11.16.05

Condemning the Terrorist Attacks in Jordan

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Resolution 546 and yield myself such time as I may consume.

I first want to thank the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), the chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia, for offering this important and timely resolution.

I would also like to acknowledge my friend and ranking member of the Middle East Subcommittee, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Ackerman), for his role in the crafting of the measure.

Mr. Speaker, 1 week ago today, hateful and heartless fanatics committed a vile crime against the people of Jordan. The terrorists' immediate victims were the unsuspecting guests of three hotels, in one particularly sickening case, a wedding party at the height of its celebration where both bride and groom were of the Islamic faith.

This brutal attack killed scores of civilians, injured hundreds of others, and forever scarred the hearts of the victims' loved ones. Through these heinous acts against their own brothers and sisters, the terrorists demonstrate once again that they are not merely enemies of Western Civilization but of all civilization.

But the broader target of this assault was the public of a country that has been a stalwart ally of the United States in the global war on terrorism. This is not the first time that the people of Jordan have been victimized in a terrorist attack, but it is by far the most extensive offense against innocent civilians in Jordan by ruthless fanatics since the war on terrorism began.

To their great credit, the Jordanian people are not retreating in defeat, but are declaring their defiance. They are not making excuses for these vile enemies of all mankind, but are demanding accountability. They are not cowering in their homes, but taking to the streets in protest.

Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us condemns last week's reprehensible events in Amman and expresses our solidarity with the people of Jordan. It also declares our country's readiness to support Jordanian authorities in their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice and to eradicate the networks that plot and carry out such attacks.

As our country knows all too well after September 11, and as all others who have sustained years of wanton terrorist carnage in the name of religious fundamentalism know all too well, there can be but one response to such inhumanity: unified resolve to bring it swiftly and irreversibly to an end.

This vicious crime must also serve as a cautionary tale to those in the Arab world who are content to stand by and watch as Iraqi security forces and American troops battle to defeat the vicious insurgency and the foreign jihadis who are indiscriminate in their slaughter.

We may be the primary targets of Zarqawi today, but he and his ilk are determined to destroy modernity and retard social and political progress throughout the Muslim world in the name of a perverted interpretation of Islam. As the carnage in Amman made clear, the war on terror is a shared endeavor in which the Arab people must play a central role in the victory over terror.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution expresses our profound outrage at this vicious attack and our profound sympathy and solidarity with our Jordanian friends at this time of their sorrow. I urge all of my colleagues to support the resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.