Legislative Update: On the death of Osama bin Laden

Rep. Keith Ellison

Posted May 5, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Legislative Update: On the death of Osama bin Laden

by Rep. Keith Ellison

On his Legislative Update Facebook page, Rep. Keith Ellison posted the following statement on the death of Osama bin Laden:

The death of Osama Bin Laden this week marks the most significant accomplishment yet in the war against Al-Qaeda. I commend the leadership of President Obama, the U.S. Armed Forces and the intelligence community for finding the world’s most wanted terrorist. As we reflect, our thoughts should be with the families of those Bin Laden murdered in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Even before 9/11, Bin Laden killed Americans and others at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and on the USS Cole. I hope his death marks the beginning of the end of the violent Al-Qaeda ideology.

This week I joined with my colleagues to write a letter to President Obama, calling for a significant reduction in U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Bin Laden’s death signals the need to end our involvement in the longest war in American history. We must ensure that the scheduled reduction in troops in July meets the expectations of the American people and that we transition to a civilian-led reconstruction and development effort.

The following is the letter mentioned in the update:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

In the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death, now is the time to shift toward the swift, safe, and responsible
withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors from Afghanistan. We, the undersigned Members of
the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), strongly urge you to announce plans for a near-term and
significant drawdown of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan beginning no later than July of this year.

On March 16, 2011, 81 Members of Congress sent you a letter asserting that the forthcoming reduction in
U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan must be significant and sizeable, and executed in an orderly fashion. This
bipartisan message stressed the urgency of creating economic opportunities here at home and said that the
redeployment of only a minimal number of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July would not meet the
expectations of Congress or the American people.

Mr. President, we are hopeful that Osama Bin Laden’s death will offer comfort to the families of the
victims of unconscionable attacks on innocent life that have occurred throughout the world and on 9111.
You acted decisively in your efforts to capture the mastermind behind those tragic events and we
commend your calls for national and global solidarity as we acknowledge the world is safer for his

It is our hope that you can similarly unifY the nation by bringing our troops home and ending America’s
longest war in history- a position supported by an overwhelming majority ofthe American people.
The death of Osama Bin Laden certainly does not represent an end to AI-Qaeda. As we seek a future free
ofthe threat of global terrorism, we must work to implement smart security policies that are both effective
and sustainable. Ending the war in Afghanistan is a critical step toward refocusing U.S. resources and
security assets to serve that vital purpose.


Barbara Lee, Co-Chair, CPC Peace & Security Task Force
Raul M. Grijalva, Co-Chair, CPC
Keith Ellison, Co-Chair, CPC
Lyn C. Woolsey, Co-Chair, CPC Peace & Security Task Force
Michael M. Honda, Co-Chair, CPC Peace & Security Task Force
Maxine Waters, Co-Chair, CPC Peace & Security