Latest terror threat reason troops should stay
Late last week, it appears that Osama bin Laden released yet another audiotape. This latest taped message again threatened the United States and warned that plans for future terror attacks are currently under way.
This is precisely why we cannot let up on the war on terror. We live in a world where terror attacks can be coordinated on the other side of the world as well as within our borders, and we must do everything we can to prevent another attack.
The voice on the tape said, “The war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq. Iraq has become a magnet for attracting and training talented fighters.”
And yet there are still some in this country who are calling for the immediate full withdrawal of our troops! Abandoning the effort only allows the terrorists to win and provides them a haven for recruiting and training. We must continue to fight the terrorists abroad, so we do not have to face them here.
The voice on the tape also said, “They are in the planning stages, and you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete.”
We must continue to monitor suspected terrorists within the United States. As I have discussed in previous columns, the president has the authority, which Congress granted him following the September 11th attacks, to use military force against al Qaeda. Under this authority, the National Security Agency (NSA) was authorized to intercept international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.
This NSA program provides us with an early warning system to detect and prevent future terrorist attacks in the United States. President Bush, as commander in chief, has the constitutional responsibility to protect the American people, and this program helps to detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States.
In his taped message, Osama bin Laden also offered a “truce” saying, “We do not object to a long-term truce with you on the basis of fair conditions we respect. Both parties will enjoy security and stability, and we will build Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by the war.”
As President Bush has stated repeatedly, we do not and will not negotiate with terrorists. Al Qaeda is an organization that wants to destroy our country completely and will use any means necessary including jihadist suicide bombers.
I think it is clear that Osama bin Laden is feeling the pressure as he sees democracy spread across the Middle East and the American forces closing in on his inner circle.
In the past year alone, Afghanistan has elected a permanent government, and the Iraqis, ignoring his calls to boycott the elections, have voted on a temporary parliament, approved a new constitution, and elected a permanent assembly, all with overwhelming turnout.
The release of the tape also comes days after a U.S. air strike in Pakistan, targeting Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. The strike reportedly killed four leading al Qaeda figures. Now is certainly not the time to abandon our mission or agree to a so-called “truce.”
Good news on economy
With all of the bad news in the world, I am happy to share a little good news – our economy is strong and continuing to get stronger.
Our stock market is up – topping the 11,000 mark for the first time since 2001. The December unemployment rate of 4.9 percent was an historic low.
This latest jobs report is yet another indicator that our economy is strong and growing. Last year, two million net new jobs were created, and 142,8 million Americans were working – more than ever before!
Following a surge of 305,000 new payroll jobs in November, job gains totaled 108,000 in December, which marked 31 straight months of payroll employment increases and 4.6 million new jobs since May 2003.
Our nation's entrepreneurs and small business owners are operating in an environment of lower taxes and less government interference which is propelling their growth.
Whether it is job growth or new home sales, there is ample evidence that we are on the right track and must continue on the policy path that has fostered this tremendous job growth.
My staff and I work for you. Please call if we can be of service.
Jo Bonner represents the people of this area in the U.S. H ouse of Representatives.