DECLARING THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL PREVAIL IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR
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Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 861. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we have pursued terrorists and brought them to justice around the world. In this Global War on Terror--where evil, bloodthirsty fanatics kill to prevent democracy and liberty from taking root--there is no option for the forces of freedom but victory. This resolution affirms our commitment to victory. It is a solemn declaration that we will prevail over the terrorists, and that we will do so hand in hand with all who cherish freedom and repudiate extremism.
Mr. Speaker, I came to Congress in January 2001. The Global War on Terror has been the defining issue during much of my time here on Capitol Hill. From that perspective, I can state that we have made tremendous progress in strengthening our defenses at home, and taking the fight to our enemies overseas.
I visited Iraq for the first time in December 2003, shortly before the capture of Saddam Hussein. At that time, the Iraqi Governing Council had been formed, but the Coalition Provisional Authority still exercised most of the essential functions of government. In December 2003, Iraqi sovereignty seemed possible, but distant.
I returned to Iraq this past Memorial Day recess. We are well on our way to achieving our goals. The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the foreign terrorist who was al-Qaeda's top commander in Iraq, puts us one step closer to neutralizing the insurgency and defeating the terrorists. Democracy and liberty have taken root in the heart of a region that is not known for either. The Iraq I visited two weeks ago had a sovereign, democratic government; the result of three successful elections.
And after much negotiation, the Iraqi government recently named interior, defense, and security ministers. These new ministers will continue to lead Iraq to security self-reliance.
As an example of the improved security on the ground, it was my honor and privilege to be part of the first Congressional Delegation to spend the night Baghdad.
The new leaders of Iraq implored me to bring back a message to this Congress: Iraq will never achieve security self-reliance if the United States leaves before its work is done. If we leave before our job is done, the terrorists and insurgents will not only wreak greater havoc upon the Iraqi people, but they will also create a terrorist state from which to perpetrate acts of violence against those who disagree with their world view.
For the sake of our own national security, we must do everything we can to support the new leaders of Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, I also had the opportunity to visit Afghanistan during the Memorial Day Recess. President Karzai heads a fully democratic government, the culmination of a complete transition to democracy. Women now have the right to vote and work. Although President Karzai's government has greatly extended its authority, history teaches us that we cannot let any part of Afghanistan remain a haven for terrorists. We must continue to pursue, capture, and eradicate the remaining Al Qaeda/Taliban terrorists.
What I saw overseas is not what is being reported by the media back home. The Iraqi economy is picking up steam: currency is more stable, the national stock exchange is up and running, and business registrations are on the rise. More roads and schools are being built as we speak, and the oil sector shows promise as pipeline security efforts increase. In Afghanistan, the Al Qaeda/Taliban terrorists are on the run and 28% of Afghan Parliament delegates are women.
What our troops told me is not what is being reported either. We have the finest military in the world, and morale is high. Our brave troops know the world will be safer when the mission is complete. We must stand strong and support our troops and allies in this fight against global terror.
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