Bill Nelson on The War in Iraq

Last Updated : Oct 25, 2012

Summary

Authorizing the use of force

In 2002, Senator Nelson stated that while he personally believed that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, and was trying to develop nuclear weapons. He also noted that there was a reason why the authority to go to war was given to the Congress and not the Executive Branch and that this reason was to prevent one person from making the decision to go to war without careful deliberation. In the end, Senator Nelson voted in favor of granting the President the authorization to use force.

Reservists Time

In 2003, Senator Nelson argued against a new Army policy to begin the one-year deployment of reservists at the time the troops arrived in Iraq, instead of when the troops began their training. He sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, asking for the policy to be modified so reservists can return home as soon as possible.

Funds and Oil

In 2003, Senator Nelson noted that many of his constituents were hesitant about the committment of $20 billion to build Iraqi roads and infrastructure when that money is needed to fund projects in Florida and other states. He supported an amendment to recoup those funds when the Iraqi oil supply begins to produce revenue.

Misleading on Weapons of Mass Destruction

In January of 2004, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his view that he and other Senators were misled on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He stated that almost every Senator was taken to a secure room of the Capitol complex and told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that Saddam Hussein had the means of delivering those biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction through UAVs that could be launched from ships off the Atlantic coast to attack eastern seaboard cities of the United States.

Senator Nelson stated that recent testimony had revealed that there was a vigorous dispute within the intelligence community as to what the CIA had concluded was accurate about those UAVs and about their ability to be used elsewhere outside of Iraq and that some in the community felt it was completely false. He urged hearings to investigate what happened to ensure that this same sort of lapse did not happen in the future.

Three months after these statements, Senator Nelson stated that it was becoming clearer and clearer that the president and members of his administration have misinformed the Congress and America about Iraq. He cited recent accusations from whistleblowers stating that the Bush administration had mishanded the al-Qaeda terrorist threat, and of going instead after Saddam's brutal regime in Iraq.

We Must Succeed

At the same time that Senator Nelson was accusing the Bush administration of misleading Congress to go to war in Iraq, Senator Nelson stated that we must succeed in the war there. He stated that the political and economic stability is extremely important to the interests of the United States. He added that if we cut and run, a vacuum is going to be created that will be filled by terrorists.

Amnesty and Syria

In mid 2006, Senator Nelson put forth a resolution that passed the Senate opposing any possibly action in Iraq which granted amnesty to those who attacked American servicemen. He stated that the Senate has made it clear we won’t tolerate pardoning those who harm our servicemen and women.

Later that year, he vistied Syria and spoke with the leader of that nation on a number of issues, but also asserted that President Assad was also supportive of the US's goal of stabilizing Iraq.

The Surge

In January of 2007, Senator Nelson stated that the proposed 20,000 troops for the surge were not enough. He stated that more troops would be needed unless there is a political solution to the sectarian violence. The next month, Senator Nelson stated that if we determine the likelihood of success is not good, and we put 21,000 more troops in harm's way in the middle of sectarian violence, then it doesn't seem to me to be a wise policy if it is not going to be effective. He added that most of the troops--some 17,500--are scheduled to go into Baghdad, in the midst of the sectarian violence, and that is where he disagreed with the plan.

The next month, Senator Nelson stated that he believed that it was time to change the course in Iraq and that the President's decision to put additional troops into Baghdad is not changing the course. He stated that the surge was putting more American lives into a sectarian violence caldron where the temperature is so high that we see the reports every day of more and more killings. He added that the violence in Iraq did not start recently but started 1,327 years ago with the death of Mohammed and the power play that created the Sunni and Shiite split.

In April of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke about the effectiveness of the surge on the Senate floor. He stated that in his opinion the political reconciliation has not occurred and therefore the tremendous success and effectiveness of the surge, militarily, in fact has not borne the fruit of political reconciliation as we had hoped it would.

 

Iraq and Homeland Defense

In September of 2002, Senator Nelson spoke on the senate floor about a possible war with Iraq and what that would mean for the security of the homeland.

 

Bring Reservists Home

In September of 2003, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his belief that reservists from Florida and other states should be brought home ASAP. He opposes a recent decision to change how those tours are counted. 

 

Funds for Iraq

In October of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor discussing legislation for the funds to be dispersed in Iraq.

 

Weapons of Mass Destruction

In January of 2004, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor and discused his view that the Senate had been decieved concerning weapons of mass destruction.

 

Reaction to Intelligence Accusations

In March of 2004, Senator Nelson reacted to accusations that the Bush administration had mishandled intelligence on Iraq by stating that this was the second such accusation. He also stated that he was misled prior to a vote on authorizing the war in Iraq.

 

We Must Succeed In Iraq

In March of 2004, Senator Nelson spoke on the senate floor about the need to succeed in Iraq.

 

Support for Syrian Involvement

In December of 2006, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for involving Syria in stabilizing the Iraqi government.

 

Amnesty for Insurgents

In June of 2006, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his opposition to giving amnesty to insurgents captured in Iraq.

 

Opposition to the Surge

In January of 2007, Senator Nelson released a statement noting his intention to support a resolution condemning the surge tactic in Iraq. He also states that he opposes the hard deadline for withdrawal.

 

Three Options in Iraq

In January of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor on the topic of the Iraq war resolutions. He noted that there were three option in Iraq - to leave, to contain it, or to fix it.

 

On the Surge

In February of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor on the topic of the surge and how the troops were being deployed.

 

Changing the Course

In February of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about an upcoming vote on a resolution to remove the troops from Iraq. He notes that in his view, it was time to change the stay the course mentality in Iraq.

 

Results of the Surge

In April of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the results of the surge and the lack of political reconciliation on the subject of Iraq.

 

Voting Record

Repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq

In November of 2011, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed an amendment to the yearly defense appropriations act that would have repealed the authorization for the use of force in Iraq. The amendment failed 30-67 with Democrats equally split and a vast majority of Republicans opposing the measure. Bill Nelson voted against repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Bill Nelson voted against repealing the authorization for the use of force in Iraq.

Phased Redeployment

On March 15, 2007, S J Res 9 was put forth in an attempt to convince President Bush to commit to timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The bill was titled "United States Policy in Iraq Resolution of 2007 - Phased Redeployment" and called upon the President to begin the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 120 days of the enactment of the legislation, and to have all troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. The bill was defeated on roll call 75, which was largely among partisan lines with 1 Republican joining the Democrats and 3 Democrats joining the rest of the Republicans. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the phased redeployment plan.

Approval of the Surge Strategy

The second piece of legislation was S 574, and it came up for a vote on February 17 and had two main points of emphasis : the Senate continued to support the troops already on the ground in Iraq; and the Senate disapproved of the President\'s surge strategy. The bill only got 56 of the 60 votes required for cloture. 7 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation while only 1 Democrat sided with the Republicans. 10 Senators cast a "No Vote" (9 R and 1 D). (roll call) Bill Nelson voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the legislation by voting for cloture. This was a vote against the surge strategy in Iraq

Approval of the Surge Strategy

On January 10, 2007, President Bush announced a "surge" strategy in which 20,000 additional troops would be sent to Iraq to bolster the troops already there. In February of 2007, the US Senate voted on two bills with the purposes of expressing the Senate\'s disapproval of this strategy. S 470 was the first such piece of legislation, and it came up for a vote on the Senate floor on February 5, 2007. Along with expressing the disapproval of the Senate towards the President\'s recently announced strategy, the bill also outlined a series of strategy suggestions for the President. These suggestions included the transfer of equipment to Iraqi officials, the continuing of operations in the Anbar province, and numerous other items. The bill only got 49 of the 60 votes required for cloture. Only 2 members of each party voted with the opposing party with almost all Democrats voting to disapprove the surge and almost all Republicans voting to approve of the strategy by refusing to allow the legislation a cloture vote. (roll call 44). Bill Nelson voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of S470 (disapproved of the surge) by voting for cloture.

To provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on an amendment by Senator Levin to require that all troops begin to be withdrawn within 90 days. The amendment also stated that the troops remaining in Iraq would only be there for the purposes of protecting US personnel and infrastructure. Bill Nelson voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of withdrawing the troops from Iraq.

Dwell Time

In September of 2007, the Senate voted on a measure to require US servicemen be stationed at home for an amount of time equal to their deployment time. The measure received a majority of votes, but not the number required to pass. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the measure to require equal dwell time.

Contract Award Overview

Later in the year, the same amendment was introduced into the Senate by Senator Dorgan. This amendment has the same purpose and failed to achieve the needed votes by a simlar margin. Bill Nelson voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Bill Nelson voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Contract Award Overview

In 2005, a series of accidents at military bases in Iraq which were built by US contractors such as Halliburton, prompted Congress to call for investigations into the awarding of contracts. There were two ammendments introduced to separate pieces of legislation to attempt to accomplish the goal of investigating the contract awards process. roll call 228 concerned the Dorgan amendment, and was the first attempt to establish a special committee on the awarding of contracts in Iraq. The amendment failed by a narrow margin in a 53-44 vote. Bill Nelson voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Bill Nelson voted to support the amendment to create the special committee.

Authorization for the use of Force in Iraq

On October 11, 2002 the US Senate cast the first vote concerning the war in Iraq. This vote was to authorize the use of military force against Iraq (H J Res 114). Although the vote to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan was unanimous, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq passed 77-23. All but 2 of the 50 Republicans supported the legilslation while 29 of the 50 Democrats voted to authorize the use of force. Bill Nelson voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

Bill Nelson voted to give the President the Authorization to use force against Iraq

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S Con Res 2; A concurrent resolution expressing the bipartisan resolution on Iraq. - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) it is not in the U.S. national interest to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by increasing the U.S. military presence in Iraq; (2) the primary objective of U.S. strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Iraq; (3) greater regional and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation; (4) main elements of U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to helping ensure Iraq's territorial integrity, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in Iraq's internal affairs, and accelerate training of Iraqi troops; (5) the United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq to the government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces; and (6) the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1545; Iraq Study Group Recommendations Implementation Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress: (1) that the President should formulate a comprehensive plan to implement the Iraq Study Group recommendations; (2) respecting diplomatic efforts in Iraq; and (3) respecting redeployment of U.S. combat brigades not necessary for force protection and other specified duties by the first quarter of 2008.

Session-110; Bill Number-S Con Res 7; Expressing Disapproval of the Surge - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the Senate disagrees with the plan to augment our forces in Iraq by 21,500 and urges the President to consider all options for achieving the strategic goals set forth below; (2) the Senate believes the United States should continue operations in Anbar province, specifically for the purpose of combating an insurgency, including Al Qaeda associated elements, and denying terrorists a safe haven; (3) the Senate believes a failed state in Iraq would present a threat to regional and world peace, and the long-term U.S. security interests are best served by an Iraq that can govern and defend itself and serve as an ally in the war against extremists;

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2426; Congressional Oversight of Iraq Agreements Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to provide for congressional oversight of United States agreements with the Government of Iraq.

Session-110; Bill Number-S Con Res 4; A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress on Iraq. - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the Senate disagrees with the plan to augment our forces by in Iraq by 21,500 and urges the President to consider all options and alternatives for achieving the strategic goals set forth below with force levels other than those proposed; (2) the primary U.S. objective in Iraq should be to encourage Iraqi leaders to make political compromises that will foster reconciliation and strengthen the unity government; (3) the military part of this strategy should focus on maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, conducting counterterrorism operations, promoting regional stability, and training and equipping Iraqi forces to take full security responsibility;

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