Since 9/11, we have strengthened our resolve to protect the American people from a determined enemy. Our intelligence agencies, our military, and our allies have made a tremendous effort to track and apprehend terrorists operating worldwide. These efforts have helped stop terror plots before they happen, saving American lives and making our country safer than it was on 9/11.
The withdrawal of the last U.S. combat brigade from Iraq marks a significant milestone for both the United States, and a free and democratic Iraq. The transition of the mission in Iraq from a combat to an advisory role has only been made possible by the hard work, dedication and unflinching bravery of our men and women in uniform.
By taking the fight to al-Qaeda, other terrorist threats, and the insurgency, our armed forces succeeded in providing greater security to the Iraqi population and giving the government the time to build capacity to more effectively meet the needs of the Iraqi people. As a result, the drawdown of U.S. troops that began under the previous administration has been able to continue.
Still, there is much work to be done. As several recent terror plots -- including the attempted Christmas day bombing -- remind us, terrorists remain committed to killing Americans and destroying our way of life. We need to do a better job of connecting the dots and putting in place a homeland security and intelligence plan that helps prevent future attacks before they ever get off the ground.
We must also remain determined in our efforts to secure Afghanistan against a radical, terrorist threat. As our troops continue the fight to deny Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic terrorists a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on the United States, it is imperative that Congress continue to provide the resources they need and support their mission.
As Americans we're fortunate in so many ways. We have so many blessings including a great and proud history to inspire us. But we also have an incredible duty -- one to stand and fight against those who seek to destroy America and the freedom that defines us. Our troops are committed to fighting and winning this global war. We owe them our unfailing support.
Updated July 27, 2011