THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS TO THE NATION -- (Senate - September 12, 2006)
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I come to the Senate floor in sadness. The President of the United States gives an address about the condition of our country 5 years after the events of 9/11. He gives an address and lays out the scope of the problem we are confronting. There are people all across this world who subscribe to a radical, perverted form of Islam and want to destroy everything we believe in. That is the enemy we are confronting. We are in an active war with our military against them in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is the reality.
The minority leader just referred to it as sectarian violence. What is that word? Religious? Religious violence. Radical Islam violence--some Sunni, some Shia, but both are radical in their nature, and they are fighting us. That is the reality of the enemy today. The very people who planned the attacks are the people who are in Iraq. Al-Qaida is in Iraq causing that sectarian violence. Should we ignore that? I ask the Senator from Nevada, should we just ignore that, pretend they are not there, not talk about that last night, pretend al-Qaida is not in Iraq? Is this not part of the mission we are trying to accomplish?
It is sad. We are at war against an enemy that I happen to believe is the most dangerous enemy ever to confront this country, and we play petty politics constantly here on the floor of the Senate--even after a solemn day of remembrance for the valued people who died on September 11. It is chilling. We just cannot get past the politics around here, just cannot get past the partisan advantage around here. We cannot face the reality that we have a dangerous enemy out there who wants to destroy everything we hold dear, an enemy who is very clear about what they want to accomplish. How clear? They say it--not to Mike Wallace on ``60 Minutes,'' I might add. No, when you are spinning in English in America, you put on the nice face, you put on the happy face that we want peace and want to live together in brotherhood and all this wonderful stuff.
But that is a lie. When they go back and speak in Arabic and Farsi, they give a very different story. It is a consistent story, I might add. It is the destruction of the State of Israel, and it is the submission of the infidels to what they believe in. That is the enemy we confront. It is real. We can play politics about it and say it is not real. We can say it is a trumped-up war. They are at war with us. We may not want to be at war with them, but they are at war with us--not just in Afghanistan and Iraq, not just in southern Lebanon, not just in Great Britain, but here. They want to defeat us. Their intent is to defeat us. They are motivating people in the Middle East and around the world to join their ranks and attack us.
One of the things I learned from my days in Little League, and in everything else I have ever engaged in, is that one of the ways to lose anything you are engaged in with an opponent is not to take your opponent seriously, not to look at what they are really about, and not look at their capability. I remember early that in this war many were calling the terrorists cowards, as if these people were weak and they had no real resolve. These people are not weak. They are misguided--horribly misguided--but they are not weak. They are a dangerous enemy. They are a dangerous enemy that has an ideology that is motivating people, and they have a tactic that is uniquely effective against us.
As Osama bin Laden says, ``We will defeat you because you love life; we love death.'' And we do love life in this country because we have a lot to live for. We have great freedom, great material wealth. We have a wonderful culture. They, on the other hand, for the most part have none of those. They love death because they see death as better than life. They are willing to die. In fact, they want to die. We have never fought an enemy like this. We have never fought an enemy who wanted to die as part of the victory for them. We always fought enemies who saw death as a tragic consequence of war, and their objective was an earthly kingdom. Not this enemy. This enemy says death is part of the war--a desire for those entering into this battle--and their kingdom is not one they want to build here but one they want to achieve after death. This is an enemy who wants a nuclear weapon in Iran, not because they want to stave off attacks, no, but because they want to use it to pursue their messianic vision of the return of the 12th Imam, or Hidden Imam.
I give speeches all across Pennsylvania and lay out for the people of my State this vision of President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad and the rulers of Iran, the vision of the 12th, or Hidden, Imam, who is to return at the end of time. That is what the Shias believe. But President Ahmadi-Nejad and the rulers of Iran believe different than most Shias, thank God. They believe it is their obligation to bring about the end of time by the destruction of the State of Israel and by world chaos in which Islam is suppressing the infidels, and only at that time will this Hidden Imam return and the actualization of their religion come to pass.
This is a serious enemy, an enemy with resources. This
is an enemy with growing technology, and this is an enemy with fervent disciples who are willing to go around and kill themselves in pursuit of this objective. This is not something to be played politics with. This is not something to ignore and pass off as sectarian violence that we brought about because we happen to be there. These people have been at war with us for 20 years, and we have chosen to ignore them. We paid a very high price.
So what is our lesson? If you listen to the Democratic leader, it is: Let's continue to ignore them. Let's continue to play politics. Let's put domestic politics ahead of the security of this country.
That is his message--that this is not real, this is trumped up, and if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. Oh, really? Do you really believe that? If we leave these people alone, do you believe that somehow we would be safe here? We can just garrison America, make all public buildings like we have here at the Capitol--put Jersey barriers around everything and have police on every corner. We can protect ourselves from these people. Is that the America in which we want to live? Not me.
We are at war--the most serious war this country has ever faced against an opponent like none we have ever faced. Yet we play politics. We ignore the reality. We can pretend they are just not there--at least until November, at least until we can get control. Then maybe we will come to our senses and recognize the grave threat that confronts our country.
No, the President did not give a political speech last night. He spoke of
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the reality of the conflict that is before us. It is not popular to do so, I know. It is not popular to stand up and support a conflict that is difficult to deal with every day. But understand that is exactly what they have in mind.
Did you ever wonder why they don't kill 3,000 people in 1 day? They have the capability of doing so. You just send out, instead of 1 every day or 2 every day, you send out 200 in 1 day. Why not? Why don't they just have one mass, huge offensive? It is because that is not what they are all about. That is not a terrorist tactic.
The terrorist tactic is to cause death every single day. It doesn't matter who but just cause death. So why? To defeat the military? No, their objective isn't to defeat the military or drive back the lines of our troops or to control more area. No, those deaths are not aimed at our military, they are aimed at us. Every day they want to make it harder for you and you and you and you to open the paper, to turn on the television, to see more death.
This is the steady drumbeat of the psychological war of terror being inflicted on the American public. They will keep up the drumbeat every single day--not in big conflagrations but every day--to make it painful, to make it hard.
They want one thing out of us. They know our military, and I am going to submit for the RECORD an assessment from a serviceman who wrote me who provided his experience in Iraq of success, I might add.
Our military knows they must win this war, and they are succeeding at some level. They are not attacking our military. They are attacking us psychologically every single day until finally they get us to say one word--enough. Enough. We have had enough. We can't take this anymore. It is just too hard.
They believe we will say ``enough'' because they believe we are weak. They believe we and the modern world just don't have the stomach to fight and die for what we believe in anymore. We like our ``things'' too much, and so we will just leave them alone until they get stronger and stronger and in a position to do more and more damage to our children and grandchildren.
The President is right. This is our hour. We can play politics with the hour, we can seek political advantage to win the next election with this hour, or we can confront the reality of this hour and do something about it.
On my watch, even though I am facing what many consider to be a difficult time back in Pennsylvania, I am going to confront the reality of the threat to me, to this country, and to our children and grandchildren. It is too important to walk away and play politics to get reelected. It is too important to the future of this country to minimize the threat that we are engaged in and play politics with it.
It may win or lose elections. Matters not to me. It matters not to me. What matters is defending our country when it needs to be defended, not putting personal politics above what is in the best interest of the national security of this country.
I believe the President, given all the mistakes that this administration has made in the conduct of this war--and they certainly are numerous--the President has it right. This is the greatest threat for our generation, and I pray we have the courage to confront it.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to print the assessment from 1LT Jeremy Burke in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows: