Washington, DC -- House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) delivered the following remarks during House consideration of H. Res. 722, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001:
“Eight years ago, on September 11, 2001, this chamber was empty, this Capitol was evacuated, the Pentagon was burning, the twin towers in New York lay crumbled, and almost three thousand of our citizens were dead. We can never forget them and we should never forget what we owe them.
“Today, we will once again mourn the fallen and express our deepest sympathy to the friends, family, and loved ones of those who were killed in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This is only right, but it is not enough.
“We owe it to the victims, to their loved ones, to the survivors, and to ourselves, to make sure that those who carried out this awful attack are brought to justice and to ensure that they can never again attack and kill our people here at home.
“For far too long, the war in Afghanistan was the forgotten war. Only recently have we refocused our attention on the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban who sheltered them as they carried out their plot to murder thousands of Americans.
“We can debate the best way to prosecute the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. For my part, the President has proposed a strategy for Afghanistan with which I agree. But what we cannot do is walk away from this fight. We cannot allow the memory of this horrific event to be forgotten, and we cannot forget how important it is to bring those who caused it to justice.
“Failing in Afghanistan brings clear and compelling dangers. Failure means the Taliban will once again control Afghanistan and permit their Al Qaeda allies to operate from there. Failure means we let down those who died on 9/11.
“We can, and should, consider how best to prosecute the war in Afghanistan. It is not a simple war or an easy war. But for the first time we have a real strategy and for the first time are providing the resources needed for the fight. We have a new commander who is breathing new life into our effort. And now, we must show that we have the resolve to give our men and women in uniform the time and resources they need to show progress in the fight against the enemies who carried out and who supported the attacks of 9/11.
“America was attacked on 9/11 by a ruthless, callous enemy. We cannot forget that, and we cannot walk away from the war in Afghanistan against them.”