Making Progress in the War on Terrorism

May 6, 2011 Issues: Defense, Homeland Security

On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives in the vicious attacks against our nation. For almost 10 years, the mastermind of these attacks, Osama bin Laden, remained on the loose. But as you know, this changed last Sunday night when President Obama announced to the nation and world bin Laden had been brought to justice when he was captured and killed.

The men and women in our military and intelligence communities never gave up and deserve credit for this critical progress in the War on Terrorism. Their perseverance has prevented further terrorist attacks on American soil and kept the fight off our shores. When someone says the United States has grown weary or complacent in this war, we have shown just how determined we are to fight to the end.

However, we must remember the War on Terrorism is not over. While Osama bin Laden's death is a significant development, it is only one part of the global fight against extremism. We must remain vigilant as our troops continue the fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world to disrupt terrorist networks which threaten our nation's security.

The efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are both critical to our immediate and long-term national security interests, are progressing. The conditions continue to be difficult in Afghanistan, but our men and women in uniform are making gains in their effort to improve security and prevent al-Qaeda and the Taliban from using the region as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the U.S. and our allies. We need to remain steadfast to the counterinsurgency strategy our commanders in Afghanistan have put in place in order to ensure its success. Any drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan must be based on conditions on the ground, not political calculations.

Just four years ago, a terrorist insurgency was killing civilians and causing havoc across Iraq. Today, it is a different country. Our troops have succeeded by taking the fight directly to al-Qaeda, the insurgency, and other terrorist threats. These efforts have provided greater security to the Iraqi population and given the government there the time to build capacity to more effectively serve the Iraqi people. Because of the significant progress, the drawdown of U.S. military men and women which began under the previous administration has been able to continue.

The progress in the War on Terrorism would not have been possible were it not for the courage and sacrifices of our troops and their families. Their selfless commitment to protecting America is sincerely appreciated. As we continue the fight against extremism, we must work to ensure our U.S. forces have the resources and support they need to complete their mission.

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