CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

News Release October 11, 2002


Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that for the past three days the U.S. Congress has been considering House Joint Resolution 114 to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. As a Senior Member of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Faleomavaega was asked last evening to manage the Resolution for 4 hours on the House floor.

"During the House debate, I also had the opportunity to speak out about the critical times our nation is facing. The President has asked the U.S. Congress to make a decision about whether or not we should authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"Having just returned from a 16 hour flight from American Samoa where I had the opportunity of participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for our new U.S. Army Reserve Center, I shared with my colleagues that the people of American Samoa have an historic record of military service. Our Army Reservists are part of the 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry. American Samoa also has a per capita enlistment rate in the U.S. military which is as high as any State or U.S. Territory. Our sons and daughters have served in record numbers in every U.S. military engagement from WWII to present operations in our war against terrorists," the Congressman said.

"I have reflected on the service of American Samoa’s warriors as I have weighed my decision about whether or not we should support a resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. I have also reflected on my own military service during the Vietnam War. As a Vietnam veteran, I tell you that war is not pretty. If it all possible, war should be avoided and this is why I am happy to observe that our President’s initial rhetoric on this most serious matter has now been more realistically applied."

"The fact is, the President must come to Congress to justify himself on whether or not we should put our military men and women in harm’s way. Our Founding Fathers made this perfectly clear. In the Constitution, it is clearly written that the power to declare war is given to Congress, not to the President. Congress is also given the important responsibility of raising an Army and a Navy," the Congressman said. "Our Founding Fathers gave Congress this power because they did not want a king or an emperor to rule over us. Our Founding Fathers wanted to make sure our system of government was a system of checks and balances."

"I am pleased that the President has committed to work for the necessary resolution while also making clear that Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable. I also have full faith and confidence in our U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. I am confident that Secretary Powell will exhaust every diplomatic means possible before supporting the use of military force."

"When Secretary Powell appeared before our Committee on International Relations, I told him that I did not want another Vietnam War. I don’t want to hear another bunch of half-baked plans and objectives being made by some bureaucrats in the Pentagon instituting a policy where the enemy soldiers can shoot at you, but you can’t shoot back."

"I then asked Secretary Powell some questions that were very near to my heart. I asked Secretary Powell if and when our Nation should ever declare war, are we going to go there and win and nothing less? Secretary Powell’s response was yes, if we are going to war, we are going to war to win," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"Given these assurances, I voted in favor of the proposed resolution when it came before our International Relations Committee and I fully supported the Resolution when it came to the House floor today. I am pleased that the House passed the Resolution and I am hopeful that before our Nation commits its sons and daughters to war, it will apply these six principles proposed by former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger."

"Commit only if our allies and our vital interests are at stake. If we do commit, do so with all of the resources necessary to win. Go in only with clear political and military objectives. Be ready to change the commitment if the objectives change, since war is rarely standstill. Number five, only take on commitments that gain the support of the American people and the Congress. And, number six, commit U.S. forces only as a last resort."

"I am hopeful that the leaders of our Nation will apply these principles and like every other American, I am putting my faith in God," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "I pray for American Samoa. I pray for our sons and daughters. May God bless you and may God bless America."

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