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Public Statements

Global Terrorism

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


GLOBAL TERRORISM -- (House of Representatives - September 26, 2006)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, President George Bush, in creating fear about terrorists in the American people rather than understanding, often says, ``If we don't fight terrorists over there, we will have to fight them right here.'' He never bothers to explain in detail who the terrorists are or what motivates them or how his policies are creating more of them. The President's explanations are too simplistic, and they are wrong.

The President tried to convince us if we got Saddam Hussein and brought him to justice the battle for peace in the Middle East would take a favorable turn. Indeed, the opposite has happened as Iraq descends into chaos. Indeed, despite the military firmness and bravery of our soldiers, the Iraq war has actually failed politically by failing to win the hearts and minds of the people.

Equally bad, the Iraq war has strengthened Iran and those loyal to it. By removing Saddam Hussein as a counterweight to Iran, President Bush has left a vacuum now being filled by increasingly radicalized Shia populations and disillusioned Sunnis. The Shia and Kurd factions inside Iraq and the outnumbered Sunnis are now at one another's throats. Great instability is being created in a region where rising religious fundamentalism, unleashed by Saddam's ouster, is the glue that is binding a rising revolution of expectations by formerly suppressed populations.

The President's own White House was forced this week to declassify an intelligence report that I am going to put in the RECORD. This is a summary, called ``Trends in Global Terrorism, a National Intelligence Estimate,'' and this report says the Iraq war is shaping a new generation of terrorists.

Anyone who knows anything about what is causing rising levels of hatred against the United States in the Middle East would have anticipated this eventuality. The key question the President and we must address and face is, why do his policies yield more and more terrorists who want to harm us, and harm us in many places beyond the boundaries of Iraq and Afghanistan?

The complete story will show terrorists will continue to plot ways to harm America because more than wanting to come here, although some of them are capable of doing that, they want America and American influence out of their countries and regions. They want us out of there more than they want to come here.

Rather than striking fear in the American people, the President ought to do more to explain the forces creating this anti-American and anti-Western sentiment across those troubled regions. Which American interests have caused this antagonism to our Nation? An important question to answer. In what countries has this hatred been fomented? Another important question to answer. And what is the face there of America that is hated more and more?

Let me suggest part of that face involves U.S. oil alliances in cahoots with some of the most repressive and brutal regimes and leaders who hold down the potential of their own people. There is not a democracy over there, and we are totally reliant on all of those oil kingdoms.

Let me suggest that the presence of U.S. military bases that ensure the status quo of those repressive regimes doesn't help.

Let me suggest America is hated more because we are not viewed as being evenhanded at arriving at fair and just peace settlements between Israel and the Palestinians and their neighbors. We need to do a better job of cultivating evenhanded diplomacy in the region.

Let me suggest our U.S. popular culture and many of its excesses are regarded as abhorrent to the fundamentalist legions that have gained even greater ascendancy after the disgusting and outrageous behavior by Americans at Abu Ghraib.

Let me suggest the U.S. now is being viewed by the multitudes of Muslims as fighting a religious war against Islam. President Bush made a huge blunder at the start of the Iraqi war by calling it a Crusade hearkening back to the Christian wars. His battle cry gaffe echoed across the Muslim world and became a rallying point for the opposition. How tragic and inappropriate.

Let me quote from a wise American voice who tries to enlighten about the roots of terrorism, rather than strike fear in our people:

Robert Baer, author of best selling book See No Evil, is a decorated CIA agent who put his life on the line for our Nation for three decades. He tries to build understanding about the conditions giving rise to terrorism. He defines our problem as larger than just a few men--like Bin Laden and Hussein--and their followers. He argues the reason animosity is growing against the U.S. is the result of much larger forces spanning several decades. To name but one element of the challenge we face--he discusses the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood was an amorphous, dangerous, unpredictable movement that shook every government in the Middle East to its bones. Founded by an Egyptian, Hasan Al-Banna, in 1929 it was dedicated to bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. The Egyptian Muslim Brothers had unsuccessfully tried to kill Egyptian President Abdul Nasser. The Syrian branch had tried to kill Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad a couple of times. In 1982, its followers seized Hama, a historic city in central Syria, provoking Asad into shelling them and Hama into the next life.

The Muslim Brothers are also distant cousins of the Wahabis of Saudia Arabia, the most puritanical sect in Islam. Underwritten by the Saudi royal family, the Wahabis spawned Osama bin Laden. They also served as the inspiration for the Taliban in Afghanistan and other radical Sunni movements. Many Muslims consider the Wahabis dangerous because they adopted the beliefs of Ibn Taymiyah, a 14th century Islamic scholar who condoned political assassination. Al-Jihad, the Egyptian fundamentalist who murdered Egyptian President Anwar Sadat relied on Ibn Taymiyah as justification for what they did.

Understanding the forces that generate terrorism is fundamental for solving it. The National Intelligence Report summarizes some of the essential steps our Nation must take to broaden our understanding of what it will take to break our dependence on oil regimes, resolve peace settlements that have been let languish, and form alliances that are broadly representative and democratic in their focus. The world needs more understanding, not fear, to counter terrorism.

Mr. Speaker, I am very sorry that my time is out. I will continue tomorrow with an additional statement including complementary remarks about the book ``See No Evil'' by Robert Baer that gets the picture right.

The NIE report I referred to earlier is as follows:

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http://thomas.loc.gov/

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