The following speech was given September 14, 2006 on the Senate floor:
Mr. President, this morning I rise to speak on the status of our fight against terrorism.
When terrorists struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, America was forced to realize we are at war. We did not ask for this war. This conflict was brought to us by individuals who believe America is evil. This is an enemy who hates us because we are a free nation and our citizens are free to pursue their dreams and chart their own destiny.
The day the World Trade Center towers fell, our world, or at least our comprehension of it, changed forever. Our enemies stepped onto our soil, destroyed our buildings, killed more than 3,000 of our citizens and made clear their intentions. They want nothing less than to cause our demise.
The world has changed much since that horrific day. Unfortunately, the will to fight extremists who planned and executed September 11th and many other attacks around the globe has wavered since then. The united resolve of many nations has softened dramatically.
As Americans, we have no choice but to lead the way with an unwavering commitment to this fight. Remember, they asked for this fight. They long ago declared war on America and the free world and long before September 11th began attacking and killing our citizens.
They challenged us many times over the years and received little more than empty rhetoric and a slap on the wrist for such atrocities as striking the USS Cole, the first World Trade Center bombings, destruction of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and the Marine barracks in Lebanon, and attacks on our embassies in Africa.
We were at war and we didn’t even know it. For too long we ignored the words of these terrorists. We attributed their declarations of hate as the mere ranting of lunatics.
Well, time has shown us that the words of these Islamic extremists must be taken seriously, and we must continue to act decisively to stop them from achieving their evil aims.
In an effort to steel our collective resolve, it’s important to remind ourselves just who the enemy really is in this global war against Islamic Fascism.
For too long Americans have seen our enemies through a prism that casts them in the mold of conventional powers, but the Islamic fascists are a different breed. They fight for no flag nor do they adhere to any international agreements. They fight outside the box whereas our sense of what is right constrains us to adhere to recognized rules of engagement.
We all know the self-professed leader of Al Qaeda is Osama bin Laden. His call to arms for his disciples is: Death is better than living on this earth with the unbelievers amongst us.
We know that Iraq is central to the war on terror because Osama bin Laden said it is. He said quote, the most serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War that is raging in Iraq.
Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s Deputy, has described Iraq as: the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.
Remember the Blind Sheikh? He was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. From his prison cell he has called on Muslims everywhere to quote, tear them apart, ruin their economy, instigate against their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their airplanes. Kill them on land, at sea, and in the air, kill them wherever you find them.
Mr. President, we are at war with an enemy that wants to see America wiped off the map. This is an enemy bent on destruction and Islamic domination, at least their version of Islam. Their goal is to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a "Caliphate" — where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology.
Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks — in his words — a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous Caliphate. There are reports that some of Osama bin Laden’s supporters believe he is the Mahdi, the 12th Imam. The Mahdi will lead believers in Islam to victory over the infidels, ushering in an era of peace and justice.
Even Iran’s president is on record as instructing America: His words: If you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future, bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don’t accept to do this, the Iranian nation will force you to surrender and bow down.
It is not farfetched to believe that with nuclear weapons in his possession that he would use them to usher in the cataclysmic confrontation he seeks.
We must take these threats seriously and act accordingly.
Remember, the terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.
The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.
They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.
These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends.
They stand against us, because we stand in their way.
We can not be deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century.
By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions — by abandoning every value except power — they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.
This is not, however, just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom. This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.
The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. Make no mistake; this is an enemy we cannot appease. This is an enemy we must defeat.
On September 11, 2001, and the days immediately following, this country stood united. We stood ready to protect all Americans. We must continue to show a united front against this enemy. We must understand that what we say has great consequences.
If our enemy sees a country divided it will also see opportunity and a path to victory.
During our own Civil War, General Lee often read northern papers to gauge the mood of the population there. As he saw the political discourse and the division among northern leaders prior to Gettysburg he believed that it would take only one more victory to win the war. Lucky for us, that victory never came, but we can learn from Lee’s lesson.
Al Qaeda reads our newspapers and watches our television stations. They see the lack of resolve in some of our leaders and they seek to exploit it. This is a time to lead, a time to unite and a time to defeat an enemy that wants to bring an end to freedom around the world.
We must not tire. We must not falter. We cannot fail.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
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