WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., issued the following statement Wednesday in observance of the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
"This Saturday, we remember and pay tribute to the 3,000 people who lost their lives when evil struck from the clear, blue skies of what began as a beautiful summer day. Their deaths remind us that our freedom — a beacon to so much of the world — is anathema to those who would plunge the world by force into the darkness of ancient hatreds and religious intolerance.
“Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this nation has rallied against violent Islamist extremism with courage and determination. Our military and intelligence agencies have bravely taken the fight to the enemy abroad, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. Here at home, our federal, state, and local authorities have made historic organizational changes to better meet the threat with agility and strength.
"Despite these efforts, we are facing a fanatic and adaptive enemy that remains determined to strike us. The threat of a domestic terrorist attack on Americans, therefore, remains as real today as it was nine years ago. Unfortunately, hard experience has taught us that critical weak links remain in our homeland defenses. We must address those weaknesses, and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hear from the nation’s top intelligence and homeland security officials on September 22 about how they are doing that.
"Overseas, we must continue our global campaign against al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates to ensure that they find no sanctuary to plot and plan against us. Specifically, we must prevent al Qaeda from recapturing its historic safe haven in Afghanistan, which it used nine years ago to launch the 9/11 attacks, and from consolidating new sanctuaries elsewhere, such as in Yemen and Somalia.
"Ultimately, we are engaged in an ideological war that requires us not just to kill or capture enemy fighters, but to discredit and defeat the broader ideology that inspires their hateful acts. More and more around the world, the moderate Muslim majority — who are our most important ally in this fight — are standing up against the violent Islamist minority. The Iraqi people, for example, have discredited and beaten back al Qaeda, preventing it from taking over a country in the heart of the Arab world. We must do everything in our power to strengthen these voices of moderation and modernity and reject the hateful lie that we are engaged in a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.
"As we remember September 11, 2001, and all of those who lost their lives that day, let us do so with a renewed sense of commitment, determination, and unity to defeat the terrorists who struck our homeland and whose totalitarian ideology represents a threat to all of humanity. Our struggle against violent Islamist extremism will be long and difficult, but it is a war that I remain convinced we can, must, and will win."