House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) released the following statement in response to comments by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA):
"I am saddened by the comments made today by Rep. Murtha. It is clear that as Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenant on armed services, Rep. Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil.
"Four years ago, America as we knew it changed. The terrorists attacked our people and attacked our nation. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives. Families were destroyed, and our children lost their sense of peace. On that day, we learned that we no longer had a choice. Failure to act -- and act strongly -- left our nation vulnerable to Osama bin Laden and his band of terrorist followers.
"But now, Rep. Murtha and other Democrats want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world. It is unfortunate that this is all politics all the time. We need to have a strong consistent policy that will protect our men and women who are fighting to protect us overseas. We must not cower like European nations who are now fighting terrorists on their soil.
"This is the highest insult to the brave men and women serving overseas. They have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our citizens, our way of life and our ideals of freedom and democracy. And they have done excellent work. In the four years since September 11th, the United States and our partners have disrupted at least 10 major terrorist attacks. Three of those attacks were planned on U.S. soil.
"I have known John Murtha to be a long-term veteran of this institution. He has stood up for our troops and has helped to provide them with the right equipment to do their job. We all saw the same pained faces among Americans when terrorists slammed into the Twin Towers. Did he see the faces the rest of America saw when terrorists plowed into the Pentagon or when the plane that was headed for a Washington target went down in Pennsylvania? I saw the faces that day, and, Mr. Murtha, that was no illusion."
Originally published on Thursday November 17, 2005