WASHINGTON—Both houses of Congress debated the war in Iraq on Thursday, the first extended debate on it since autumn 2002 when Congress authorized President Bush to use force there. Below are some select quotations from the debate:
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.: "We are making progress toward our goal, but the battle is not over. It is a battle we must endure and one in which we can and will be victorious. The alternative would be to cut and run and wait for them to regroup and bring the terror back to our shores."
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.: "What is the definition of sectarian violence? A civil war. All of us want to end this thing; all of us want to find a way to prevail in Iraq. But this is a civil war, and we're caught in a civil war. There's less than 1,000 al-Qaida in Iraq. They've diminished al-Qaida. We're caught in a civil war between 100,000 Shias and 20,000 Sunnis fighting each other."
Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill: "Which, then, is the greatest risk in the face of decades of evidence: to act or not to act. To trust Saddam? Who in this body is willing to assert that it's ever wise, that it's ever moral to risk the destruction of the American people. That is the context in which the decision to intervene in Iraq was taken."
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.: "This is a blunder of historic proportions by this president. And it's very important that we understand that we are paying a huge price for these mistakes by this administration."
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate's assistant Republican leader: "It is not an accident we haven't been attacked again since 9-11. By going on offense ... we have succeeded dramatically in the principal reason for advancing the war on terrorism—and that was to protect us here at home. We've got them on the run in Iraq. Why would any want to suggest that we ought to run, when we've got them on the run?"
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., speaking to the Republican Congress: "You have adopted an approach of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, with abandon. ... The debate today is about whether the American people want to stay the course ... or pursue a real strategy for success in the war on terror."
(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.