Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the resolution honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Those watching around the world may not be able to see on their screens the scene here in the United States Senate.
“We have all come to the floor in a way we rarely do. We have come here this afternoon to express with one voice our endless respect and admiration for the men and women of our military and intelligence organizations.
“‘Resolution’ is an appropriate name for this legislation. It honors the resolution to a problem that has lingered for nearly a decade – one whose weight has grown heavier each day on the shoulders of the families Osama bin Laden traumatized and the many more he terrorized. It honors the resolve with which our bravest stared down danger.
“The world is still absorbing America’s astounding accomplishment – a mission to bring bin Laden to justice, one that began more than nine-and-a-half years ago, and was accomplished just a little more than a day and a half ago. Nine-and-a-half years after the worst morning in our memory, we woke up yesterday morning to a world without Osama bin Laden, and with a palpable sense of justice.
“Our military and intelligence operatives are the best in the world at what they do. As they set out to kill or capture our most valuable target, they captivated us with their skill and expertise, their patriotism and their professionalism.
“A flood of thoughts and emotions and analyses has been shared over the past 36 hours. As I said from this desk yesterday, the end of his life is not the end of this fight. It is a victory, but not the victory. A lot has already been said about what bin Laden’s death means.
“So before we vote on this resolution, I want to speak only briefly about the American men and women who carried out this critical, successful mission – a mission that was historically significant and tactically stunning.
“Osama bin Laden was the most wanted and most hunted man in the world. His was the face of our enemy and the face of evil. There were few faces more recognizable to the American people and to citizens of the world.
“Those who carried out the Commander-in-Chief’s orders this weekend could not be more different. The world doesn’t know their names. We wouldn’t recognize them if we passed them on the street. And that is exactly how they would want it.
“This is the newest proud page in the long story of the American hero – the unknown soldiers, the unsung saviors who sacrifice for our country’s flag and their countrymen’s freedom. They don’t ask for recognition and they don’t ask questions. They just answer their nation when it calls.
“Today the Senate stands in awe of the countless men and women who have toiled in obscurity, in the field and in every corner of the world. Professionals who gather one small shred of evidence here, unearth one clue there, pursue another lead somewhere else.
“The men and women who, over the course of 10 long years, pieced together this most meaningful of puzzles so that a few dozen of their fellow heroes could execute an operation the world will never forget.
“These heroes confronted fear with brilliance and bravery. They met the worst of humanity with the best of America. The terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks did so with cowardice. The Americans who carried out this mission did so with unfailing courage.
“No one has asked how these men and women vote or what their politics are. And so we have come here to the floor to vote together on this resolution not as two parties – not even as 100 Senators – but as one body, representing one grateful country.”
TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION:
Honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, and for other purposes.
Whereas, on May 1, 2011, United States personnel killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden during the course of a targeted strike against his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan;
Whereas Osama bin Laden was the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization, the most significant terrorism threat to the United States and the international community;
Whereas Osama bin Laden was the architect of terrorist attacks which killed nearly 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001, the most deadly terrorist attack against our Nation, in which al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in
New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and, due to heroic efforts by civilian passengers to disrupt the terrorists, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania;
Whereas Osama bin Laden planned or supported numerous other deadly terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies, including the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, and against innocent civilians in countries around the world, including the 2004 attack on commuter trains in Madrid, Spain and the 2005 bombings of the mass transit system in London, England;
Whereas, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States, under President George W. Bush, led an international coalition into Afghanistan to dismantle al Qaeda, deny them a safe haven in Afghanistan and ungoverned areas along the Pakistani border, and bring
Osama bin Laden to justice;
Whereas President Barack Obama in 2009 committed additional forces and resources to efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan as ‘‘the central front in our enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism’’;
Whereas the valiant members of the United States Armed Forces have courageously and vigorously pursued al Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan and around the world;
Whereas the anonymous, unsung heroes of the intelligence community have pursued al Qaeda and affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the world with tremendous dedication, sacrifice, and professionalism;
Whereas the close collaboration between the Armed Forces and the intelligence community prompted the Director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, to state, ‘‘Never have I seen a more remarkable example of focused integration, seamless collaboration, and sheer professional magnificence as was demonstrated by the Intelligence Community in the ultimate demise of Osama bin Laden.’’;
Whereas, while the death of Osama bin Laden represents a significant blow to the al Qaeda organization and its affiliates and to terrorist organizations around the world, terrorism remains a critical threat to United States national security; and
Whereas President Obama said, ‘‘For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our Nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.’’: Now, therefore, be it resolved, That the Senate—
(1) declares that the death of Osama bin Laden represents a measure of justice and relief for the families and friends of the nearly 3,000 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, the men and women in the United States and around the world who have been killed by other al Qaeda-sponsored attacks, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the intelligence community who have sacrificed their lives pursuing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda;
(2) commends the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the United States intelligence community for the tremendous commitment, perseverance, professionalism, and sacrifice they displayed in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice;
(3) commends the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the United States intelligence community for committing themselves to defeating, disrupting, and dismantling al Qaeda;
(4) commends the President for ordering the successful operations to locate and eliminate Osama bin Laden; and
(5) reaffirms its commitment to disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al Qaeda and affiliated organizations around the world that threaten United States national security, eliminating a safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and bringing terrorists to justice.