McConnell Praises Intelligence Community, Brave U.S. Forces, and President Trump for Bringing ISIS Leader to Justice
‘We owe a debt of thanks to the men and women of our intelligence community for taking grave risks, cultivating key partnerships in the region, and laying the groundwork for the swift and precise operation…This victory offers us an important strategic reminder about the value of our nation’s investment in advanced military capabilities, American military presence abroad, and deep relationships with foreign allies and local security partners.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the death of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:
“On Sunday morning, we woke up to a better and safer world because one monster was no longer in it.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the founder and leader of ISIS. In recent years, that made him the single most important target in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. His band of fanatics has committed heinous crimes, shed an unimaginable amount of civilian blood, and destabilized an entire region.
“ISIS has been party to a civil war in Syria that has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. They have run slave auctions of women and girls and effected a genocide of the Yazidi people.
“Across a swath of Syria and Iraq, ISIS established a so-called caliphate, imprisoned entire communities, slaughtered vulnerable minority populations, destroyed priceless cultural relics, and imposed their will through brute force on anyone they deemed insufficiently pious. And across the globe, their message of hate has spurred further acts of violence -- in Europe, in Africa, and even here on American soil.
“So Americans applauded President Trump’s announcement yesterday morning that a heroic mission had eliminated the chief instigator of this violence.
“We owe a debt of thanks to the men and women of our intelligence community for taking grave risks, cultivating key partnerships in the region, and laying the groundwork for the swift and precise operation.
“Of course, we’re hugely grateful to the U.S. military personnel who executed the strike. Our nation calls upon elite special operations units to take on missions of the utmost sensitivity. Their bravery and professionalism continue to make America proud.
“My fellow Kentuckians and I are especially proud that Lt. Gen. Scott Howell, a Cadiz, Kentucky native, is currently leading the Joint Special Operations Command and oversaw this daring mission. Lt. Gen. Howell is a career Air Force pilot who has spent his career deploying with and commanding special operations forces. Our nation is lucky to have this son of the Bluegrass serving where he is.
“And I commend President Trump, Secretary Esper, and the entire administration team for making the tough call to act on our intelligence and send U.S. forces into the breach.
“That decision is never easy, but it was the right one. A total operational success.
“This victory offers us an important strategic reminder about the value of our nation’s investment in advanced military capabilities, American military presence abroad, and deep relationships with foreign allies and local security partners. Without such factors, operations such as this become much more risky.
“The name of this terrorist is now headed straight for the trash bin of history. There are other names I’d like for us to remember today instead.
“Peter Kassig, born and raised in Indianapolis. A former Army Ranger turned humanitarian worker in the Middle East. ISIS beheaded him in 2014. He was 26.
“Steven Sotloff, a grandson of Holocaust survivors born in Florida and a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel. He was a journalist who worked with refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped by ISIS and beheaded in 2014.
“James Foley grew up in New Hampshire. He spent four years as an embedded correspondent in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria before his capture by ISIS. After two years of captivity and torture, he too was beheaded in 2014.
“And Kayla Mueller from Arizona, whom ISIS kidnapped in Aleppo in 2013. Kayla’s Christian faith had led her to humanitarian work. She was brutalized by ISIS leaders and then killed in 2015, aged 26. This weekend’s operation was code-named in Kayla’s honor.
“Today we remember these brave Americans, and all the courageous U.S. servicemembers and DOD civilians who gave their lives to fight ISIS.
“In their memories, we are glad justice has been done. In their memories, we resolve not to back down, but to persist in this fight until we’ve secured the enduring defeat of this dangerous and determined enemy.”
Related Issues: Iraq, Tributes, America's Military, ISIL, Syria, War on Terror