Floor Statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler on Resolution Authorizing Use of United States Armed Forces Against Those Responsible for Recent Attacks Against the United States

Sep 13, 2001 Issues: 9/11 Attacks

Mr. Speaker, the World Trade Center is in my district, and I just this moment returned from traveling in the district with the President, walking through the ruins of the World Trade enter, where there are thousands of bodies buried.

I have spent much of my career speaking out against the use of military force when I believed it was unwarranted. In many ways, my political awakening began with my active opposition to the war in Vietnam. But, Mr. Speaker, those of my colleagues who are rightly skeptical of the use of force, and who recognize how very reluctant we must be when sending our young men and women into harm's way, must understand the threat and the stakes if we fail to act.

Many have said that the events of Tuesday changed the world forever. The world has not changed. The people who carried out this murderous attack on our Nation, the organizations which recruited, trained, and supplied them, the governments which gave them shelter and support are still there. We now know without any doubt what the price of inaction, of appeasement, of willful blindness will be.

The world has not changed, but I believe the American people have. Our Nation is now ready to recognize that we have been in a war for many years. Our people now recognize  that if we do not defend ourselves in that war from those for whom our lives, our children, and our way of life are a daily affront, we will not survive as a Nation. We must now exercise the right under the United Nations Charter to collective self-defense.

I wish we had a choice, but the charred rubble and the thousands of dead Americans lying just blocks from my office in Manhattan, and the hundreds more a stone's throw from this very building demonstrate that we have no choice. We must pass this resolution. We must wage the war that has been thrust upon it. We must do it resolutely, and we must be victorious and rid the world of this scourge of terrorism.