Mr. POE of Texas. This is about our troops. This is about Americans who have been willing to protect the rest of us when duty calls and in time of war. Army Specialist Jarrett Griemel was one of those noble Americans. He was a patriot. He joined the United States Army right out of high school. He had completed basic training before he graduated from high school in his junior year at La Porte High School in Texas. In 2008, Jarrett married his high school sweetheart, Candice, in a small ceremony before the justice of the peace. She joined him in Alaska, where he was deployed by the Army, to begin their young married lives together. He was a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Battalion.
Last June, Jarrett was killed at the age of 20 years in Afghanistan. This is his photograph. He is on this board--the board with 27 other Texans from our congressional district area. He is the latest to have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan as a volunteer to go overseas and protect the rest of us in time of war. He believed in protecting our country. He believed in it so much he was willing to leave his wife and go halfway around the world to fight an enemy on the enemy's own turf. And he believed in it so much that he was willing to give his life for the rest of us. So if we pass this resolution, what message do we send to Jarrett's family or Jarrett's young bride--that his sacrifice just wasn't enough? That it was all for naught?
We don't quit war because war is hard. War has always been hard. Every good thing this country has ever achieved has been hard. We don't quit and run because it is difficult. We stay because we believe, like Jarrett, that the fight against an enemy that is bent on our destruction is worth it. That is the reason these other 27 from all races and both sexes fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last December, I had the privilege to go to Afghanistan and meet Americans like Jarrett and these others who are risking their lives for us here at home. They told me that they missed their families, they missed their kids, but also they believe the work they're doing is worth it, and they're eager to finish the job and get back home. They continue to fight, and fight hard, and they want success. And we must remember, Mr. Speaker, they're all volunteers. America's finest.
General McChrystal's new strategy is effective and already leading to key victories. It makes no sense to all of a sudden pick up and leave when we're the ones winning this war and the enemy is receiving crushing blow after crushing blow. We cannot pull the rug out from underneath our troops. Of course, al Qaeda and the Taliban would say, I told you so. The Americans, they just don't have the stomach for war. They would once again, these enemies of the world, creep back into the seats of power and darkness and would turn their countries back a thousand years. Women would once again not be allowed to go to school, political dissidents would be murdered, and Afghanistan would once again become a safe haven for terrorists to plot and plan their next attacks against people they don't like throughout the world, including Americans. All Americans would be in danger.
War is hard. The cut-and-run crowd do not understand if we retreat unilaterally and quit this war, the war will not be over, because our enemies will continue the war against us whether we continue against them or not. Our troops would return home with one question: Why? Why would you bring us home when victory was so close? Why did we fight so hard, make so many sacrifices, only to have those that believe in peace at any price say it's time to quit?
Now is not the time to retreat. This enemy is real. It must be defeated. This is not about the politics of fear with some hypothetical enemy but assessing reality and supporting these men and women and others that are over there and protecting our home from terrorists that want nothing more than to destroy us wherever they find us in the world. Past successes don't guarantee future success. Victory is close, but we have not obtained it yet. Abandonment and retreat--those are not strategies. We stay because it's in our interest to stay and secure a victory against the enemies of the world.
General Petraeus said, "We've got to show that we are in this; that we are going to provide sustained, substantial commitment." Make no mistake about it, Mr. Speaker, the troops and their families are watching this debate today to see what we shall do here in Congress. They are looking for who will support them and who will not. We must defeat this resolution and the Taliban and the al Qaeda and support our military.
Last Saturday, March 6, was the 174th anniversary of the battle at the Alamo where those people walked across that line rather than give in to the enemy.
They were led by a 27-year-old individual from South Carolina by way of Alabama. He said at the Alamo, "I shall never surrender or retreat," and they did not surrender or retreat because war was hard then, and it cost them all their lives. But victory was obtained later, and freedom was obtained.
War is hard. It is always hard. And we shall not give in. We shall not surrender or retreat. It is in our interest and in the interest of America to defeat the enemy and let them have no doubt in their minds that we will be victorious.
And that's just the way it is.