Good morning. This is Senator Mark Pryor from Arkansas.
Coming nearly five years after 9/11, the bombing plots uncovered in London last week were a stark reminder of the dangerous world in which we live. They served further notice that America is a country at war against terror, and that there are extremists in the world who are determined to strike us wherever and however they can.
I commend British authorities for defusing this terror plotand apprehending the suspects. Their actions protected the lives of innocent civilians, including many Americans. I also commend the men and women on the frontlines of terror here at home, airport screeners, border patrol agents, intelligence officers, police, and firefighters. They're all doing their job to prepare for and prevent another terrorist attack.
While the war in Iraq has generated the most headlines, required the greatest sacrifice of our military, and consumed the most resources, we must not forget that terrorist groups like Al- Qaeda and rogue nations like Iran remain an ever-present threat
to America's security.
The fact is we know the world is a dangerous place, and terrorists are working hard to grow their network. This week's events should compel us all to rededicate ourselves to the War on Terror. My fellow Democrats and I believe our government must do more to protect Americans at home and around the world. We also understand there is no time to waste. Five years after 9/11, our country is not as safe as it needs to be, or should be. More needs to be done.
Our first responders lack critical resources. For example, the administration has cut funding for a proven program in Pine Bluff, Ark. that has provided on-site training to over 70,000 first responders across the nation.
Our military, including our National Guard, has been stretched to the breaking point. Returning Guard units no longer have adequate equipment to train for their next mission.
Our ports, borders and chemical plants remain unsecured, the person responsible for the 9/11 attacks - Osama bin Laden - is still on the loose, and North Korea and Iran continue to pursue their nuclear ambitions.
We need a new direction. It's time for Washington to be tough AND smart about the threats we face. Americans deserve real security, not just leaders who talk tough but fail to deliver.
Together, we must do more to protect our homeland and to make sure our military is prepared to address our growing threats. This begins by once and for all securing our borders, implementing the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 commission, and making a commitment to screen 100 percent of the cargo in our aircraft and at our ports. My Democratic colleagues and I have supported funding these efforts. Five years after 9/11, there is no excuse for why these steps have not already been taken.
There's also no excuse for why - four years into the Iraq War - our country's political leaders have not matched the level of excellence our troops have displayed.
Our troops have performed heroically in Iraq, but the administration's poor management has created a rallying cry for international terrorists. The poor management of the war has diverted our focus, our military and more than $300 billion from the war on terrorism. Our troops and people deserve better. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I understand the challenge of protecting America in a post-9/11 world.
The events in Britain are a reminder of the enormous difficulties we face, but working together, we can meet them, and become a stronger, safer nation as a result.
I'm Senator Mark Pryor. Thanks for listening.