Washington, DC -- House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement urging Americans not to forget the 9/11 terrorist attacks that prompted U.S. military action and continued engagement in Afghanistan:
“As we mark eight years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we have an obligation to remember the innocent lives that were so ruthlessly taken and to pay tribute to those who have fought and died to protect our nation against further terrorist attacks.
“The genesis of the 9/11 attacks emerged from al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. Our nation rightfully took action against al Qaeda and Afghanistan’s Taliban government, which provided safe havens for these terrorists as they plotted their attacks against the United States. But in the eight long years since this chapter in our history began, I worry that for many Americans our effort in Afghanistan is out of sight, out of mind.
“While our nation faces many difficult challenges at home and abroad, Americans must not forget the reason why we are in Afghanistan. America’s security depends on our success in denying al Qaeda breathing room to plot future attacks on the U.S. and our allies.
“Tragically, the attacks of September 11, 2001, were not al Qaeda’s first acts of war against the United States. The same plotters were behind the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, and the attack on the USS Cole in the year 2000. And given the opportunity, al Qaeda would attack us again. We must keep al Qaeda on the run, as we have since 9/11.
“We are fortunate to have an outstanding team in Afghanistan, led by CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus, Commanding General Stanley McChrystal, and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. This is our A-team, and working with them are our fantastic men and women in uniform, including members of the National Guard, who are giving their all in this effort and have earned our thanks and unwavering support. Now is not the time to lose our resolve. We must give our forces the time and resources they need to show progress in the fight against the enemies responsible for the attacks of 9/11.”