WICKER APPLAUDS PRESIDENT'S RESOLVE IN WAR ON TERROR
REPORT FROM CONGRESS
By Congressman Roger F. Wicker
October 17, 2005
President Bush recently delivered a hard-hitting speech detailing the danger we continue to face from terrorism and outlining the comprehensive strategy under way to fight this threat to our freedom and security.
In the four years since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. and our allies have taken the offensive against terrorism. We have gone after terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries around the world and taken unprecedented steps to protect our homeland.
TERRORISM REMAINS CHALLENGE OF CENTURY
Many terrorist leaders have been captured or killed, and their organizations have been crippled. The Bush Administration and Congress worked together to create the Department of Homeland Security, and tremendous resources have been directed to improve security within the U.S. Despite these important steps, terrorism remains a real and present danger. I commend President Bush for reiterating that our commitment to defeating terrorism remains steadfast.
Mr. Bush pointed out that the Islamic radicalism practiced by Usama Bin-Laden and his followers has been used to exploit the Islamic faith. I was glad to see him call on Muslim leaders to be more vocal in criticizing this violent ideology. He compared the terrorists' "Islamo-fascism" to communism and called our struggle against this murderous ideology the "greatest challenge of our century."
The president acknowledged that defeating terrorism will require patience, constant pressure, and strong partners. He said the U.S. is working with our partners to disrupt terror groups, destroy their ability to make war, and give millions of people "a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence."
The strategy includes preventing attacks before they occur. A coordinated homeland defense and stronger intelligence gathering capabilities have helped prevent attacks on American soil. The White House revealed that the U.S. has thwarted at least 10 Al-Qaeda plots since 2001. These included plans to use hijacked commercial airliners to attack the east and west coasts of the U.S. At least five attempts to "case possible targets" and infiltrate terrorist agents into the country were also foiled.
Another prong of the strategy is to keep outlaw countries from developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that could be shared with terrorists. Progress has been made on this front. Libya agreed to give up its WMD programs, and North Korea may be on the verge of taking similar action. Coordination with our allies led to the shutdown of a black-market nuclear technology operation in Pakistan. Another step is to deny radical groups the sanctuary and support of rogue regimes. Syria and Iran were singled out as countries with a long history of helping terrorist groups.
STAYING THE COURSE
Mr. Bush said it is also important to prevent militants from controlling any nation. He noted the success in driving the extremist Taliban regime from Afghanistan and disrupting Al Qaeda operations. The President rejected the claims of some critics that the U.S. would be better off by "cutting our losses" and leaving Iraq. He said we cannot stand by and "allow a new set of killers to seize control of Iraq." He noted democracy can succeed if our coalition and the Iraqi people each do their part.
The President was clear that our war is not against Islam. It is against an evil ideology perpetrated by men and women who are the enemies of freedom and democracy. His speech should serve as a strong reminder to the American people, our allies, and our enemies that U.S. resolve and determination remain strong.