WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) released the following weekly Republican address.

Good morning. Im Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.

On this date nine years ago, Islamist terrorists hijacked four commercial jets and killed almost 3,000 innocent people. Americans finally realized that the sporadic attacks that had occurred earlier were not isolated events they were all part of a war that had been declared by leaders of militant Islamist groups and had to be confronted as such.

In the unity that immediately followed September 11, a number of actions were taken. Congress and the nation resolved that Afghanistan could no longer serve as a sanctuary for al Qaeda. So Congress authorized the use of force and also passed the Patriot Act allowing our intelligence and law enforcement communities to work together. The President directed our intelligence agencies to better use modern technology to gather information. The U.S. military drove the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan. After the defeat of Saddam Hussein, the surge of forces into Iraq helped turned the tide against the al Qaeda in Iraq. Key al Qaeda leaders were captured and provided information useful in thwarting additional attacks.

These and other actions have made us safer; but, ironically, the very fact that we have less fear of being attacked has frayed the bonds of unity that enabled us to act so boldly in the aftermath of the attack. The fact that none of the subsequent attempts to attack us have succeeded seems to have removed some of the urgency and commitment so necessary to succeed in war.

Some in our government have even refused to speak the name of our adversary lest they somehow offend. Yet, one of the first rules of war is to know your enemy, the better to confront him on your terms than his.

The enemy is the militant Islamist ideology that candidly, boldly and uncompromisingly seeks to destroy liberal western culture and governments and replace them with the medieval concept of an Islamist caliphate governed by Sharia law.

Like communism before it, the concept is totalitarian and relies on brute force, intimidation and subtle manipulation. A failure to appreciate what the enemy wants and how it intends to win would be fatal to our efforts to combat this ideology. It is also important to differentiate this militant political ideology from the Muslim faith practiced by over a billion people all around the globe. Focus on Islam rather than the real adversary diverts attention and insults those Muslims.

Terrorism is but one of the tactics of the militant Islamists. The insidious effort to gain political influence, not just in the Middle East, but in Europe and the U.S. as well, could sap our capacity to respond. Even now, some Western countries have tolerated the imposition of aspects of Sharia law in their Muslim communities, thus denying some of their citizens the protection of their liberal laws and constitutional rights.

The ninth anniversary of 9/11 should cause us to think hard about the enemy that attacked us and will do so again if we relax our efforts. And we need to remember that direct terrorist attacks are but one of the tactics of this determined enemy.

Today we should remember the victims of 9/11 and their families. We should also recall the sacrifice of those in our military, including the loved ones of those lost. Others, civilians and intelligence officers, deserve our deepest gratitude.

Tomorrow and beyond, we should recapture the unity that allowed us to come together as a nation to confront a determined enemy.

That is neither a Republican nor a Democrat challenge -- that is an American challenge.   back...
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