Rep. Mike Synar (D-Okla.):

Let us make no mistake about it. The Solarz-Michel resolution is a declaration of war, a war without announced limits on length or means, a war whose consequences we cannot know and whose costs we cannot calculate. Though the resolution skirts around the words "declaration of war," is there a member on this floor who doubts that, with this vote, we are delegating to the president the authority to commit the lives and fortunes of the American people in a war against the Iraqi nation.

. . . There are times when the press of events leaves us with no other choice than to fight. . . . On Friday, January 11, 1991, the president of the United States has not persuaded me that we are now similarly situated and I do not intend to abdicate my obligations under the Constitution of the United States until I am persuaded beyond doubt that we have no other choice.

We are not under attack; Iraq has not claimed a single American life; it occupies not a sign square foot of American soil; we do not need its oil and I have yet to meet a mother or father who would send their son and daughter into battle for a 20-cent differential in the price of regular unleaded.

Rep. William S. Broomfield (R-Mich.):

Some people will not listen to reason. The hearts of some people have been deadened to moral persuasion. Such people cannot be persuaded, but only cowed. . . .

The president has done everything he could do to convince Saddam {Hussein} through diplomatic channels to leave Kuwait. It is now time for Congress to make the Iraqi leader understand that America stands behind the president and that his recent letter {to Saddam} was not an idle threat, but a credible warning.

We must give the president the power he needs to convince Saddam that he has no other alternative but to leave Kuwait. This will be a vote of confidence in the president and a message to Saddam that America is fully united against his aggression.

Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa):

{The} liberal leadership in Congress appears on the verge of repudiating the philosophical heritage of Wilson and Roosevelt, as well as Truman and John Kennedy, in favor of more flocculent "wait-and-see" nostrums that lack historical and philosophical perspective.

What is the morality of the congressional leadership's "wait-and-see" approach? Saddam Hussein has conducted two wars in the last 10 years which resulted in a million casualties; he has made rape a daily instrument of coercive state policy; executions are of epidemic proportions, frequently with family members asked to witness and pay for the bullets.

In this context, is it moral to stand by? Can we allow Saddam's model of behavior to be rewarded or replicated elsewhere?

. . . . I am personally convinced Saddam has no choice except to blink before the 15th -- unless America blinks first.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.):

I happen to believe that war is obsolete as a tool and as a means to conduct foreign policy. . . . We should give peace a chance in the Middle East, not the instruments of destruction and death.

. . . I think what I'm trying to say is that there is a better way. There is a more creative way. I'm convinced that the American people didn't send us here to commit our limited resources, and our men and women to a bloody battlefield in a distant and faraway land. The conflicts and problems in the Middle East were not created overnight and they won't be resolved with a fast-food, quick-fix mentality.

My colleagues, the bombs we drop and the guns we fire will not only be heard in the Persian Gulf, but they will be heard in every state, every county, every city, every town and hamlet in this nation for years to come. Remember that for every bomb dropped and every gun fired, they steal from our children, the elderly and those in need of health care.

. . . War is bloody. It's vicious, it's evil and it's messy. . . . I urge you to heed the words of the spiritual: "I'm going to lay my burden down. Down by the riverside. I ain't gonna study war no more." We should follow the wisdom of that song.

Rep. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine):

I will vote to support the United Nations resolution and preserve all of our options against Iraq. I will do so not because the military option is inevitable, but in order not to undermine the president's efforts to achieve a peaceful outcome to this crisis -- efforts which require that a credible military threat be maintained against a brutal aggressor who only understands the language of force.

A credible threat is necessary against a man who has raised one of the world's largest armies, used chemical weapons against his own people, invaded two neighbors and is developing nuclear and biological capabilities. We are hardly dealing with a man of peace in Saddam Hussein.

. . . After all, as our experiences over the last decade with the Soviet Union, Nicaragua and Libya showed, there are times when the serious threat of force motivates positive change."

Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

Every time I sit down and try to collect my thoughts about this issue, I keep coming back to this haunting verse in a song that Bette Midler sings. . . . It goes like this:

"From a distance, you look like my friend, even though we are at war.

"From a distance, I just can't comprehend what all this fighting is for."

. . . We have to make this world look better up close. . . . It isn't about egg on our face, as my colleague has said from the Republican side of the aisle. It's not about egg on our face, it's about blood on our kids. That's what it's about.

Have you ever seen a body that is shot apart? Have you ever seen it up close? From a distance, from very far away, it may look still and peaceful. But up close you see the violence, the pain, the suffering, the horror.

. . . We can inflict the ultimate pain on the people of Iraq. Make no mistake, we will win this war quickly. Maybe two weeks, maybe two months, that's quick. Maybe, at most, six months. That's quick, I guess.

But, my colleagues, it won't come free. There's a huge price if we choose this route, even in the best of circumstances. The price is in body bags, in babies killed, in an uncertain, unstable Middle East, even after the crisis.

Rep. Barbara F. Vucanovich (R-Nev.):

I come from a military family. Two of my brothers were West Point graduates. . . {and} one of my brothers gave his life at Anzio. I remember the day that my mother was notified of my brother's sacrifice. It was a day that was permanently etched in my memory. With this in mind, do I look forward to casting a vote which could mean the loss of even one life of an American man or woman in the Gulf? No, of course not.

. . . I think we need to reflect on what the consequences will be however, if we don't stop Saddam Hussein now. There can be no reward for brutal aggression. If we do nothing and Saddem Hussein pays no price for swallowing up the country of Kuwait, destroying peoples' property, torturing, raping and killing innocent men, women and children, we are as guilty as he is. With each passing day, the consequences of {Saddam} Hussein's aggression grows. . . . We cannot allow Saddam Hussein to delay any longer.

Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Md.):

Once we extend the deadline, the force of sanctions will be lessened as Saddam will demobilize his military, conserving his resources and precious spare parts for the next deadline. While the citizens of Iraq may suffer because of sanctions, I doubt very much whether the soliders on the Iraqi front line will go hungry.

. . . There are those who argue that there are serious geopolitical repercussions to war. I would argue that there are greater consequences to rewarding Saddam Hussein for his naked aggression, his brutal atrocities and for holding the world hostage. . . .

In closing, let me paraphrase what Winston Churchill said on the eve of another conflict during this century. He was referring to Adolf Hitler, but the same could be said today about Saddam Hussein. Mr. Churchill said of his adversary: "If {he} does not want war, then there will be no war. Therefore, if war should come, there can be no doubt upon whose head the blood guiltiness will fall."

Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.):

I believe that if we adopt the resolution that we are considering, that it chops the knees right from out under our boys, that it undercuts them in the sand, that it undercuts the president, and it undercuts this country.

. . . This isn't a question of whether or not we declare war. It's a question of whether or not we back up our president and our nation's commitment in all of the actions we've undertaken to give them credibility.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.):

President Bush is marching this country toward a senseless and unnecessary war. It may well be that only the United State Senate can stop him now. The United Nations is willing to let America go to war, because the United Nations will not have to fight the war, or fill the body bags that will be returning to the United States. . . .

In the many months ahead, there will still be ample opportunities left for war, if all peaceful efforts fail. But if the United States Senate votes for war, there may well be no time left for peace.

It has never been the Senate's role to be a rubber stamp for the president or to yield to the prevailing passions of the times. . . .

War is not the only option left. Our policy in the Persian Gulf is not broken, and it cannot be fixed by war. There is still time for the Senate to save the president from himself -- and save thousands of American soldiers in the Persian Gulf from dying in the desert in a war whose cruelty will be exceeded only by the lack of rational necessity for waging it.

In dedicating the battlefield at Gettysburg, our greatest Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, said: "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."

President Bush cannot make that statement, if he goes to war on the indefensible timetable he has set. If President Bush wants to fight, I urge him to give peace a fighting chance.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):

Who are the ones who would suffer as a result of sanctions? In my view, Mr. President, it is the innocent civilians and children and others that Saddam Hussein would view as nonessential to his war effort.

I don't think we as a nation are prepared to watch films of children suffering from malnutrition with swollen bellies as a result of our imposition of sanctions on them. I think also . . . it is intellectual sophistry to believe that sanctions by themselves, absent the use of force, could over time have any significant effect. . . .

We hear time and time again references to the Vietnam War and how we want no more Vietnams. We hear that from the president, we hear that from all of those who have addressed this issue. Clearly the American people do not seek a replay of that tragic chapter in our nation's history.

I think you could make an argument that if we drag out this crisis and we don't at some point in time bring it to a successful resolution, we face the prospect over time of another Vietnam war.

Sen. John Breaux (D-La.):

Mr. President, your responsibility is to lead and you have done a remarkable job internationally in convincing the world community that Saddam Hussein must pull out of Kuwait. The world is united in its resolve, it is now time to convince America of the correctness of your position. This is the most important moment of your presidency. . . .

I have heard my constituents in Louisiana. . . . They question whether this effort is worth the price. They need to be assured by our president of the importance of American standing strong in these critical times. We owe it to the American people, to our military men and women, and to their parents that in this effort we will be united, clear in purpose and successful as quickly as possible. . . .

There are those in his body and throughout the nation who do not believe that we should resort to force to secure an Iraqi departure from Kuwait. They argue that the sanctions are working and that the Iraqis will withdraw peacefully. With all due respect to my colleagues, I do not believe that the sanctions alone are enough to force Iraq to back down. . . .

Now is the time to support the president, confront tyranny and aggression and restore a measure of balance to a volatile region. . . . I urge my colleagues to join me in sending a clear and unmistakable message to Baghdad by supporting the president.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.):

When alliances have been broken and defenses breached by acts of aggression, the civilized world has often had to meet force with force. Regretfully, I have concluded this is such a time. We are now joined in a conflict from which there can be no turning back. . . .

It is no easy thing to stand on the floor of this historic chamber and cast a vote that may decide the fate of so many of our American friends and neighbors. It is not easy. We all know that, we know from the tone and tenor of the debate in this chamber that all of us comprehend the gravity of this moment. The political intrigue that often marks debate on issues is absent, replaced by a common knowledge -- in the midst of our diverse opinions -- that the fate of people and nations hangs in the balance as we marshal our arguments for or against a resolution that may lead us to war.

No, it is not easy. But it must be done. It must be done because our president has asked us to vote to support him in this hour of challenge and our Constitution demands that we vote before our nation is committed to war. . . . I will vote to authorize the president to have the power to go to war. I will do so in the knowledge that war may, indeed, be the result, and many good people may die. But I cast that vote in hopes that, by doing so, I will make the prospect of peace more real.

It is one of the ironies of this process that the prospects for peace may not be fully realized until we are fully prepared for war. . . . Our final, best chance for a truly peaceful end to this crisis, I am convinced, is to send a clear and unequivocal message to Saddam Hussein that the American Congress and the American people stand shoulder to shoulder with our president at this critical moment of confrontation.

Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-Ga.):

We are on the brink of full-scale, all-out war, not a police action not a limited reaction to attacks on American forces, not a rescue mission, not a response to an imminent threat to American lives, but war. . . . War, all-out war, should not be entered into lightly, even if our best current guesses point to swift and near-certain successes. . . .

Is war with Iraq justified? Absolutely yes. . . . But there is a difference between a war being justified or being prudent or necessary or needed. . . . We should chose the war option only when less costly, less risky alternatives, such as the use of economic and political sanctions, cannot achieve our objectives. . . .

Now is not the time to lead with our military option. . . . We must not embark on a military offensive in support of international goals, where the cost and risk are so overwhelmingly borne by us alone. . . .

Above all, we must not embrace the war option, with its inherent and unforeseeable risks, unless we have concluded that other policy options, in this case the international political and economic sanctions against Saddam Hussein, have not worked and cannot work.

I am not one who believes that it is never appropriate for the United States to use armed force to protect our interests. . . . A military offensive to liberate Kuwait may well become necessary, our nation's only option. . . .

Let the world know that the American people are of one mind and one voice when it comes to resisting the naked aggression of the Saddam Husseins of this planet. . . . We will do everything, short of initiating war, to achieve our just aims. And if all else fails, even that option will ultimately have to be employed.

Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.):

It is a paradox that by voting to authorize war we make, I believe, peace more possible, if only marginally so. I was very hopeful a few weeks ago of being able to avoid war. I am not so hopeful today because I believe the die is cast.

If Saddam Hussein is listening, then I would tell him I spoke to the president yesterday, as did some other colleagues, and I believe this die is cast. I believe Saddam Hussein, if you don't leave Kuwait, we're going to attack and we're going to attack in January. I believe that's going to happen.

And whether Congress votes for it or not, I believe it is going to happen. I believe that decision was made in November. Without this Congress to be sure, but I believe that decision was made.

So our last, best chance to avoid that is to convince Saddam Hussein that that is so and that you'd better get out of Kuwait while there's still time.

That's why I'm going to vote yes. Not because I disagree with sanctions. To the contrary. I think the . . . sustained use of sanctions is the way to go, but the president rejected that decision back in November, and the question is now up to Saddam Hussein.