‘The war is over when your enemy accepts defeat. Our enemy, the Taliban, are not defeated. They are emboldened.’
‘President Biden has handed them the greatest victory in their pitiful, pitiful history.’
‘Never in American history have we seen a commander in chief leave Americans behind enemy lines. It is unheard of. Unheard of in the history of this country. I cannot think of a single fighting man or woman who would leave an American behind. It does not make sense. That is why they fight.’
‘To those soldiers, sailors, Marines, airman, and guardsmen who served in Afghanistan, I promise you this: we will get answers from this Administration.’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), today on the Senate floor, spoke about the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the heroes that were lost that fateful day, and how American resolve never wavered. Senator Tuberville went on to contrast how the chaotic surrender in Afghanistan is a defeat that rests solely on the shoulders of the Biden Administration. Senator Tuberville concluded by detailing how he will work in the coming weeks to get answers for the American people and hold those in charge accountable.
Remarks, as given, are below and the full speech can be viewed here.
“20 years ago, on September 11, 2001, Americans watched in horror as two planes struck the World Trade Center in New York City. We watched as another plane slammed into the Pentagon, and yet another, bound for this very city, crashed in Pennsylvania. That day was the worst attack on American soil in our history. America’s death toll surpassed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. That day, children came home from school without their parents; calls from family members went unreturned; lives were changed forever. Yet, instead of tearing us apart – instead of frightening Americans off the world stage – the cowardly act, that attack of September 11th, brought our nation together
“But, just remember, we were at war with Al Qaeda prior to 9/11/2001. In the 1990s, between 10,000 and 20,000 people went to Afghanistan to train to be terrorists. Insurgencies sprang to life in Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Somalia, and Yemen.
“The World Trade Center was bombed—the first time—in 1993 by Ramzi Yousef, who spent time in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. In 1998, al Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. In 2000, al Qaeda bombed a U.S. warship, the U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 Americans. The 9-11 commission would later write, ‘The 9/11 attacks were a shock, but they should not have come as a surprise.’ That came from the commission.
“But they were a surprise to most Americans because our leaders simply ignored the threat, issued a weak diplomatic scold, and promised ‘over the horizon’ missiles and surveillance could solve the problem. What solved the problem was American resolve and American might.
“That fighting spirit began on the bright blue morning of September 11th when a 32-year-old software salesman named Todd Beamer boarded a United Airlines Flight – 93. Todd knew his plane was likely bound for another mishap or catastrophe after hearing it on the telephone just after takeoff. He knew that this plane with either headed to the Capitol or the White House. He knew what happened to the other flights because of conversations. But instead of being fearful, Todd Beamer rallied his other passengers. The former college athlete stayed calm and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Then he and his fellow passengers unleashed hell on the hijackers of their plane.
“The moment Todd Beamer said ‘Let’s Roll’ is the moment America began to fight back against radical Islamic terrorism. That’s when the war started. The whole country took up Todd’s battle cry of ‘Let’s Roll.’ Over the next 20 years, 800,000 Americans rolled into Afghanistan – 800,000. Of them, 2,461 were killed in action, including the 13 brave men and women we just lost a few weeks ago. 20,961 soldiers were wounded. Their sacrifices were great, but so were their accomplishments. With 48 partner nations, America smashed the Taliban and sent al Qaeda running for their caves in Pakistan. We killed Osama bin Laden and crushed terrorism networks around the world.
“Over the past 20 years, the death toll from terrorists inside the United States was 107 because of our brave military that took the fight to the enemy overseas. 107 souls is still far too many in this country, but the nation has been spared another catastrophic attack while our all-volunteer force stood the watch in Afghanistan.
“But here, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, what should be a resounding victory and success of American values and resolve, is instead – a defeat. And it is an especially bitter defeat to Americans all across this country. It’s bitter because Americans surrendered 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears to the enemy. The Taliban now control more of Afghanistan than they did in 2001. And they are better armed with American guns, vehicles, and aircraft.
“It’s bitter because it was entirely preventable. It’s bitter because those who work in national security know in their hearts that the president is wrong when he says the ‘war is over.’ Mr. President, the war is not over. The war is over when your enemy accepts defeat. Our enemy, the Taliban, are not defeated. They are emboldened.
“President Biden has handed them the greatest victory in their pitiful, pitiful history. A victory greater than they could have ever dreamed. Using this victory as propaganda against the United States will be recruiting gold for the Taliban. Make no mistake, now that they’ve sent America running for the exits in Afghanistan, they intend to bring the terror we saw at Kabul’s airport home to us right here in the United States of America.
“We cannot allow that to happen. Because now, after our commander-in-chief decided to leave behind – let me repeat, leave behind – American taxpayer funded equipment, the Taliban is one of the top ten best equipped militaries in the world.
“Over 44,000 military vehicles were left behind. Nearly half a million guns were left behind. 33 Blackhawk helicopters – left behind. All is now in the hands of our enemy. And we’re fooling ourselves if we think they’re not going to use this equipment against us.
“Early last week, ten of my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee joined me in calling for hearings on the Biden Administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. As members of the committee that oversees our nation’s armed forces, we bear a particular responsibility to seek, I mean seek, true and correct answers.
“We asked to hear from the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley; the Commander of U.S. Central Command, General McKenzie; and the last commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, General Miller. These are our top military leaders who need to be asked the hard questions, and that’s what I, and my colleagues, intend to do – starting with: why did we give up our most strategic air base in the middle of Asia, Bagram airfield? Why did we do that? It makes no sense.
“We owe it to our nation, those who served, their families, and our allies to preserve the records of how our time in Afghanistan ended – for the very people we, as members of the Armed Services Committee, represent here in Congress. This the biggest issue facing our military since Vietnam. Those who have given so much to this cause are demoralized and disheartened.
“Al Qaeda didn’t defeat our military. The Taliban didn’t defeat our military. The complexities of rebuilding a country did not beat our military. This administration, in Washington, D.C., defeated our troops.
“Never in American history have we seen a commander-in-chief leave Americans behind enemy lines. It is unheard of. Unheard of in the history of this country. I cannot think of a single fighting man or woman who would leave an American behind. It does not make sense. That is why they fight. That is why our military fights – we do not leave people behind. But they were ordered to leave by our commander-in-chief.
“To those soldiers, sailors, Marines, airman, and guardsmen who served in Afghanistan, I promise you this: we will get answers from this Administration. If you’re a member of the military or you’ve served our nation, and you have questions, I hope you’ll reach out to my office. I am ready to be your voice. I am ready to fight with you for your answers and accountability. I want to thank Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe for scheduling hearings so we that can do just that in the next few weeks.
“On September 11th America said, ‘Never Forget.’ Thousands upon thousands of Americans have taken that rally cry to the enemy. To them I say: America has not forgotten. We will never forget. We answer the fight and we will fight for these answers.”
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.