imagine what kind of violence we would have if we pitted those three factors against each other. But, instead, I will submit that we are being treated with a relentless drum beat of television violence in Iraq that, even though it is honestly represented in those significant instances, we don’t have our television cameras lined up on the emergency rooms in the United States. We don’t have them lined up here in the emergency rooms in Washington, D.C. or Detroit or Baltimore or New Orleans or Atlanta or St. Louis.
Mr. Speaker, speaking of those cities, I would point out that there is a way also to draw a measure, a measure that Americans will have a different feel for when I lay out the casualty rates for violent deaths in our cities in America. And it occurs to me when I look at these statistics that it is far more dangerous for my wife to live here in Washington, D.C. than it would be if she were living as an Iraqi civilian citizen in a random place in Iraq. Now, we know there are places with higher violent rates, but 27.51 deaths per 100,000 in Iraq per year.
I am going to go to Washington, D.C.; 45.9 deaths per 100,000, Mr. Speaker, compared to the 27.5 in Iraq per 100,000.
Detroit, 41.8. It is getting a little safer in Detroit than it is in Washington, D.C., but still far more dangerous in Detroit than it is in Iraq to be a civilian.
Baltimore, 37.7; Atlanta, 34.9; St. Louis, 31.4. We are getting down there closer to the fatality rate to live in St. Louis rather than living somewhere in Iraq at 27.51.
So what city might be comparable, a city that we would be familiar with that would have a violent death rate that one would compare to the equivalent of being a civilian in Iraq? Well, Mr. Speaker, if there are people out there that are sitting in Oakland, California, tonight and they are thinking about how they are living safe in their living room, they are just slightly safer in their living rooms living in the community of Oakland, California, than they are living in a random community in Iraq. The Oakland fatality rate for a violent death is 26.1 compared to the 27.51 in Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, I think this makes the point very well that we can be delivered a constant drum beat of violence, and then we begin to think that it is an intolerable violence and something that is such a high level that it can’t continue, that a civil society just simply can’t sustain that kind of an onslaught, when, truthfully, the violent level in Iraq is well less than half of the violent level in Colombia, and they sustain themselves although not so well. Slightly higher than half the rate of South Africa; they sustain themselves.
We go to Jamaica because it is a wonderful place to visit, but the violence level there is a little more violent than Iraq, slightly less violent than Oakland, California.
Venezuela, I mentioned.
The one that I left off was New Orleans. Thinking in terms of 27.51 deaths per 100,000 violent deaths in Iraq; New Orleans before Katrina, 53.1, almost twice the violent deaths in New Orleans as there is in Iraq.
So that gives us a sense, I think, Mr. Speaker that this is a manageable violence rate. And although we abhor all violence and as much as we have struggled to bring a civil society and order there, there is still the insurgency. There are still the people who believe that they will gain their power back if they keep attacking Americans, if they keep attacking Iraqis.
But we heard today from the Secretary of Defense that there are 254,000 Iraqis in uniform defending Iraqis. Those numbers are going up. They are heading towards 325,000. And each day that goes by, we have more Iraqi troops in uniform, better trained, better equipped, taking on more and more of the security tasks that are there. Yes, some are being led by Americans; many are being advised by Americans. They have taken over 30 of the bases, the Iraqi troops. These are the good guys on our side, taking over 30 of the bases there to manage. They are performing well, they are engaging in battle, they are not cutting and running, and we are standing up a military in Iraq that can more than face down these insurgents.
Mr. Speaker, the point of all of this, and I think it is a point that needs to be made, is we have been engaged in a war on terror, and we continue to be in this global war on terror, the operations that go on globally and primarily in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I don’t hear complaints from this side of the aisle about the operations in Afghanistan. They are essentially universally acclaimed as a tremendous military accomplishment. But you can’t have a sustainable military accomplishment unless you have also an effective political accomplishment. There has to be a political solution to follow every military operation and accomplishment, or it cannot be sustained, and behind that political solution needs to be an economic solution. Afghanistan is on the way.
Iraq has been a more difficult struggle, but it is essentially the same equation with a couple of important differences. One is that Iraq is surrounded by countries who have been funding, equipping and sending insurgents in, our enemies. That consistent supply of munitions and equipment and people has made it a relentless insurgent effort in Iraq. We will get a handle on that, especially the more the Iraqis step up, the more tips they get, the more they are able to come in and, with special forces, knock out the leadership of al Qaeda. There have been several times that Zarqawi has been within a few minutes of coming under the control of coalition forces. In fact, he was at one time under the control of the Iraqi forces, and they didn’t realize who they had, and had they realized that, that part would be over. But the effort that is going on in Iraq is more complicated; it has a more organized opposition.
But the rewards on the other side, Mr. Speaker, also can be more substantial than the rewards in Afghanistan, and for a couple of important reasons. One of those reasons is the strategic location of Iraq. It is surrounded by Syria on the one side and Iran on the other side, in close proximity of course by Kuwait and in close proximity to Saudi Arabia. The image that comes from a successful and prosperous Iraq emanates into those countries and into all Arab countries. And if this military solution in Iraq, which is nearly at its completion, and now that we have an opportunity watching the politics in Iraq with our new prime minister and I should say their new prime minister whom they selected, Jawad al Maliki, the new prime minister of Iraq, they now are in the process and forming a truly legitimate government. It has taken them 4 months, but they are putting in place people now, and the minister will soon be seated. And when that happens, this government that I hoped would be up 3 months ago could likely be up in just a few weeks, up and running and functioning, giving order to the country, giving direction to it, carrying on command-and-control operations from the top down, sending out the payroll to the people that are working within government, getting supplies out, fixing the infrastructure, keeping the flow of goods and commerce and munitions and essential supplies to the people of Iraq, giving order.
Mr. Speaker, when that order comes, the insurgents will realize something, and I think that what they will need to realize is what the losers in every war have to conclude. And that is, a war is never over until the losing side realizes that they have lost. They have got to get to that point where they don’t have the hope any longer, they don’t have the ability any longer to carry out war.
Von Clausewitz wrote, his most common summary of his quotes on his book on war, that, “the object of war is to destroy the enemy’s will and ability to conduct war.” I put it down into simple terms. I say, “War is never over until the enemy realizes they have lost.” And so that message is getting through to the other side, and I think that Zarqawi is desperate.
As they beat the drum and put more information out through the media, we are not seeing the kind of activity that would indicate to me that they have an ability to carry on this war very much longer. As the Iraqis step up in uniform and go from 254,000 on their way to 325,000, they will be in a position to occupy, to control order, and they can penetrate any operation going on in Iraq. The day will come not too far from now when the enemy has to realize that the object of war has been reached by the Coalition Forces and that they have lost.
Now there is another thing that happens here when you are engaged in a war, especially when you are in a free country, a constitutional republic with constitutional rights, freedom of speech, press and assembly. You cannot control the freedom of speech, press and assembly that goes on in the United States of America. So we sometimes do the foolish thing: We sometimes have people who are tools of the enemy. We sometimes have people who utter words and phrases, people who are viewed as quasi leaders of the United States who undermine our effort.
I have with me here a poster.
Mr. Speaker, this is a poster of the senior Senator from Massachusetts; and he says this back on April 6, 2004, “This was made up in Texas. This whole thing was a fraud. Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam.” April, 2004.
What does this mean to the people who are fighting against us? What does this mean to the insurgents who are sitting in their hovel somewhere, making a bomb, trying to get the courage to plant and detonate that bomb? It encourages the enemy.
If one does not think so, I thought I would go to the Vietnam archives and see what I could learn about what kind of message did they get during the Vietnam War. I came across a quote that came from a 1995 interview with a North Vietnamese colonel, Colonel Bui Tin. He was the colonel that received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism. He has a viewpoint different than when he was fighting for communism.
But when asked, when Colonel Tin was asked this question, how did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans, he replied, by fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh said: “We do not need to win military victories. We only need to hit them until they give up and get out.”
The follow-up question: Was the American anti-war movement important to Hanoi’s victory? Colonel Bui Tin responded, “It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark,” who has not given up his tactics yet, Mr. Speaker, “gave us confidence we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she with ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.”
And another question of Colonel Bui Tin: “Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?”
“Why did they pay keen attention?”
His response: “Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power into our favor. America lost because of its democracy. Through dissent and protest, it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.”
Mr. Speaker, that statement bears repeating in part. He answered, “Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor.”
Does it sound like some of the voices we have heard today coming from the other side of the aisle, Mr. Speaker? And is it the same sentiment and will it be the same result? Or will we have the courage and the fortitude and the foresight and the will to stand up for truth, to stand up for this mission, to stand up with our troops that have put their lives on the line for us and for our freedom and for the free destiny of America?
Can we let Bui Tin make a point that a democracy, because it has freedom of speech and we allow people who are seen as the leaders to speak without consequence, sending a message out to all of the people in this country and the people across the world that want to listen that we do not have the resolve to continue this fight and win this fight and leave a new legacy that puts aside the old legacies of Vietnam, the legacies of Mogadishu and the legacies of Lebanon? It is up to us.
As I think about a meeting I had with General Casey in Baghdad last August, he said to me, the enemy cannot win if the politicians stay in the fight. We discussed on the way back did he mean Iraqi politicians or American politicians, and I concluded that he meant both. It is essential that both the Iraqi politicians and the American politicians stay in the fight. It is our job to do that.
I stood in a mess hall in Iraq more than a year ago. There was a soldier, a Captain Richards. He shook my hand and looked into my eyes and said, I am proud to fight for my country and serve my country, but why do I have to fight the United States news media, too?
My answer is, you should not have to fight the news media. That is my job. It is my job, and it is the job of the Members of Congress to make sure that the truth comes out and we stand up for the people who are defending our freedom. Use the freedom of speech to defend freedom, not the freedom of speech to undermine freedom.
I have more illustrations, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, this is the gentleman who has been in the news lately, Zawahiri. He heard the message from Vietnam that came from the senior Senator from Massachusetts. When the senior Senator said Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam, here is the words that came out of the mouth of Zawahiri: “The collapse of American power in Vietnam, they ran and left.”
We think that does send a message to all of our future enemies when we pull out of an operation, an operation that, when that happened, it cost perhaps as many as 3 million lives in Southeast Asia when the power structure collapsed, and it happened because we lost the will in this country.
This operation in Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, not in its severity, not in its casualties. It does not have any jungles or mountains. It is a barren desert. There is no place for the enemy to hide. Zarqawi said that in his letter that he wrote a year ago last April. There is no place to hide, and the Iraqis that are willing to take them in are as rare as red sulfur. I do not know how rare red sulfur is in Iraq, but I think it is on the order of as rare as hen’s teeth.
Another message, Muqtada al-Sadr. He has been in the news also a lot lately. I saw this image and heard this voice as I sat in a hotel room in Kuwait waiting to go into Iraq the next day. I was watching al-Jazeera TV. That is always a good thing to do when you are in a foreign country, turn on the TV and see the images that they portray. You can get a sense of what people are focusing on, even if you cannot understand the language. This was in Arabic audio, but the crawler underneath was in English.
As I watched that mouth go up and down, this is what I heard: If we keep attacking Americans, they will leave Iraq the same way as they left Vietnam, the same way they left Lebanon, the same way they left Mogadishu.
Sound familiar? I think so. I think Muqtada al-Sadr is getting his lessons the same way. He is listening to the American left. He is being encouraged by the voices that are quasi leaders in this Congress, both in the House and the Senate, the people who keep predicting defeat and saying before the operation begins that we cannot win.
Some people from the United States House of Representatives went to Iraq to surrender before the operations ever began. Yet our military went in there and in record time went in and invaded and liberated and occupied the largest city ever in the history of the world. They traveled across more miles of desert than anybody had before. And that is the most powerful message. He is listening to the voice that comes out.
We need to understand when we are talking here we need to talk about our resolve and staying the course, finishing the job, and sticking with our military.
And what does our military say? When I visit them in the hospital or visit them in Iraq or when they come back home, they want to finish this fight. Those that are wounded want to get better and go back and get into the fight. They feel a little guilty sometimes that they might have been able to avoid getting injured, and they want to get back in the fight and rejoin their troops. That is the patriotic American way. We need to stand and defend that.
We have another voice here that I think we need to hear. It is another voice of the defeatist left, the chairman of the Democrat Party, Howard Dean. “The idea that we are going to win in Iraq is just plain wrong.” That was December, 2005.
What kind of message does that echo through the hovels in Iraq where the insurgents live and plan and plot to attack Americans? Does that make them think that the United States has lost its resolve? If they are reading the quotes from Bui Tin and General Japp and Ho Chi Minh, don’t they think that the lack of will in the United States today would be comparable to the lack of will during the Vietnam War?
It is not the same war, the same time or the same people. If we pulled out of Iraq and let that nation break down into chaos, the consequences for this country, the consequences for freedom, the consequences that we would have to face in this global war on terror would be catastrophic. I do not think a reasonable person can really contemplate the idea of pulling out or backing off to the horizon and disengaging and only going in when there is a real, real crisis, or the idea that we should provide for separating Iraq into three different geographical areas.
Where did that come from, Senator? That discussion should have been taken place long ago. To sit back and throw a Monday morning quarterback recommendation out there throws more instability into the Middle East and makes it harder for our diplomats, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and harder for our President to try to lend a sense of calm and support.
The Iraqis are committed to one Iraq. I have asked the same question about what would happen if Iraq were divided. I asked that question quietly of people that know. And every time I ask that question, I get an answer: Don’t talk about it; don’t think about it, don’t try it. We are Iraqis and we are Iraqis first; and we are Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis after that. I am going to stand with one Iraq. That is the organization that is there. We have to stick with that. Anything else undermines it.
Mr. Speaker, that is the situation in Iraq. We can stand together on this, and we will. Our troops are not going to blink. Our leadership is not going to blink.
Our Secretary of Defense has done an outstanding job. He is reorganizing our military right in the middle of combat operations. They are reorganizing it into brigade combat teams.
Some of generals who have been critical of our Secretary of Defense are the ones who are not supporting a reorganization of the military, especially the Army. They are some of those traditional ways diehards.
Of all of the thousands of generals that we have, we have found six that disagree with the Secretary of Defense. That is hardly a movement. That is hardly something that I think should cause us to rearrange our entire military thinking. But you can always find a dissenter. You can always find a critic. Time will help us fix this.
There are three phases of the operations in Iraq. There is a military security phase. Hopefully, we are reaching the end of that, where we hand that over to the Iraqis. It will require our presence and advisers there for a long time, but they will get a handle on the violence.
The second phase in the political phase. Now with a new prime minister and a government that is in the process of being properly formed, this will be the first government in Iraqi. Of all of the elections that they have had there and all of the people who have been involved, from our CPA and Paul Bremer, this is the first government that has been formed to govern, not simply to be an interim government to get to a constitution and then to be able to get to an election.
So progress can be made every day as soon as they are squared away and in shape.
The next phase is the economic solution in Iraq. And they have so much more opportunity than Afghanistan. But the oil that is so rich there, up around Kirkuk and down around Basra, and the natural resources in this country are tremendous. And so I am hopeful that the Iraqi will realize that they own those natural resources. They are theirs. The United States has taken the pledge that we are not in there for the oil, except that we are going to want to buy some oil from them. But they need to have capital invested so they can sink more wells, put in more pipelines, build more refineries, upgrade the refineries that they have and be able to get oil flowing out of that country and cash flowing in.
And I might point out, Mr. Speaker, that it might not be too bad an idea to build enough refineries there that they could refine some oil that might come from Iran. Those folks over there, they are busy processing uranium so that they can have nuclear power in Iran, supposedly to produce electricity. And at the same time, they are not refining their oil, to the point where they have to import gas to burn in Iran; a very odd thing to think that you don’t have refineries to refine all the crude oil that you have, but you have to go out and have nuclear reactors to generate electricity in Iran when you have got plenty of oil, plenty of fuel and yet you are not refining it. If it is science that they want, they are going after, I think, the wrong science.
But no one really believes them, Mr. Speaker. They have made plenty of noises about going down the path of establishing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, and they have made a lot of threatening noises, and they have threatened to annihilate Israel. And they have said if the United States does anything evil, they are going to attack Israel. They don’t define evil, except they define us as evil. And so the odds of being able to resolve the issue with Iran gets slimmer and slimmer each day.
What we know is we cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. The threat and the risk of that, the destabilization in the Middle East, not just what it does to the oil supply, but having a nuclear missile aimed at Tel Aviv, realizing that they would take Tel Aviv out in a heartbeat if they could, and that capability would destroy the only democracy in the Middle East, and we know that Israel can’t tolerate that, and we know that we do not want to have Iran threatening the rest of the world with missiles that will reach out there at 2,500 kilometers. And it won’t take long for them to get larger missiles that can go further yet.
So we have to turn pressure on Iran. And in the end, they must understand that they will not have a nuclear weapon, and they will not have a delivery capability, and we will have to make sure that they do not by using every means at our disposal before the military option is required.
Those are two of the situations here, Mr. Speaker. And then as some other things flow through my mind, and I look at the situation here in the United States, we are quite a country. And we have had a lot of people pour into the streets of America over the last several weeks. It has been rather astonishing to watch the foreign flags unfurled in the streets, the American flags flown upside down, the Mexican flag flying on top of the flag pole at a high school in California with an upside-down American flag right underneath there.
It is interesting to watch the second wave of demonstrations, when they seemed to take the coaching a little bit better and put on white shirts and flew more American flags. Of course the foreign flags were also in their midst although in significantly fewer numbers.
And then on May 1, the International Workers Day, the day where the socialists and communists around the world take to the streets to march and demonstrate, that was the day that it appeared that the movement for advocating for illegal aliens in America apparently was co-opted by the socialist communist movement in the world. Some of the descendents of the Workers World Party, the Communist party front, I will say, here in the United States and also ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, those organizations, socialist organizations at best, more akin to Marxist organizations, are bringing people to the streets to demonstrate in the United States.
What a concept, Mr. Speaker, to get people to walk off their jobs, to walk out of their schools and plug the streets and refuse to do business with anybody that is, I will say, a non-Hispanic American, and then argue that this is a day for all immigrants, when they are seeking to punish their employers and punish the merchants that they would normally do business with and by walking out the schools, somehow figure that they are punishing the schools instead of the students. Not a very rational approach. And I dubbed it Biting the Hand That Feeds You Day. Because the punishment, if there was any, was to be delivered to the people that were most inclined to be supportive of illegals in this country.
And so, perhaps a million, 1.1 million, 1.3 million people took to the streets on Monday of this week to send a message all across America that they are demanding that they get a path to citizenship and hopefully a fast path to citizenship.
And I would argue, Mr. Speaker, that, you know, they came into this country and did so illegally. They argue that they are not criminals. But in fact, it is a crime to enter the United States today. Passing the law that makes it a felony makes it a penalty greater than, it is 6 months in jail and deportation if you enter the United States illegally today. And if the House Resolution 4437 should pass the Senate with the President’s signature on it, it would make it a felony. That would be a year and a day penalty instead of 6 months. But regardless, it is still a crime to enter the United States. It is a crime to go to work in the United States illegally. And it isn’t that they are not criminals. They break the law every day they go to work.
But I fault, Mr. Speaker, not just the illegals. In fact, I put it in this opposite order. I fault the government of the United States, the Federal Government. For the last 20 years, the enforcement effort has diminished incrementally year by year for the last 20 years. And the Federal Government has the first responsibility to defend our shores, defend our borders, defend our national security. But they let the situation get out of hand to the point where there are 3 to 4 million illegals who poured across our southern border within the last year. The Border Patrol stopped 1,159,000. That would be for 2004. For 2005, that number would be about 1,188,000. Now, they adjudicated for deportation in 2004, 1,640 was all. And some of those out of that 1.2 million or so that they did stop, some of those were taken to the border and sent back through the turnstile. Some were released on their own recognizance because it wasn’t a logistically feasible thing to do to send them back.
Well, some of them come back the next day. Some of them come back within hours of the time that they are sent back to their home country.
This number keeps growing and it keeps ballooning, Mr. Speaker, and we must do something. And I think Democrats and Republicans agree that we need to control our borders.
As Congressman Gingrey says, when you are in an emergency room in a hospital and you get a patient that comes in and they are bleeding all over the place, you don’t stop and debate about what you are going to do, how you are going to clean up the mess; you stop the bleeding first and you stabilize the patient. And that is what we sought to do here in this House with H.R. 4437. Stop the bleeding, stabilize the patient, get control of our laws, enforce them, and then begin a debate on what to do about how to get the patient rehabilitated again, after we get this patient stabilized. We can’t do both of these things at once, Mr. Speaker. But we do need to do some things to pull this country together.
Mr. Speaker, again, it is important for us to bring some stability to this immigration issue. It is a national security issue. This is a national security issue as much as the global war on terror is a national security issue. And the statistics that I have looked at tell me that we have a slow-motion terrorist attack going on in the United States that comes across our southern border.
Now, some will say that if I point out the crimes of anyone coming into the United States, that somehow I am labeling everyone who illegally comes into the United States as a violent criminal. And of course, we know that is not true.
About 11,000 illegals cross our southern border every day. If they were all murderers, we would double our murder rate practically just with 1 day’s supply. No, that is not the case. But the crimes that are committed by those who enter this country illegally are in significantly greater numbers than the crimes that are committed by American citizens, to the extent that 28 percent of the inmates in our prisons in the United States are criminal aliens, 28 percent. And that includes our city, our county, our State and our Federal penitentiaries. And they vary only 1 or 2 percent above or below, but they average 28 percent. And it costs us $6 billion a year to provide for the incarceration of the criminal aliens, and that is just the Federal dollars to speak of. And once we reach down into the cities, into the counties, there are other numbers out there that would grow that greater and greater. It is a minimum of $6 billion. And these numbers that I have come from, their SCAAP funding, the State Criminal Alien Assistance Plan. And all States don’t apply for SCAAP funding. So we know that these numbers are low numbers, not high numbers. But it is certain that there are more. I am just not certain how many more. But I can stand on 28 percent.
Now, that means then that criminal aliens are committing 28 percent of the crimes in the United States. And so that means 28 percent of the murders, 28 percent of the rapes, 28 percent of the violence and the assaults and battery, first- and second-degree murder and also manslaughter attacks are committed by criminal aliens.
Now, I think that is one of the reasons that I believe the illegal population in America is greater than those numbers that we are seeing. And I can’t imagine how, if 3 to 4 million come into the United States, and we may be direct, we tell over a million, 1.2 million, go home, but we don’t have any verification that they actually go home or stay home. Some we do verify they went home, but we can’t verify that any of them stayed home; this population is growing.
The Border Patrol would say that there is another 2 to 3 million that get by that don’t get stopped every year compared to the million that get stopped. So if this number in the United States is 3 million or more extra every year, some will die, yes, and some will go back home. That is true. And some will become citizens by hook or by crook, but there will still be a significant increase in the United States. And I think that number increases substantially, perhaps 2.5, maybe even as much as 3 million a year. That would take us on up to 20 million or more in this country, not 11 or 12 million. That is a more reasonable number. And if you think that the numbers could be 20 million or more, then it is easier to understand how you could have 28 percent of our criminal aliens in the penitentiaries. So this problem is a lot larger than most people think. And it comes down to this: If we had enforced our borders, if we hadn’t allowed any illegals to come into the United States, if we would have enforced our domestic laws so when people violated immigration laws internally, domestically; if we did those things, then we wouldn’t have illegal aliens in America to commit the crimes. And that would equate and extrapolate down to 12 fewer murders every day, 13 fewer people that die at the hands of negligent homicide, primarily the victims of drunk drivers, at least 8 little girls that are victims of sex crimes on a daily basis, and that number could be well higher than that because the average predator, perpetrator commits and is convicted on at least 3.6 victims. And that is the ones we find out about. There are many others that are not reported. In fact, they statistically say that there might be only 10 percent that are actually reported. These numbers are small numbers. They are the conservative side of the numbers, not the larger side of the numbers.
This is a slow-rolling, slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States costing us billions of dollars and, in fact, thousands of lives, and we have an obligation to protect the American people, and that means seal and protect our borders. And if we are able to do that, down the road a few years, once it is established, we could have a legitimate discussion about whether we could have a guest worker plan, whether we could open the greencards. But today we haven’t demonstrated that there is going to be enforcement. And without that demonstration of enforcement, I am not willing to go a step further and to insist that there will be enforcement.
But in this country, Mr. Speaker, we need to have cultural continuity. We need to pull together as a people. We need to pull together under our civilization, under a common cause, a common sense of history, a common language. And a common language is essential to any country.
In fact, I went through the World Book Encyclopedia. I went to the almanac and looked up all the flags of all the countries in the world, set it down beside the World Book Encyclopedia, looked them all up to see what is the official language. Every country that is registered in the almanac with a flag, what is their official language? Every single country in America has at least one official language, except the United States of America. We do not have an official language. We just have a common language called English. All the rest of the countries saw the wisdom of binding and tying any country together with a common language.
The Israelis, when they established their country in 1948, and I believe that anniversary was just yesterday or the day before, they established it from 1948 until 1954. In 1954, they established Hebrew as their official language, and they did so because they needed a common language to bind them together, a common form of communications currency, if you will, Mr. Speaker.
So people have understood that throughout the ages. That is something that has been known since Biblical times, how powerful a common language is.
Mr. Speaker, I propose that we move that kind of legislation and that we establish an official language here in the United States and do so for the purposes of pulling our people together.
We are being fractured by worshipping at the alter of multiculturalism. When that first came forward and I dealt with it, however many years ago, 30 years ago, perhaps, or more, when I first began to hear the term multiculturalism diversity, I really actually thought, fine, this sounds good, gives us an opportunity to recognize other cultures, other civilizations. People have things to be proud of. It is constructive. It is positive. And I went my merry way as kind of an endorser of multiculturalism and diversity.
As the years unfolded, Mr. Speaker, I came to a different conclusion. I came to the conclusion that identity politics were tearing America apart. Our rights come from God, and they are guaranteed to individuals, not to groups. God blesses us all equally and creates us all in His image; and He does not draw distinctions between us based upon skin color, ethnicity, or any other characteristics that we might want to be part of. And yet we insist upon dividing ourselves up and calling it “diversity.” And I think “diversity” really stands for “`division.”
So I did a little experiment. I went on the Web page at home, Iowa State University, typed in “multiculturalism” and looked up the student organizations that are there. It is quite an interesting list, all identity politics. It starts with African Students Association, and there are 50 of them, and it ends with Zeitgeist. And in the middle of that you will see the Identifying as M.E., the Multi-Ethnics. That is one of my favorites. They could not come up with a label, so they called themselves Multi-Ethnics.
But you have Amnesty International, Asian Pacific American Awareness Coalition, Benefiting the Education of Latinas in Leadership Academics and Sisterhood, Black Graduate Student Association; and before you can get there, you need to be part of the Black Student Alliance, the Brazilian-Portuguese Association, the French Club, the Iowa State Ukrainian Club, the Japanese Association, the Kenya Students Association, Latino Heritage Month. The list goes on and on and on, Mr. Speaker, 50 strong, identity politics, all of them viewing themselves as somehow disenfranchised, not having the same kind of access or the same kind of privileges or opportunities or rights maybe as someone else. Except for those that identify themselves as the Identifying as M.E., which stands for Multi-Ethnic. So they finally found one that was generic.
Perhaps I fit in there also, Mr. Speaker. But I thought, well, that is Iowa State and they are a Midwestern fairly conservative institution.
So what about Berkeley? So we typed in Berkeley and did a little search on student organizations there. The University of California, Berkeley, they came up with 118 of these identity politics groups on campus there.
We are using up our resources supporting organizations that are designed to identify the differences in us, not the commonalities, designed to divide us, not to pull us together, Mr. Speaker. And it is in the end going to pull us apart, pull us irrevocably apart, if we do not pull ourselves together and provide for some cultural continuity.
So I will submit, Mr. Speaker, that we need to establish English as the official language of the United States. We need to stand up together and say, enough of this identity politics, enough of this division politics, enough of the idea that you cannot be an American unless somehow you are part of this beautiful multicultural mosaic with a particular identifier on you.
It was good enough for Teddy Roosevelt to be just an American. In fact, he insisted upon it, Mr. Speaker. And I insist upon it as well, that we must pull together in that fashion. And if we fail to stay in touch with our Constitution, with our history, with our commonalities, if we fail to pull together in the same harness, Mr. Speaker, then shame on us. This country will be weaker; and this country, in fact, may not survive the attacks that are upon it.
So, rather than go into the balance of the solutions for America, Mr. Speaker, I just would conclude with this, that they are doing great work in Iraq. We are committed there. We must follow through and finish the task, whatever it takes. We have the resolve to do that.
We are watching as millions pour across our Southern border, and we are establishing some policy here in this city over the next few weeks that will establish the destiny of America. If we do not have the will to establish our border and control our border, we cannot be a Nation, if we let people come into America illegally and then they are the ones that are establishing our immigration policy, not us here in this Congress.
The Constitution gives Congress the authority, Congress the responsibility, to establish immigration law. We need to do that. We need to do that after a national debate.
But we will hear story after story after story of how people have put down their roots and now we cannot ask them to go back. But I will submit, Mr. Speaker, that what we need to do is seal the border, build a fence to do that, build it as tight as we need to to make it effective. We need to end birthright citizenship that is creating these anchor babies.
We need to shut off the jobs magnet by applying employer sanctions, by passing my legislation, which is called New IDEA, H.R. 3095, which is the New Illegal Deduction Elimination Act, that lets the IRS remove the deductibility of wages and benefits paid to illegals. When that happens, it will take the cost of a wage from, say, a $10 wage to an illegal, by the time the taxable component are factored in, take it on up to $16 an hour. That gives the American a chance to do the work or someone on a legal green card, rather than someone who is here illegally.
This is the United States of America, Mr. Speaker. We need to stand on defending our borders. We need to seal the border. We need to build a fence. We need to end birthright citizenship. We need to shut off the jobs magnet, pull ourselves together as a Nation in unity, and people will go back home when their job opportunities start to dry up here. We will not have to make that decision for them. The decision will be made. They got here on their own. They can go back on their own. It is not a matter of trying to deport 12 million or 22 million people.
But I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that if the Senate passes and this House should pass and the President should sign a guest worker program that might well have 22 million people who have a fast track to citizenship, they will also be able to invite in their immediate family. If each one of them invites just simply four of their immediate family in, a father, a spouse, and a couple of children, just four, that means 88 million new ones that are not calculated here. Add that to the 22 million or so that are here, and you have the entire population of Mexico brought into the United States in a single generation. If that is our intent, we ought to have the will to stand on the floor of this Congress, Mr. Speaker, and say so, rather than do this in some kind of way that opens the gate and lets the American people find out about it after it is too late.
With that, I thank the Speaker for his indulgence.
Steve King is the Republican Congressman representing the 5th District of Iowa.