Bremer Urges Congress to Support Supplemental Spending
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 22, 2003 Pointing to the lessons of history learned during World Wars I and II, the administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority urged Congress Sept. 22 to support President Bush's supplemental spending request to ensure that a secure peace follows the military victory in Iraq.
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to support the president's $87 billion supplemental budget request -- about $51 billion of it earmarked for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The request includes $20.3 billion for the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, $5.1 billion for security enhancements, and $11.5 billion for rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure.
Bremer called the plan "a carefully considered request" in which "no one part is dispensable and no one part is more important than the others" in securing a stable, democratic and economically sound Iraq that "deals a blow to terrorists."
In contrast, Bremer said, failing "to follow the military victory in Iraq with the wherewithal to win the peace" will cause Iraq to collapse economically, opening the door to political extremism and creating a haven for terrorists. "We will have provided the terrorists with an incredible advantage in their war against us," he told the committee.
Bremer pointed to the lessons learned after World War I, when he said the victors "celebrated their victory, mourned their dead, and demanded the money they were owed." The result, he said, was despair, bankruptcy and extremism that he said "gave the world fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany" and led to a second world war.
"After that conflict," Bremer said, "we showed that we had learned that military victory must be followed by a program to secure the peace." He explained that by implementing the Marshall Plan, which he called "the boldest, most generous, most productive act of statesmanship in the past century," the Allies "set war-torn Europe on a path to freedom and prosperity that Europeans enjoy today."
Bremer said the coalition must be willing to apply this important lesson in Iraq. "When we launched military operations against Iraq, we assumed a great responsibility that extends beyond defeating Saddam's military," he told the committee. That, he said, involves taking the lead in restoring Iraq "as a friend and democratic model" in the region.
Bremer said the president's plan "provides for an Iraq made secure through the efforts of Iraqis" as well as "an Iraqi economy based on sound economic principles, bolstered by a modern, reliable infrastructure" and a "democratic and sovereign Iraq."
This, he said, "will set the example in this troubled region which so often spawns terrorism." A stable, peaceful, economically productive Iraq will make America safer, he added.
"Today Iraq is a focal point in our global war on terrorism," Bremer told the committee. "Failure there would strengthen the terrorists morally and materially. Success tells not just Iraqis, but also the world, that there is hope -- that the future is not defined by tyranny on one hand and terrorism on the other."