WAR ON TERROR--PROGRESS IN IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - October 26, 2005)
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California so much for yielding.
The gentleman from California (Chairman Hunter) has done a wonderful job in leading in this war on terror and leading in securing this homeland and homeland security, which is right at the top of concerns of the American people. He is a true leader, and this House is fortunate to have him as chairman of the Committee on Armed Services. This country is fortunate to have his leadership on this issue.
Madam Speaker, over the last few weeks, I have noticed a change in the rhetoric, a troubling trend in the rhetoric. We have heard some of it here tonight, and it really saddens me when those that are opposed to an aggressive war on terror speak as they speak.
Increasingly we are seeing those that oppose the war downplay the importance of the war, or they are trying to minimize the seriousness of the sacrifice that our military is making. I find that very sad.
I do not know what the intent of those comments are. I dare not even venture to think what the intent of those comments might be that we are hearing from the far left in this country, and I certainly hope that they will reconsider those comments, but unfortunately, the message those on the left are sending is that we do not favor an aggressive war on terrorism and that we are not winning.
Madam Speaker, they could not be further from the truth, and I want to say thank you to all of these military families, especially the families whose family members the chairman is going to read those citations tonight, thank them for that sacrifice, thank these moms and dads who are here. They really are on the frontline in homeland security, these moms that are tending to children, the dads that are tending to children, while their spouse is deployed. Right here in this country, they are on the frontline. They are making a tremendous sacrifice, and we appreciate that.
My hope is that some of these families are watching tonight and will hear this, and I want to thank every man and woman who is in uniform, and I want them to know this. We are grateful and so thankful for their courage and their commitment. We believe that what we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and around the world, we believe in it. We believe in this mission, and we do not believe that the work in Iraq is in vain.
I would say this to them: Do not let anyone from the left or the right make you think otherwise. We believe in you. We know it is tough. We all know it is tough. Do we mourn each and every time we lose an American servicemember? Absolutely. It breaks our heart. Are there days when we think the sun will not shine on our mission? Absolutely. But Madam Speaker, we fight through those moments of doubt because we do not want our kids and our grandchildren to ever face another September 11. We do not want our kids to pay the price for inaction, and that is the price they would be called on to pay.
I could stand here and I could read through a list, all of my colleagues could join me in reading through a list, of achievements in Afghanistan and Iraq and not even begin to mention the other Middle Eastern countries, but I am not going to do that. It would take a long time. I could talk about how we are dismantling al Qaeda, piece by piece, every single day. I could talk about the fundamental change we are trying to bring to a region that has spawned terrorism for decades before we responded, but I know my colleagues are going to speak to that.
So I simply want to thank our troops and thank our families. I want to thank the men and women who are serving at Fort Campbell, the 101st Airborne, which is currently deploying. I want to welcome home from Iraq Tennessee's own 278th Regimental Combat Team of the National Guard. They are returning to their families and loved ones this week, and we welcome them.
To the families whose loved ones will not be coming home, you are in our thoughts and our prayers. Your suffering is one we cannot fully comprehend, but your sacrifice is never going to be forgotten. We thank you, we appreciate you, and we pray God will bless you.
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