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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 H. Res. 786

September 19, 2012
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.Res. 786. I join President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and my colleagues in Congress in condemning these attacks in the strongest possible terms. The attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Sana, Yemen and the violent assault on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya were shocking and unacceptable.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the four U.S. embassy employees, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who lost their lives in the attack. Their courageous service represents the very best of America and their sacrifice will not be forgotten. Every day, America’s diplomats serve their country by promoting our interests and values around the world. This difficult task becomes even more daunting and important in unstable countries where young democracies are struggling to take root in the presence of violent opponents and in the shadow of historical oppression. 

As our nation grieves this loss we must also strengthen our resolve. The changes brought by the Arab Spring are still unfolding. It is crucial for the United States to engage in these countries and support their transition to stable democracies that respect religious rights, human rights, especially the rights of women.

In closing, the outpouring of condolences from the citizens of Libya, including those in Benghazi, is heartening.  I was struck by the image of a young Libyan women holding a sign written in English so it would be understood by Americans that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi or Islam.” Ambassador Stevens believed these voices would ultimately triumph in Libya and we honor his memory by standing steadfast with them in their democratic journey.