Message from the Senate

By:  Lee Terry
Date: June 15, 2006
Location: Washington, DC


MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE

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Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the resolution to affirm the United States of America will ultimately achieve victory in the Global War on Terror.

On September 11, 2001, 3,000 of our fellow Americans were brutally killed by Islamic terrorists under the leadership of Osama bin Laden. President Bush responded by declaring war against terrorism and its strongholds throughout the world. He said we would fight the enemy on their ground to prevent terrorists from once again attacking our citizens on U.S. soil.

The Bush Doctrine stated: ``Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.'' U.S. and Coalition forces have verified his words with irrefutable action. The state-sponsored ``safe harbor'' Al Qaeda enjoyed in Afghanistan ended when U.S. and Northern Alliance forces routed the Taliban in a decisive military victory.

Afghanistan now has a newly elected parliament, a market economy, equality for women, and millions of children attending school for the first time. We still face challenges in this nation, but it is on its way to becoming a stable and secure democracy, freed from the oppression of the Taliban extremists. Most importantly, Al Qaeda can no longer use this nation as a launching ground from which to attack the United States.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein repeatedly refused to comply with U.N. weapons inspection. Sovereignty was turned over to Iraqis a year and a half ago; a Constitution was drafted last summer and ratified in October; and a new government is being established. The seeds of democracy are beginning to take root, and a major threat of state-sponsored terrorism against the U.S. was removed.

Despite the danger of violent retaliation from radical extremists, 59 percent of Iraqi citizens exercised their right to vote in January, and approximately 70 percent in December. Iraq is on its way to fully assuming responsibility for its own security and governance.

The challenges we face are undeniable and difficult. President Bush was correct when he said this war would come at great cost in blood and treasure. However, the cost would be much higher--intolerably high--had we not decisively acted to protect the security and interests of the United States.

Who can forget the cheering of Iraqi citizens in the streets as Baghdad was liberated and the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled to the ground? Who can forget the courage of the Iraqi's who proudly displayed the purple ink on their index finger after exercising their right to vote? Who can forget the sight of Saddam Hussein cowering like a cornered rat when U.S. soldiers forced him from hiding? Above all, who can forget the sight of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center collapsing, the burning embers of the attack on the Pentagon, or the scorched field in Pennsylvania that will forever stand as a testament to heroism and self-sacrifice. Our successes in the Global War on Terror have prevented additional horrifying images from filling our TV screens, saving untold innocent American lives.

We may never know what catastrophes have been averted by the dedication and vigilance of U.S. servicemen and women. Nearly 2,500 Americans have nobly given their lives in exchange for the peace that we have enjoyed here at home these past four and one-half years. The very fact that we have not endured another terrorist attack on U.S. soil proves their lives were not given in vain. We have not seen additional attacks such as those in London and Madrid, or experienced the fear Israelis face on a daily basis. We owe our safety and security to the soldiers who are giving their all to protect our families, communities, lives and liberties.

Al Qaeda remains a persistent danger to the United States. This terrorist network operates in over 60 countries around the world. It brainwashes men and women into becoming suicide bombers; destroys religious sites; bombs and beheads innocent civilians; and seeks the destruction and overthrow of America, our values, our people, our freedoms and our way of life.

We cannot allow Al Qaeda the opportunity to establish a permanent base in Iraq from which to attack the United States. The collapse of Iraq's new democratic government would be a huge victory for Al Qaeda, drawing additional recruits for bin Laden's brand of terrorism from the ranks of young Muslims. It is well-known that bin Laden seeks nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction to inflict severe casualties on the United States and allied countries.

Al Qaeda conducted poison gas experiments on dogs in Afghanistan, and the governments of Britain, France, and Jordan have each foiled plans by Al Qaeda to use chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence sources have documented repeated attempts by Al Qaeda to purchase nuclear material, including weapons grade uranium. Nations such as Iran and North Korea are a potential risk for transferring nuclear capabilities to terrorist insurgents.

We must not fall into a sense of complacency. The continued threat from Al Qaeda to our citizens at home and abroad is real. Thankfully, U.S. and Coalition forces have captured or killed more than three-fourths of Al Qaeda's known pre-9ll leaders. These include senior field commanders, masterminds of the September 11th attacks, communications coordinators, and other key operational leaders. Just last week, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq was killed by U.S. forces.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had repeatedly attacked religious shrines and Iraqi political leaders to destabilize Iraq, provoke a civil war, and create a haven for terrorism. The February bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra--one of Iraq's holiest religious sites--ignited a firestorm of reprisals that led to the deaths of over 130 Iraqis. Killing the man who incited this violence was a resounding victory toward building a safe, secure, stable Iraq.

More than 4,000 suspected Al Qaeda members have been arrested worldwide since 9/11, and Al Qaeda cells have been identified and dismantled in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Over $140 million in terrorist financial assets have been confiscated or seized from over 1,400 bank accounts worldwide.

Mistakes have been made in the War on Terror, but the Bush Doctrine of dissuasion and deterrence is working. Pakistan broke its state-sponsored ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and Libya surrendered its WMD and disavowed terrorism. Until recently, Iran had frozen its uranium enrichment program, but is now threatening our country amid the perceived weakness that we will pull our forces out of Iraq before that nation is able to govern and protect itself from terror. This dangerous situation underscores the fact that we must finish the job we began to ensure the continued safety and security of the American people. We must not give in to terrorism by pulling out of Iraq too early.

Fortunately, the talents and capabilities of our U.S. servicemen and women are protecting our nation well. Air Force Chief of Staff, General T. Michael Moseley, told reporters in February that Air Force satellites can locate activities and individuals on a global scale, and targets can be held at risk or struck down with the lethality of a weapon that detonates within several feet of the target. Al-Zarqawi learned this lesson the hard way.

General Moseley continued: ``It must be a bit disturbing [to terrorists] to know that if you act against the United States or its Coalition partners, the U. S. Air Force will find you and strike you. And there's nothing you can do about it. We may never know what has not happened because of this capability.''

General Ronald Keyes, head of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, rightly said: ``If you're a terrorist and you've got static on your phone, that's me ..... That shadow passing over you, that's me. That computer that will not boot, that's me. That noise you thought you heard until it's too late, that is me. And it will continue to be me until our children and grandchildren and those of freedom-loving nations everywhere emerge from this plight of terrorism.''

We can and we must improve our intelligence and military capabilities to ultimately eradicate terrorism worldwide. This war has not been waged perfectly, but it has in arguably succeeded in preventing additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, protecting American lives and liberty, and forcing terrorists to spend their time running rather than plotting additional ways to murder innocent citizens and spread darkness and destruction.

Voting ``yes'' for this resolution today will send the clear message to Al Qaeda that the United States is truly united in defeating terrorism and promoting a strong and stable Iraq.

I urge my colleagues to join me in thanking our U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen for their incredible sacrifices, and in supporting this resolution to protect our citizens from terrorism at home and abroad.

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