Is This how the President Expects to Make us Safer?

05/25/2011 11:55 am ET

It has been more than five years since Congress authorized the use of force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Five long years. And what do we have to show for it? Not a single one of the planners has been brought to trial.

We have a wiretapping program of questionable constitutionality targeting Americans without any kind of oversight. We have detention centers where people are held for years without charges being brought against them. We have Iraq, which has become a training ground for international terrorists, on the brink of civil war. And we have a Military Commissions bill that brings dishonor to our values and to our Constitution.

But we do not have Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda has not been destroyed and is still a threat.

Our moral authority has been tarnished. Our civil liberties have been compromised. Our sons and daughters are fighting and dying in a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

Is this how the President expects to make us safer?

For years, the President and the Administration have been using fear to distort the facts and frighten Americans into supporting their policies. The Administration is right about one thing: Americans should be extremely concerned about the security of our nation. But let's be honest. Let's address the facts. We did not invade Iraq to fight terrorism, as the President would now have us believe. Instead, we are less safe today because the war in Iraq has hindered our ability to make progress in combating terrorism. The recently disclosed National Intelligence Estimate makes that case clearly. As we debate critical funding bills for the Department of Defense, the Electronic Surveillance Act, and the Military Commissions bill, we need to consider fully the assessments of our intelligence agencies on terrorism. That is why I offered a motion this week to have the House go into secret session - it is our responsibility, as part of our duty to conduct oversight over the war in Iraq.

As long as the President refuses to change course, and as long as the Republican Congress follows blindly in his footsteps, we will not be as safe as we should be.