In a speech from the Senate floor, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called the San Bernardino attack an act of war in an ongoing fight against radical Islam that Congress can no longer ignore.
“We are at war,” he said Tuesday night. “The American people already know this. Our enemies obviously know this… It is only this town that seems confused. Washington ignores what it cannot escape.”
“This is a clash of civilizations— a fight between free people and a totalitarian movement,” he said. “We are free and our enemies hate it…They hate us not because of any particular thing we have done, by omission or by commission; they hate us because of who we are. They hate us because we have a Constitution that enshrines our freedoms.”
Sasse noted that the best way to stop so-called Islamophobia is for Washington to stop jihadis from trying to blow up Americans.
“You want to stop Islamaphobia?” he asked. “Stop lecturing Americans that they’re supposedly stupid to be frightened about jihadis who actually do want to bomb their sporting event. And instead use your pen and phone as Commander-in-Chief to start telling us what your plan is to find and kill those who would do us harm.”
Although he didn’t specifically name Donald Trump, Sasse said the billionaire’s demagogic demands for blanket bans on Muslim immigration were driven in large part by the refusal of political leaders to even acknowledge the national security threat currently posed by violent Islamic terrorists.
“The people who are supposed to be laser-focused on defending the American people—that is us—mouth silly platitudes that show we’re either too weak or too confused to keep our people safe,” Sasse said from the Senate floor. “Then a megalomaniac strongman steps forward, and he starts screaming about travel bans and deportation, and offering promises to keep all of us safe, which to some and I think actually to many more than those of us in this body seem to understand, to some will sound much better than not being protected at all.”
Sasse’s remarks echoed a message he recorded from the site of the San Bernardino attacks last week, where he said that the 14 victims of the attack would not be the only ones to lose their lives in the ongoing fight for religious liberty. Telling the truth about the nature of the enemy and about ourselves is the best way to honor the victims who died at the hands of Islamic terrorists, Sasse said.
“This country invented religious liberty–we’re the most tolerant nation the world has ever seen,” he said. “Our people want a little less elite sermonizing about tolerance in our communities, and a little more articulation of our shared Constitutional principles – and a lot more articulating of an actual battle plan.”
“We should be clear about who we are and about the freedoms we stand for,” he said. “And we should be clear about those who would try to kill us because we believe in these freedoms.”
The Midwestern Republican senator also had no patience for those denied that the terrorists were driven by their beliefs about Islam.
“When we nonsensically say that our enemy has nothing to do with Islam or conversely that every Muslim is prejudged guilty – then our national conversation crumbles into simple sound and fury,” Sasse concluded. “That is not us. For we are Americans.”