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Public Statements

Libya

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier) for 5 minutes.

Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, back in 2009, my good friend and the cochair of the House Democracy Partnership, David Price of North Carolina, and I had the opportunity to visit former General--and at that time, U.S. Ambassador--Karl Eikenberry, Ambassador to Afghanistan.

We were at the Ambassador's residence in Kabul, and I was struck with a statement that was made by General Ambassador Eikenberry. He said we have a tendency, as Americans, to express appreciation to men and women in uniform, those men and women who served in our Nation's Armed Forces around the world, but too rarely do we extend our appreciation to the men and women who represent the United States of America in the Foreign Service as diplomats around the world, and General Eikenberry encouraged us to do that. And Mr. Price and I have consistently done that in the visits of the House Democracy Partnership to the 17 countries with which we've partnered over the past 7 years.

I have to say that 3 years later, just a few months ago, Mr. Price and I were leading a delegation to Afghanistan and we recounted that story to our great diplomat, Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. Ambassador Crocker, when we shared the story with him, reminded us that more U.S. Ambassadors have been killed since the Vietnam War than generals or admirals. We know that down at the Harry S. Truman Building, there is a plaque that lists the names of the 231 U.S. diplomats who have been killed since the first death in 1780. And, Madam Speaker, I have to say that the news that we have of the tragic death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, the U.S. consulate in Libya, is very sad news for all of us.

Now, the upheaval in the Arab world has brought about many great things. For the first time in millennia, there are individuals who have been able to participate in elections and make decisions. But then we get the sad and tragic news that Ambassador Stevens and, according to the early reports, two marines, maybe another Foreign Service officer, were killed in this tragic attack.

I would like to say that we have spent time there. We were just in Libya, Mr. Price and I, just a few weeks before Ambassador Stevens arrived, and Libya is a place that has held out great promise. I am determined, as I know Mr. Price is, to ensure that the promise that we saw several weeks ago in Libya will not be shattered by the tragic death of Ambassador Stevens.

Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to be joined by my dear friend and colleague, Mr. Price, and would like to yield to him at this point.

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Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for his contribution.

Madam Speaker, if I may simply extend condolences to the loved ones of Ambassador Stevens and to say that we need to ensure that those who are responsible for this tragic death are brought to justice. And we need to do everything that we can to continue to encourage the development of the rule
of law, self-determination, political pluralism, and, as Mr. Price has just said, the development of democratic institutions around the world. It's a universal right, and the United States of America is the single best model for that.

So our thoughts and prayers, again, are with the loved ones of Ambassador Stevens.


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