Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today regarding testimony by Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen on the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama bin Laden:
“I appreciate the testimony of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and their incredibly important assessment that our current Iraq strategy is hampering our ability to succeed in Afghanistan and in the hunt for Bin Laden.
“Today marks 2,283 days since Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri directed the attack on the United States, and not only do they remain at large, but they have been able to rebuild a safe haven along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. We need a change in strategy in Iraq so that we can more effectively fight al Qaeda, return to the hunt for Bin Laden, win the war in Afghanistan, and rebuild the readiness of our Army and Marine Corps.”
The Bin Laden Tick-Tock: Day 2283, Still At Large
In July, the U.S. intelligence community determined that al Qaeda represents the main terrorist threat to the United States. Yet instead of focusing on Bin Laden, the President is focused on policing an Iraqi civil war. Six years after 9/11, it’s time for us to put our eye back on the ball.
AL-QAEDA SENIOR LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN AT LARGE FOR 2283 DAYS
Osama Bin Laden Has Been At Large for 2283 Days Since September 11, 2001.
Bin Laden’s Second-in-Command, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Has also Been At Large for 2283 Days Since September 11, 2001.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen Testified Violence is Up 27 Percent in Afganistan, And Al-Qaida Fighters Add to the Violence. “As a result, and not surprisingly, violence is up 27 percent over a year ago with a significant increase in the number of suicide attacks. In Helmand province alone, violence has risen more than 60 percent… Al Qaida and foreign jihadi fighters, supported in some cases by Iran, add to the deadly mix.” [House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 12/11/07]
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen Said Our Main Focus Is Iraq Not Afghanistan. “First, the war in Afghanistan is, by design and necessity, an economy-of-force operation. There’s no getting around that. Our main focus, militarily, in the region and in the world right now is rightly and firmly in Iraq… In Afghanistan, we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must.” [House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 12/11/07]