By Holding the Perpetrators of the Embassy Attacks Accountable, We Honor Those Who Died, Ros-Lehtinen Says

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke today in favor of H.Res.786, honoring the four United States public servants who died in Libya and condemning the attacks on United States diplomatic facilities in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen.  Chairman Ros-Lehtinen expressed her deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed and all members of the Foreign Service as they continue their meaningful work abroad in service of our country.  Ros-Lehtinen also called for the perpetrators of these attacks to be held accountable and for the United States to continue to stand up for American values and support voices of moderation. The Chairman stated that the video allegedly responsible for these protests is not an excuse for the actions taken against our embassies and that there should be no apologies from the U.S.  The measure passed the House by voice vote.  Ros-Lehtinen made the following remarks in support of the resolution:

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen on the House Floor

(Click here for video)
“I want to thank Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Leader Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer for spearheading this critical resolution about the recent terrorist attacks.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty, and all of those injured in the attack.  Our condolences must also go out to the entire U.S. diplomatic corps.  
“On the 11th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, radical Islamists attacked the United States Embassy in Benghazi and our Ambassador and three other State Department personnel were murdered.   Concurrently, in Cairo, our U.S. Embassy there was assaulted by a mob of extremists, who breached its walls and desecrated our American flag.  Since that fateful day, we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of anti-American protests and actions throughout the region; from assaulting the Embassy in Tunis to the attack on peacekeepers in the Sinai.
“The premise that the violence and protests are solely based on that obscure, hateful video is patently false.  Rather, it is symptomatic of a broader effort by our enemies in the region to foment hatred of the U.S.  Yet, the hesitation on the part of this Administration and the schizophrenia in response to this latest crisis is a cause for concern.  The U.S. has nothing for which to apologize, including the exercise of freedom of expression.
“Surrendering our principles before an unruly mob or violent extremists will only embolden the likes of al-Qaeda, and reinforce the notion that more attacks against the United States will change core American policies and American principles. The perpetrators of these attacks must be held accountable by our allies in the region and the Administration must take the lead.  There is no excuse whatsoever for attacking diplomatic missions and murdering diplomats.
“The Administration must place the governments on notice that their conduct during this crisis will determine the nature of our relations moving forward.  The Libyan and Yemeni governments have both apologized for and strongly condemned the attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in their host countries.  They have been fully cooperating with us.  By contrast, the Egyptian government took over a day to issue a weak statement discouraging violence against foreign embassies, but it was alas too little, too late.
“This cannot happen again, and Congress will be closely monitoring the ongoing protests and reassessing our assistance packages and approaches based on the responses of the governments to assaults on our embassies and our institutions.  The lack of a firm response will undermine U.S. interests in the region.  We must clearly articulate and implement a policy that rewards our allies, encourages moderate forces within the region, and punishes our enemies.  At this critical moment, the United States must affirm support to our friends and allies, and clearly differentiate them from our enemies.  The United States must continue to stand up for American values and stand with the voices of moderation.
“In closing, I would like to reinforce a few points. First, our thoughts and our prayers are with the families of the American diplomats murdered in Libya, as we stand with them in this difficult time.  Secondly, there is no excuse whatsoever for attacking diplomatic missions and murdering diplomats. Third, the U.S. has nothing for which to apologize.  Let us not apologize for the exercise of freedom of expression.  The perpetrators of these attacks must be held accountable. Finally, the United States Congress will be reassessing our assistance packages based on the response of the various affected governments to assaults on our embassies and our institutions.
“Nothing can justify the terrorists attacks carried out against our fellow Americans, and our diplomatic posts, and our U.S. interests around the world. The Americans killed were committed to helping the Libyan people; committed to help them secure a better, more stable, more peaceful future.  Yet, the radicals who seek to hijack such freedom, security, and prosperity from the people of the Middle East and in North Africa; those who deny their own people basic human rights and universal freedoms answered our dedication and our commitment of these courageous Americans, by burning our mission and killing our diplomats.
“So let us be clear: no apologies are needed. Nothing justifies these violent actions. And to the people throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and the throughout the world who are oppressed, the United States and out personnel overseas stand  with you; we stand for freedom despite the threats from extremists elements.”

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