We were not in Iraq in 1993, when the terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Center in New York. We were not in Iraq in 1998, when the terrorists bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq in 2000, when the terrorists killed 17 American sailors aboard the USS Cole. There wasn’t a single American soldier in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001, when the terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 people in the worst attack on our home since Pearl Harbor.
These acts are part of a grand strategy by the terrorists. Their stated objective is to drive the United States and coalition forces out of the Middle East so they can gain control of Iraq and use that country as a base from which to launch attacks against America, overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. Hear the words of the terrorists. In a letter to the terrorist leader Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader Zawahiri has outlined plans that will unfold in several stages. These are his words: “… Expel the Americans from Iraq. … Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq… Extend the jihad wave to secular countries neighboring Iraq.” End quote.
To achieve these goals, the terrorists are targeting innocent men, women, and children. The enemy has only the ability to create chaos for the cameras with spectacular acts of violence. They know they cannot defeat us militarily. So they’re trying to break our will in the hopes of getting America to leave the battlefield early, and they cite Vietnam as a reason they can prevail. Zawahiri, in his letter to Zarqawi, wrote, “The aftermath of the collapse of the American power in Vietnam — and how they ran and left their agents — is noteworthy.” In the past, al Qaeda has said that American pullouts of Lebanon and Somalia showed them that America is weak and could be made to run. And now the terrorists think they can make America run in Iraq. There’s only one way the terrorists can prevail: if we lose our nerve and leave before the job is done. And that is not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)