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Sam Brownback on War & Peace

Republican Sr Senator (KS)


Iraq war is about terrorism, not oil

Q: Would we have gone to war in Iraq if we weren’t so dependent on Middle East oil?

A: I don’t believe that in the least. What I voted for was the war on terrorism. And Afghanistan was where the Taliban was -- where al Qaeda was located; it was run by the Taliban. And we saw in Iraq what we thought was the mixture of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. And it was in 2003, this was in close proximity to 2001, when we had the 9/11 crisis, and I wasn’t about to trust that Saddam Hussein wasn’t going to mix terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. And we haven’t found the weapons of mass destruction, but that doesn’t mean we leave. And I think the Bush administration has generally done well military, and I think the military has done a fabulous job. I think we have done poorly on the political side. That’s what has been poorly done by the Bush administration--it hasn’t been well-handled politically. We’ve got to get a better bipartisan political solution--we can.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

Biden-Brownback bill: 3-state federalized solution

Yesterday, in the Congress, a bipartisan political solution passed. It was the Biden-Brownback bill. It declares a three-state federalized solution to Iraq--a Kurdish north, a Sunni west, a Shia south, with Baghdad as a federal city; weak federated government; most of the policies devolve down to the local units of government. Because Iraq is less a country than it is three groups of people. We need to recognize that. And we can move forward with that political solution, and pull our guys back.
Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

We DID declare war against Iraq

Q: [to Rep.Paul]: Regarding declining minority enlistment, what do you say to minorities who are overwhelmingly opposed to the continuation of this war?

PAUL: We shouldn’t have so many injured and in our hospitals because we shouldn’t go to war unless it’s declared. If it’s declared, we should go win it and get it over with. Now we’re in this war for five years or so and nobody sees the end to this.

BROWNBACK: One, I think it’s clear what we need to do at this point in time, and I think we need to talk about at this point in time, where we are. We declared war. We voted in Congress to go to war, Republican and Democrats. People can say things weren’t right, we shouldn’t have done this, shouldn’t have done that. We are where we are today. The military, I believe, has done and is doing a superb job. We have had a terrible political answer on the ground in Iraq.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

Long-term US presence to defend Kurds & Sunnis

Q: What’s next in Iraq?

A: We don’t have a political solution on the ground that works. Iraq is less a country than it is three groups held together by exterior forces. It’s the Kurds in the north, the Sunni in the west, the Shia in the south, and a mixed city in Baghdad. I think we need to recognize that reality. We ought to now push for establishment of a Sunni state in the West. Still one country--but separate states. That’s a political solution that you can take advantage of what the military has done on the ground. That’s what we need to do to move forward now.

Q: If you do that kind of federation, how do you keep the Kurds in the north from fighting with Turkey, how do you keep the Shia from allying with Iran, and how do you keep the Sunnis from rebelling over having no oil resources?

A: How do you do it now? I mean, I think you’re going to need a long-term US presence--particularly in the Kurdish region in the north and the Sunni region in the west--invited by those governments.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Seek Congressional authority before attacking Iranian nukes

Q: Would you go to war with Iran if they developed nuclear weapons & threatened Israel?

A: I think the problem with your question and scenario is that it is an all too likely scenario. What you’re describing is much of the situation that we’re facing today. And you have to also recognize that the founder of the current Iranian regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, said, if we destroy Israel, Allah will reward us. That was his stated policy. That is something that he stated.

I think you have to take the factual setting of what you put forward, take it to the American public and to the Congress, and ask for the authority to use military force for two purposes. Number one purpose is to go after the military forces being developed on the ground and trained on the ground in Iran to attack our people in Iraq, and number two, towards the nuclear weapons development program that the Iranians are working on.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

We need a political surge to match the military surge

Q: Rep. Paul says, “Come home.” Rep. Hunter says, “We’ve got to stay.” Is there a middle ground in this debate?

A: There’s another piece to this as well. And that is that you’ve got the military performing. They’re doing an outstanding job, but the political situation continues to deteriorate on the ground in Iraq. You’ve got the Iraqi politicians not even meeting now. You’ve got a weak leadership that’s taking place there. I think the key missing element here is political resolve on the ground. We need a political surge. We need to put a three-state solution in place, like was in Iraq prior to World War I, where you have a north that’s Kurdish, which is right now; a west that’s Sunni, which is right now; and a Shia south, with Baghdad as the federal city. A weak, soft partition: that’s the piece missing.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

Did not read NIE before war vote, but had briefings

Q: Arguably, going to war is the most important decision a member of the Senate can make. Did you read the National Intelligence Estimate, which included all the caveats, on whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

BROWNBACK: I don’t remember that report. I had a number of briefings. And I held a number of committee hearings. I was chairing the Middle East Subcommittee on Foreign Relations and we held hearings on this topic and what was taking place and what Saddam was doing.

Q: Gov. Gilmore, you chaired the commission on Iraq. Do you think it was appropriate that members of Congress would authorize the president to go to war without reading that NIE?

GILMORE: I think the people who are in Congress who are responsible for sending this country to war, with the enormous dangers that it has geopolitically and strategically, ought to read at least that kind of material. I know they get a lot of stuff and they can’t read everything.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 5, 2007

Ok to talk with Iran, but no diplomatic relations

Q: Pres. Bush said states that sponsor terrorism are no different than terrorists themselves. Did Pres. Bush make the right call in opening a dialogue with Iran?

A: I think he made a right call on saying that about terrorist states, particularly Iran. But I think we have to at times talk with them in different situations, like before we went into Afghanistan, we talked with Iran. It wasn’t we were negotiating. We didn’t open up formal diplomatic relations, and we shouldn’t.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Get Iraq to point that we can turn it over to Iraqis

Q: What would you do to bring this conflict to a point at which we can safely bring our troops home?

A: It’s not about leaving and it’s not about being defeated. It’s about getting the situation to a point that we can turn it over to Iraqis and then us pull back from the front of the line. That’s why I’m putting forward a bill about a three-state solution in Iraq--a Kurdish state, a Sunni state, a Shi’a state--with Baghdad as the federal city, in a loose, weak, federated system, oil revenues equally divided. We will have bipartisan support. We’ve got to pull together here to win over there. A political solution that will be long term and durable.

Q: Is that a good idea to divide up Iraq?

A: It’s not divided. Three states, one country.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

We have not lost war; we can win by pulling together

Q: You opposed the troop surge, saying you favored the Iraq Study Group, which has a goal of getting all US combat forces out by March 2008. You said that you wanted to find a way for Republicans and Democrats to work together. Is that any way to fight and win a war, to look for a consensus among the politicians in Washington?

A: We’ve got to pull together here to win over there, and I think it is a way for us to pull forward. We’ve got far too many divisions in this government here. We will win if we can pull together, and we can win the war. It’s difficult for us to win with one party for the war and one party against the war.

I condemn the statements of Harry Reid, the majority leader of the Senate, saying we’ve already lost. We haven’t lost. That’s his declaration, but we’ve got to pull people together here. And when we can do that, and when we do that, we will win.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

Iran is the lead sponsor of terrorism around the world

Q: Recent polls in the Islamic world reveal a sea of hostility toward the US, feeding what General Petraeus calls the central front of al Qaeda in Iraq. How do we win this war if every dead terrorist is so easily replaced?

A: I think we win the war by standing up for our values and working with those who will work with us. While we’re in a war on terrorism, we’re partnering with a number of moderate Muslim regimes. And that’s something I think we need to convey into the Muslim world as well, that these are groups--the Al Qaeda group, the militant Islamic fascists--they’re trying to unseat moderate Muslim regimes. And I think we need to engage those regimes--regimes in Pakistan, regimes in Egypt--as long as we also confront those regimes, like in Iran, the lead sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we’ve got to be very confrontational and very aggressive there. So it’s to engage those that’ll work with us, contain and confront those that won’t, and convey that to the Muslim world.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

Contain, confront, and convey those that won’t engage

Q: Only 12% of the people in Muslim countries support us, the rest are angry at us. Doesn’t that create a sea of recruitment opportunity for our enemy? Do we have to reduce that temperature of hatred before we win the war, or simply continue to fight the terrorists?

A: Well, I think we have to do both. You have to engage in those countries. We have to engage in Jordan, and I think we need to engage with all the tools of state that we have: economic tools, along with foreign relations, diplomatic & military tools as well. But at the same time, when we do that, you’ve got to confront. You’ve got to confront those that are coming after us. And they’ve been doing this for over a decade--coming at us--from before 9/11. We cannot be weak on this whatsoever. Engage those that’ll work with us, contain and confront those that won’t, and convey that to the Muslim world.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

Push politically for 3-state, 1-country solution in Iraq

I’d push more a political solution along with a military solution in Iraq, and here I would push a three-state, one- country solution in Iraq, with a Kurdish state, a Sunni state, a Shia state, with Baghdad as the federal city. I think we’ve got to push a political solution, along with the military, to get to a stable situation in Iraq, which is our key political issue of the day.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

Surge is problematic; mix political with military solution

Q: For many months, Henry Kissinger has indicated that the problems in Iraq cannot be solved with a military solution. Is it your understanding that we’ve got to come up with a political settlement?

A: That’s not my understanding, but I do agree that we need a political solution. I’ve had my own problems with the surge. But what I think you have to do is mix both the military & the political, to push a 3-state, 1-country solution. But you’re going to need a long-term military presence to ensure that.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Apr 22, 2007

Seeing some improvement, and surge not fully deployed yet

Q: Do you see progress on the ground in the Baghdad area?

A: I think you’re seeing mixed results right now. Anbar, there’s improvements taking place there. The number of attacks in Baghdad are decreasing, but you’re seeing more attacks in other places. I think you’re seeing a mixed set of results. The full scale of the deployment on the surge has not taken place yet. I don’t think we can put a full judgment in.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Apr 22, 2007

Long-term presence or Iraq devolves into terrorist state

Q: In the latest CNN opinion research poll, we asked: “Who are you more likely to side with in the Iraq dispute between Bush and Congress?” 60% said Democrats in Congress, 37% said President Bush.

A: Well, [the public may agree with Democrats] on that opinion, but the date we set a deadline to pull out is the day that al Qaida will declare victory over the US. And much of the world will agree. And I don’t think the US public wants to see that taking place. The problem here is, the solution involves both Republicans and Democrats. I think it evolves more of a political solution on the ground that we don’t have in place in Iraq, and we’re going to need to have a long-term military presence in Iraq or this will continue to have civil war-type features and devolve into a terrorist state. We cannot have that taking place.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Apr 22, 2007

Islamic fascists want US out and caliphate in

We must win the war on terrorism, period. There is no substitute for this. We are in a long term battle.

The name ‘war on terror’ is a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic. It’s like a war on bombs. It doesn’t say who it is you’re fighting. We’re fighting against a group of people who are dedicated to our destruction. An Islamic fascist militarized definition of Islam.

It is not everybody, it is not a majority of people who practice Islam. But it is a dedicated force. They’re not only after us, they’re after moderate Muslim regimes in the region. They’re dedicated to our destruction.

it’s very clear--look on their website to see what they seek to do. They want to drive the US out of the Middle East and they want to establish an Islamic Caliphate, or an Islamic dictatorship. If you want to know what a caliphate looks like, look at Afghanistan under the Taliban, or the Sudan today, which is on its 2nd genocide.

We must win the war on terrorism. We must see it through. In Iraq, we must see it through

Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC Mar 14, 2007

Opposes troop surge; but also opposes precipitous pull out

Q: You said last month, “The US seems to care more about a peaceful Iraq than the Iraqis do. If that is the case, it is difficult to understand why more US troops would make a difference.” You still think this is a mistake, this policy of sending in more troops to Iraq?

A: I don’t think this is the way to go. I think we have to get to a political solution and that we cannot impose a military solution. I also think we’ve got to come to a bipartisan agreement here of what we can support there for us to actually be able to move forward. The worst thing to happen would be for us to precipitously pull out. But if we don’t start coming together here, Republican and Democrat, and pushing a political solution there, then I don’t think we’re on the right track to move this to some sort of conclusion. We can start getting fewer of our troops killed in Iraq.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Feb 25, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months.

Vote to transition the missions of US Forces in Iraq to a more limited set of missions as specified by the President on September 13, 2007: S.AMDT.3875 amends S.AMDT.3874 and underlying bill H.R.2764:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"

  1. Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
  2. Training Iraqi security forces
  3. Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since [2003]. Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.

"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.

"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."

Reference: Safe Redeployment Of US Troops From Iraq Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.3875 to H.R.2764 ; vote number 2007-437 on Dec 18, 2007

Voted YES on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.

Vote on a "Sense of the Senate" amendment, S.Amdt. 3017, to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act), that finds:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text]. That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.

Reference: Sense of the Senate on Iran; Bill S.Amdt. 3017 to H.R. 1585 ; vote number 2007-349 on Sep 26, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

Begins the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all US combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.

Reference: US Policy in Iraq Resolution; Bill S.J.Res.9 ; vote number 2007-075 on Mar 15, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.

Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
  1. The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
  2. The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
  3. Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Reference: Kerry Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act; Bill S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766 ; vote number 2006-181 on Jun 22, 2006

Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.

To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reference: Committee to Investigate War Contracts; Bill S Amdt 2476 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-316 on Nov 10, 2005

Voted NO on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding.

Amendment to express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A YES vote would:
Reference: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act; Bill S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268 ; vote number 2005-96 on Apr 20, 2005

Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill S1689 ; vote number 2003-400 on Oct 17, 2003

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

H.J.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
Reference: Bill H.J.RES.114 ; vote number 2002-237 on Oct 11, 2002

Voted YES on allowing all necessary force in Kosovo.

Majority Leader Trent Lott motioned to kill the resolution that would have authorized the president to "use all necessary forces and other means," in cooperation with U.S. allies to accomplish objectives in Yugoslavia.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: Motion to table S. J. Res. 20; Bill S. J. Res. 20 ; vote number 1999-98 on May 4, 1999

Voted NO on authorizing air strikes in Kosovo.

Vote to adopt a resolution to authorize the President to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with NATO against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
Reference: Bill S.Con.Res 21 ; vote number 1999-57 on Mar 23, 1999

Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.

Brownback co-sponsored the Resolution on bigotry against Sikh Americans:

Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR255 on Oct 4, 2001

Deploy UN multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Brownback co-sponsored deploying UN multinational peacekeeping force in Darfur

Calling for the urgent deployment of a robust and effective multinational peacekeeping mission with sufficient size, resources, leadership, and mandate to protect civilians in Darfur.

Legislative Outcome: Agreed to by Senate by Unanimous Consent.

Source: Resolution on Darfur (S.RES 276) 07-SR276 on Jul 19, 2007

Condemn Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel statement.

Brownback co-sponsored condemning Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel statement

Source: S.RES.449 08-SR449 on Feb 12, 2008

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Brownback signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
    States that it should be US policy to:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009

Other candidates on War & Peace: Sam Brownback on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010