Democrats Commit to Keep Country Safe (September, 2001)
I commend President Bush for his strong statement last evening about finding and punishing the perpetrators of this atrocity. Those who murder American citizens must have no safe hiding place, and those who shelter terrorists must be punished as well. America will do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators and to identify and punish those who give them aid and comfort.
Like December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001 will be remembered as a day that will live in infamy. Just as the Pearl Harbor attack galvanized the American people in their resolve to prevail in the war against fascism and tyranny, I am confident that yesterday’s attack on the American people will galvanize our citizens and strengthen our spirit to prevail in the ongoing war against global terrorism.
It is tragic that these criminals were able to succeed in carrying out the most brutal terrorist attack in history on American soil. I pledge to work with the President, the Congress, and the families of the victims to seek answers to the many questions that exist, and to do all we can to strengthen the security of our people and to prevent such atrocities in the future.
I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO REITERATE THE FACT THAT WE IN CONGRESS STAND UNITED IN OUR RESOLVE TO ENSURE THAT PRESIDENT BUSH HAS EVERY NECESSARY RESOURCE AS HE LEADS OUR GREAT NATION FORWARD IN THE COMING DAYS, WEEKS, AND MONTHS.
I AM VERY CONFIDENT THAT EVERY MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE VIEWS THIS AS AN AMERICAN ISSUE. NO PARTY AFFILIATION, NO PARTISANSHIP, NO ATTEMPT TO GAIN POLITICAL ADVANTAGE, NOTHING WILL ERODE OUR SOLIDARITY OR UNDERMINE OUR UNITED RESOLVE AS WE RESPOND TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PEOPLE.
We want to help with the President’s strong and concerted effort to deal with the array of issues that he must, in intelligence gathering working as we are with the military to find the perpetrators and to deal with that as well.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 explicitly recognizes the President’s authority to take immediate action as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces to respond to this unprovoked attack on the United States. As such, there is no reason to suggest that the action we take here today is required in advance of any immediate military response by the President. In the interest of demonstrating our national resolve to act firmly and decisively, however, and as a demonstration of our commitment to working in close cooperation with our Commander in Chief to respond to this aggression, we act today to authorize the use of force, as required by the War Powers Resolution.
I commend the President and his administration for seeking the resolution before us today, for working with the Congress, and for recognizing the requirement under the Constitution and the law for joint authorization.
No matter what we do, if we fail to lead the world in a multilateral unity of absolute resolve, I say to you, sadly, that this could happen again. But I am convinced it will not…
…They (the people) stand united in support of the President of the United States, as do all of us here in the Senate. Much will be said today and in the days ahead about the appropriate responses to these heinous acts. But for now let me just say this. This is not a struggle over ideology. This is not a struggle over
religion. This is a struggle between civilization and barbarity.
“I thought the president made a fine address to the country,” said Clinton to a group of reporters. “We must demonstrate our unity. The government is working hard to find out exactly what the facts are. A lot of innocent people were killed by an evil force. We will stand together.”
The former president also stood firm with the current administration. “I, for one, will do whatever I can to be supportive,” he said.
We have always known this could happen. We’ve warned about it. We’ve talked about it. I regret to say, as — I served on the Intelligence Committee up until last year. I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800, we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing hard work of responding.
We need to do that now and I’m confident that the size of this, the nature of this loss and the nature of this attack are going to motivate everybody to come together to do that. And I think that’s imperative. And we also, I think, Larry — I was heartened by the president’s comments tonight. We need to make certain that those countries that sponsor terrorism, that support it, that harbor these fugitive are as much a part of the problem as those who engage in the terrorist acts themselves. And we need to make certain as a country we respond to that.
In this dark hour we all stand with President Bush and the military and intelligence leadership of this nation in the search for the propagators of this great evil, and for an appropriate and strong response.
America must respond to this crime — this act of war — rapidly and decisively, with an intensity and determination that reflect the outrage every American and I feel. A response whose violence and magnitude makes it clear to every terrorist that their lives are in danger, and makes it clear to every nation that the cost of supporting terrorism is too high to bear. We will not hesitate to put the strongest military on earth to use as it was intended: to protect the lives, safety and property of American citizens, everywhere in the world.
Murtha roundly criticized the Bush administration’s hands-off approach to the Middle East. “It takes a long time to penetrate these terrorist cells,” said Murtha, “we have to continue to monitor them.”