Camp Liberty Refugeesby Senator Thom Tillis
Posted on 2015-12-10
TILLIS. Mr. President, the President of the United States has
fully refused to acknowledge the depth and prevalence of the savagery
of Islamic terrorism, and he has refused to offer and implement a
strategy to permanently defeat it.
We are all too familiar with the consequences of Islamic terrorism: Fort Hood, Boston, Oklahoma, Chattanooga, Ankara, Mali, Beirut, Paris, and more recently, San Bernardino.
While the President was in Paris recently, he lectured the American people not on the moral necessity to destroy ISIS but instead on our supposed lack of compassion and understanding regarding his latest plan to resettle 10,000 Middle Eastern refugees in America.
I represent the great State of North Carolina. It is a State that has provided refuge to those who have fought and died on America's side-- the South Vietnamese, Laotians, Montagnards, and Cambodians. But the President's remarks were disingenuous, because what he didn't tell the American people is that his own FBI Director has warned of America's inability to properly vet the refugees--an inability that only requires a 1 in 10,000 chance to produce a catastrophic and tragic result.
Instead of acknowledging these well-founded concerns, the President hectored the critics of his plan--Republicans, Democrats, and everyone else in between--even after French authorities told him several members of the terrorist cell got into France masquerading as Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees with fake passports were caught trying to reach America through Honduras, and Syrians have been arrested trying to cross into Texas.
Let me tell you why this administration's rebuke is indicative of a foreign policy that is completely detached from reality. On October 29, 23 refugees died in a rocket attack at Camp Liberty in Iraq. Camp Liberty is a former U.S. military base outside of Baghdad that is home to more than 2,000 Iranian refugees who are members of the main opposition group to the ayatollahs in Tehran. The refugees at Camp Liberty have been fully vetted by American intelligence services. Eighty Iranian-built rockets struck the camp that has been home to the People's Mojahedin, an organization that has tried to fight the mullahs in Tehran. The ayatollahs want the leaders and the families of these inhabitants at Camp Liberty eliminated, and their friends in Baghdad are doing their bidding.
The men, women, and children at Camp Liberty have suffered numerous attacks resulting in hundreds of casualties. Nor has Camp Liberty, which was supposed to be a temporary home before the refugees were settled outside of Iraq, met the most basic humanitarian needs. They lack clean water, decent food, medical supplies, and decent living facilities; and every single day they go to bed at night worried if it is their last day on Earth.
The Obama administration pledged to protect these refugees who put their lives and their children's lives on the line for freedom. Yet it has done absolutely nothing to keep America's word. Why take in unvetted Syrian refugees and not a handful of refugees from Iran that are fully vetted? To curry favor with the same regime that killed American soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn? I hope not.
President Obama has willfully ignored 40 years of hostility from Tehran. If the President does not recognize that we are at war, the ayatollahs certainly do. They are the chief sponsors of global terror. They have imprisoned American journalists. They have tested long-range missiles. They just completed another test in violation of international treaties over the last couple of weeks. They have never stepped back from their desire to obliterate Israel and to destroy the United States.
This is the Obama doctrine. The President sees American foreign policy as the problem. He views Israel as an obstacle to peace, and Iran is treated as another oppressed constituency with legitimate grievances against the West, so much so that when millions of Iranians took to the streets against the mullahs, President Obama did nothing and said nothing. The old American alliances are collapsing in confusion and fear, and the only answer from the administration seems to be to clear Iran's path to a nuclear weapon.
Section 1227 of this year's National Defense Reauthorization Act memorializes Congress's desire to see that our friends at Camp Liberty are protected and relocated outside of Iraq in accordance with international conventions.
The children of Camp Liberty are dying and the bad guys are watching.
[[Page S8589]] They are watching to see if the President of the United States tosses aside another American friend, clearing the way for a new Persian empire--a tyrannical empire armed with nuclear weapons.
I will end with the thoughts of Natan Sharansky, a survivor of the Soviet Gulag. He said: Today an American President has once again sought to achieve stability by removing sanctions against a brutal dictatorship without demanding anything in return. . . . We are at a historic crossroads, the United States can either appease a criminal regime--one that supports global terror, relentlessly threatens to eliminate Israel and executes more political prisoners than any other--or stand firm in demanding change in its behavior.
I don't think a lot of people know about Camp Liberty, but I want you all to know that there are 2,000 people over there who were fighting for freedom in Iran. The American people committed to protecting them and to getting them to a place where they can be safe. These are refugees who are fully vetted. They have gone through all the processes that we are wondering and worrying whether the Syrian refugees can. Let's show good faith by fulfilling our promise to the people at Camp Liberty and making sure that the American people know and the people at Camp Liberty know that we care about them and we wish them the very best that they can achieve--and that is not in a camp somewhere in Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mrs. ERNST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.