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Message from the Senate

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I just recently read a lecture from the most highly respected scholar on Middle East affairs and Islam in America, Bernard Lewis. He went through Osama bin Laden's original fatwa. He went through a lot of writings of al Qaeda back in the early to mid-1990s, and what they declared is very chilling. They declared that their war was going to be against the two superpowers at the time: the Soviet Union and America. They believed they defeated the USSR in Afghanistan. I would like to think peace through strength is what beat it here and the fact that communism did not work. But they think they beat it.

Now they think they have one last enemy to beat before they can reach their caliphate from Spain to Indonesia: America.

Mr. Speaker, the war on terror did not begin on 9/11. It began on 2/26. February 26, 1993, when they first hit us at the World Trade Center. Then in 1996, the Khobar Towers. Then in 1998 at our two embassies in Africa. Then in 2000, the USS Cole. Then in 2001, 9/11.

Mr. Speaker, we are at war. They have declared this war against us long ago. The sooner we realize it, the better we are. The best way to win this war is to play away games and not home games.

The good news on this front is we have not had another 9/11 since 9/11. We have not had a major terrorist attack here in America.

If Iraq becomes democratic, if Iraq becomes free, they lose. They cannot win and manifest their distorted belief. They want to have a world like what we saw on display in Afghanistan, the Taliban, throughout the entire Middle East. If democracy and freedom can persist, if it can take root, if it can succeed, as it is succeeding in many parts of the Arab world, the terrorists lose.

And the most important thing in all of this that all of us should have in the front of our minds is will our children grow up in America with the fear of terrorism in the front of their mind or will it be a distant memory in history? I grew up in Jamesville, Wisconsin, as a happy kid. I want my kids to grow up in Jamesville, Wisconsin, with the same kind of happiness, not with the fear of terrorism.

This is a global war, a war we have to win, a war that only America through its leadership can win for the rest of the world. The sooner we wake up to that, the better off we are and the more peaceful life we can leave to our children.

That is why our troops overseas are doing a great job. That is why we have to see this thing through. The terrorists think we are weak because of our freedoms. They think that we do not have the stomach. They think they can turn our public opinion. That is not true.

Let's prove that that is not true, and let's win this war on terror.


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