tv Senator Paul on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia CSPAN June 14, 2017 3:19am-3:48am EDT
of history, many of them wrote history, including john kennedy. even those who didn't have the benefit of a college education like harry truman read history all their lives. and realized that it is essential to the role of a leader, whether it is the presidency or leadership of any kind, not cause and effect. history matters. xcode to book tv.org for the complete we can schedule. defeatednate narrowly 53 to 47 legislation that would've brought arms sale to saudi arabia agreed to by president trump in may. image was introduced paul rand -- by rand paul. >> pursuant to the arms export
control act of 1976, i moved to discharge the foreign relations committee from further consideration of sj resolution 42 relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sales of the government of saudi tim arabia. sales to the government of saudi arabia. the presiding officer: under the previous order, time until 12:3y divided between the proponents and the opponents of the motion to discharge. mr. paul: mr. president, today is an extraordinary day. today is an auspicious day, for we will be discussing issues of war and peace. believe it or not, we rarely discuss such important issues. we have been at war for 15 years. there has been a handful of debates. most of them indirect. most of them only forced under duress, and most of them would have been avoided if the leadership of both parties could avoid them. but today they cannot avoid this debate because this is what's called a privileged motion. today we will discuss the
involvement of the united states in the middle east, and we will also discuss whether we should engage in a new war in yemen. today we will discuss an arms sale to saudi arabia that threatens the lives of millions of yemenis, but we will discuss something even more important than an arms sale. we will discuss whether we should be actively involved. should the united states be actively involved with refueling the saudi planes, with picking targets, with having advisors on the ground. should we be at war in yemen. if you remember your constitution, it says no president has that authority. only to repel imminent attack, but no president alone has the unilateral authority to take us to war. and yet, here we are on the verge of war. what will war mean for yemen? 17 million folks in yemen live on the brink of starvation.
i think to myself is there ever anything important that can happen in washington, is there ever anything i can do to save some of the millions of children that are dying in yemen? this is it. this is this debate today. it isn't about an arms sale. it's about children like ali who die. why are they dying? because the soviets have blockaded the ports. 90% of yemen's food comes in from the ocean, and they can get no food and they are starving and dying of cholera because of war. we think of famine being related to the weather. sometimes it is. more often than not famine is manmade and the most common cause is war. how bad is it in yemen? 17 million people live on the edge of starvation. some like ali have died. what are they saying?
they say that the humanitarian crisis in yemen may be worse than syria. let me repeat that because nobody in america is listening to this. everybody is listening to some silly show trials and silly stuff going on in committee. nobody is talking about this stuff at all. they say it is worse than syria. many people have fled syria, hundreds of thousands have died, and now many are predicting yemen may be worse. one group said that the impending famine in yemen may reach biblical proportions. think about that. it is astounding what is being done, and it is not being done with your weapons, but with youe for these children in yemen because we have a chance today
to stop the carnage. we have a chance to tell saudi arabia we've had enough. the question is -- should we give money or arms to saudi arabia at all? what has saudi arabia done over the last 30 years? they have been the number one exporter of jihadist philosophy, the number one exporter of let's hate america, let's hate the christian tradition. they teach it in the schools in our country, they teach it in the schools in indonesia, they corrupt this throughout the world and we're going to give them weapons? i think it is a huge mistake. if you say, i don't think it is that bad. don't they share intelligence with us? don't they help us in the war on
terror? yes, but then they hurt us twofold. direct from hillary clinton when she's writing honestly and not talking to the public, she sends an e-mail to john poa deso -- poa deso. she says, we must put pressure on saudi arabia and qatar because they are supplying logistical and financial support to isil, the group we are fighting in the middle east, saudi arabia was supplying them, according to hillary clinton not indirectly, but directly. who would give money, arms or share technology with a country that has been supporting isis? who would do that? who would think that's a good idea? they come here and say it's about iran and we have to combat iran everywhere. guess what. this may make the situation with iran worse. what do you think iran thinks when saudi arabia gives weapons?
they think to themselves, if the saudis are getting more, we need more. what do you think israel thinks? if the saidies -- saudis get more, we need more. we are fueling an arms rice in the middle east. every side wants more. you have to say, we have to do this, we are is have to combat iran. you know how much saudi arabia and all those bombing the hell out of yemen, do you know how their military spending is 8-1. all of the weapons in is in the gulf. they have more money and spend more money on weapons 8-1. they say they don't want ballistic missiles in iran. i don't either. but the best way to do that is to put pressure on saudi arabia. how would you put pressure on saudi arabia? maybe we wouldn't sell them arms. maybe we withhold the sale of
arms until they come to the table and we get a -- get an agreement with iran. they will never give up on their ballistic missiles until saudi arabia does the same thing. saudi arabia has ballistic missiles. they have chinese missiles. they have dozens of these. do you know where they are pointed? tehran and telaviv. so saudi arabia is no friend of israel. do they cooperate with israel some, yes. but their missiles are pointed at telaviv. the other missiles are pointed out tehran. are these missiles nuclear capable? yes. they are not thought to be nuclear tipped, meaning they have not been armed with nuclear missiles, but everyone in the arms community says they could carry nuclear payload if
altered. should we send arms to saudi arabia? here's another quote from bob graham. this is a a para phrase. he says there is an abundance of evidence that the saudis were explicit in 9/11. have we forgotten that 15 out of the 19 hijacks were from saudi arabia? have we forgotten the missing 28 pages that they kept from the american public for over a decade. when you read the 28 pages that have now been released they tend to implicate saudi arabia. they tend to indicate that the attackers were befriended by a government agent from saudi arabia. there is an abundance of information that implicates saudi arabia in 9/11. in fact, this very congress voted less than a year ago we voted unanimously, or virtually unanimously, to let american citizens, the victims of 9/11,
their families -- we voted to let them sue saudi arabia. this is an extraordinary thing. we almost never let people sue governments, particularly foreign governments. but we voted nearly unanimously. why? because people have sympathy still for the 9/11 victims and their family and because people obviously believe there's some information that may implicate saudi arabia. so you say, oh, no, they have changed. how much could they have changed? only a year or two ago hillary clinton wrote the e-mail saying that saudis are giving financial and logistical support to isil. who in their right mind would sell arms to saudi arabia under those circumstances? so if it doesn't persuade you that the saudis are supporting isil and terrorism, may have been part of 9/11, perhaps we should look not only at the
humanitarian disaster in yemen, what are they doing to the public and that their goal basically is familiar inn to bring them to -- famine to bring them to submission. perhaps we should look at saudi arabia as a country. perhaps we should look at the human rights record of saudi arabia. i will give you a couple of instances of what it's like to live in saudi arabia. there was a young girl who was 19 years old. they haven't named her because her story is so traumatic. she was 19 years old. they call her the girl of katiff. she was 19-year-olds and she was raped by seven men. now, the men were punished, a couple of years in prison. you know what happened? they arrested the victim because, you see, in saudi arabia it's your fault if your raped. in saudi arabia rape victims are arrested, put in prison, and publicly whipped. she was given six months in
prison and 200 lashes was her sentence. ultimately it did not come to fore. you know why? partly because the u.s. stood up and said it was wrong. partly perhaps because behind-the-scenes we will not sell you weapons if you behave like a bunch of barbarians. i'll tell you another story. ali, who is a shiite. the country is divided between sunni and shiite. shiite are the minority and they are treated like dirt. his uncle was a sheikh and by all accounts, one who called for peaceful elections, who never had a weapon, but was executed by the saudis for leading protests, executed for standing up in front of people and
saying, we should have elections. we should not have this you a thor tairn government -- you yoa thor tearian government. ali's uncle was beheaded. ali was 17 at the time. it was the beginning of the arab spring and ali was excited and motivated. if you see the pictures of him, it is heart breaking. you see pictures of him in western clothing. he was, by all means, the kind of people we wish would come to leadership in saudi arabia. at 17 he went to a rally and chose to be part of the arab spring to say, we don't want des spots. we don't want kings. we want elections. and for that he was arrested on put on death row. death row in saudi arabia -- saudi arabia being saudi arabia,
death row includes beheading and crucifix. that will be his sentence. this is the regime that you're being asked to send weapons to. people say, oh, they are buying them. the technology is ours. it's american technology that was developed for the defense of this country and the companies would never have the technology had we not paid them to have it. the american taxpayer has a right to that technology and while almost other place in the marketplace, the government has no right to tell you who to sell it to, arms is different because it is from the u.s. taxpayer. i don't think we should sell arms to saudi arabia if it might wind up in the hands of isis. i don't think we should sell them to saudi arabia if they punish people for protests, if
they punish people for speaking out if they behead them. now, some will say, if we give them for accurate missiles, they will kill less civilians. that presumes they are not targeting civilians. you think it was a mistake -- you think they accidentally bombed a funeral procession? you think their intelligence was so bad they didn't know it was a funeral procession? they killed 125 people at a funeral. they wounded 500. we wonder about why we have so much terrorism. some, yes. they hate us maybe inherently, but some of it is blowback to policy. some of it -- do you think the people who died or the people who survived or the relatives of those who died in that funeral procession, do you think they are ever going to forget it? they will remember it 100 years from now.
the problem we face of terrorism goes on and on and on as long as we keep supporting those who treat their people like crap, who sentence them to beheading, who are starving their neighboring country which is one of the poorest nations on planet earth. we are not getting closer to peace by supporting the saudis. it is a huge mistake. the girl of katiff, rape victim sentenced to prison with 70 lashes, ali, still on death row, sentenced to beheading, raef -- what he is -- what is he. he is a blogger. someone who writes his opinion which may not be orthodox.
he has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes. i don't think you can survive that. so the saudis are dividing his treatment into ten doses. he has 100 publicly applied. he has 900 more to go. shouldn't we think a little bit about supplying arms to this country? if the human rights aspect of this is not enough, i think we should probably think about the region. there is a problem in the middle east. there is conflict. some of it goes very deep. those in the middle east remember the battle of karvala, when a grandson of mohammed and kaliff had a battle. they have long memories. i'm reminded of what one afghan
told a reporter or soldier recently. he says, you have all the watches, but we have all the time. they live there and have for centuries and will be there when we have gone. they have to fix their own problems. we can occasionally say we're going to help some people destroy an evil empire or an evil group like isis. but the people on the ground need to be the people who live there. it can't be foreigners, it can't be people they consider to be -- it will never work. we are foolish if we don't look at the repercussions of what it means to sell arms to saudi arabia. how will iran react? i was in a committee hearing and one of the senators said we don't care how iran reacts. we don't care what they think. we ought to. if we're going to put sanctionses on them, doesn't it mean we care enough that we try
to modulate and change it their behavior. the idea of sanctions doesn't mean we say iran is right, but certainly we do care about what they think. so what do you think iran thinks about supplying arms to saudi arabia? they think we need more. if you add up saudi -- saudi arms alone are the third biggest in the world now. it's u.s. as big as the next ten combined, then it's china, and then it's saudi arabia. saudi arabia has these other gulf sheikdoms, despots that are allies of ours. there are about five or six of them. altogether they have eight times more weapons than iran. and so we're complaining, i think justifiably so because we worry about the mischief of iran in the middle east. but we're complaining about that and we want them to change their behavior. but what do you think is the prime reason they create weapons and they're creating ballistic missiles? some of it's because they fear
our invasion, like iraq. but i think a great deal of why iran develops weapons is their fear of saudi arabia. in fact, when you look back at iraq and the whole weapons of mass destruction that never existed, one of the interesting stories is -- it maybe a theory but i think has some evidence -- is that saddam hussein pretended valiantly that he had weapons of mass destruction not to deter us. to deter iran. so here is saddam hussein sending all these smoke signals up that he had weapons of mass destruction because he wants to keep iran at bay. we think everything is about us and we never acknowledge that maybe some of it is about the regional politics. so when we give weapons or sell weapons to saudi arabia, there will be for every action a reaction. there will be significantly more pressure for iran to come forward and have more weapons. what does it do to our ally
israel? there's been at least a few reports that says israel believes that every time we give $1 to saudi arabia, they need to respond with $1.50. there was a quote from one of their government ministers on this saying he worries about their qualitative edge. i have a quote here from a colleague of mine, a friend of mine who is a rabbi and a friend of the constitution, rabbi nate segal writes, while i understand the president's intentions, we must proceed with great caution due to the challenges and the history of the region. at this time i don't see the benefits of the arms deal for the united states or israel. this is coming from someone who believes with every fiber of his being that israel should be defended. he's worried that by giving weapons to saudi arabia, it detracts from the qualitative edge that israel currently has.
imagine what happens if the government of saudi arabia were overthrown. they have billions and billions of dollars of weapons, many of these weapons are the most sophisticated weapons we have. is there a chance they could be overthrown? well, i don't know. they behead their citizens and crucify them. you think anybody who lives in saudi arabia might have some pent-up anger for the regime? william wilberforce once said of slavery, he said having heard all this, you can look the other way. but you can never say that you didn't know. i love that statement because so many people at the time of slavery looked away. they just said, it's something we do. it's part of our time. it's part of our age. and so many people knew the horror of slavery. so many people knew the horror of what was happening to a people, and they looked away.
i think having heard of the impending famine in yemen, having seen ali and having heard of the impending famine, you can choose to look away. many in this body will today choose to look away. they will say, you know what? saudi arabia gives us some benefits some time and we hate iran more. so let's just give some more weapons to saudi arabia. but they will be looking away from the human rights tragedy that is central to saudi arabia's whole being. they will be looking away from the fact that saudi arabia was supporting isis in the syrian civil war. they will be looking away from the fact that the saudi blockade is starving yes -- starving yemi children. you know what? i choose not to look away, and today i stand up for the thousands of civilians who are being killed in yemen.
today i stand up for the millions of voiceless children in yemen who will be killed by the saudi blockade. today i stand up for saying we, the united states, should no longer be fueling the arms race in the middle east. it's come to no good. the wars and the rage and the anger are thousands of years old. we will never get to the bottom of it. we should defend ourselves at all cost. we should be very careful who is admitted into the country. and we should not get involved in every civil war and every misbegotten part of the planet. it is my hope and my prayer that enough americans will wake up and say we are tired of war. we are tired of funding every war on the globe. and we are tired of sacrificing our young in every civil war. today this will be a bipartisan
vote. there will be a large contingent from the other side of the aisle and a small contingent from this side. but this is important. this is a rare day in senate history where we actually have the chance to stop an evil. but we would stop this evil by sending a loud message to the president and a loud message to saudi arabia that we are not going to blindly support the arms race. we are not going to be blind to human rights transgressions, and we are not going to blindly give you weapons in the face of beheading your citizens and crucifying them. so today i take a stand for those who do not have a voice, and i hope the senate will think long and hard and will vote against this arms sale to saudi arabia. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me say at the outset that i support the position of the senator from kentucky.
i believe what he has said about the situation between the united states and saudi arabia is timely and needs to be heard. people across the united states and around the world should be aware of the fact that we are witnessing four famines across this world, and one of them is in yemen. three others in the continent of africa. this is a famine that is created not by drought, not by natural disaster, but by human disaster, by a war that has been created and one that has been pushed largely by the saudis at the expense of the people, the innocent people who live in that country of yemen. what the senator from kentucky is basically calling on all of us to do is to ask what role is the united states playing in the aggressive activities of saudi arabia. should we be more vigilant that what we are selling them is being used in ways that are inconsistent with the values of the united states of america? we know the record of the saudi
monarchy when it comes to human rights, and the senator from kentucky has spoken to that quite eloquently. we know what they've done to their own people, to the women who live in their country, and to those who seek to have the basic freedoms which we take for granted in america. we also know that when it comes to the saudi activity of promoting their version, the most extreme version of islam, they have been guilty of promulgating mohabiism that led to extreme forms of the muslim faith in some parts of the world. those are realities. we know the reality of 9/11 when we trace of origin of those who came and killed 3,000 innocent americans, too many roads led back to riyadh. too many roads led back to saudi arabia. so why can't we be more open and honest in our relationship with this country? and i think what the senator from kentucky has told us this morning, the amendment that will be offered shortly by him and by senator murphy is one that calls on the senate to take
an honest look at saudi arabia today and the relationship with the united states. and may i add one other element on a personal basis? it is so rare on the floor of the united states senate to see what we have just seen this morning, a proposal for an amendment to be debated. an amendment to be voted on on the floor of the senate. i could count on one hand how many times that's happened this year in the united states senate. what used to be the most deliberative body in america, the great debating society and so forth has turned into a place of rubber stamps and unanimous consents. and i'm glad, win or lose, in our effort here on this amendment, that the senator is bringing this important issue to the floor. i thank him for making it a them call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. graham: thank you. i take the floor today to strenuously argue against the proposition being pushed by senator paul and murphy and
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