Friday, September 07, 2007

Edwards' New Strategy Against Terrorism

"We've got to throw away the failed George Bush policies of the past, and move in a bold new direction..."

"Some politicians, like Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain have responded to the shortcomings and backfires of the Administration's approach by essentially doubling-down. They have closed their eyes to the facts and asked us to accept, on faith, more of the Bush approach. Some running for the Democratic nomination have even argued that the Bush-Cheney approach has made us safer. It has not."

- John Edwards today at Pace University

The following are highlight from a speech given by presidential candidate John Edwards at Pace University in New York City (of which blogger Matthew Yglesias called "brilliant"):

...instead of leading a truly visionary campaign against global terrorism, our president led America down a garden path.

...President Bush, like the Republicans following him today and even some Democrats, was stuck in the past, and he still is.

...George Bush literally gave us his father's war—but without his father's allies or his father's sense of decency.

...Tragically for America and the world, George Bush's "war on terror" approach walked directly into the trap the terrorists set for us. Islamic extremists wanted to frame the conflict with the U.S. as a war of civilizations, and the Bush Administration, stuck in a Cold War mentality, happily complied.

...We need a counterterrorism policy that will actually counter terrorism.

...George Bush has used 20th century tools to attack 21st century problems. The Bush approach has failed not only because of the shameless political manipulations and reckless decisions of the president and his aides. It has failed because the president is using an antiquated set of weapons against a modern target, and he's misfiring.

...As president, I will launch a comprehensive new counterterrorism policy that will be defined by two principles—strength and cooperation.

...The centerpiece of this policy will be a new multilateral organization called the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Treaty Organization (CITO).

...Organizations are only as strong as the people who help make them run, and so we must also improve the quality of our human intelligence—agents better able to understand local culture and make local connections in countries with active terrorist cells. As president, I will lead efforts to improve human intelligence through 1,000 new annual scholarships to improve language skills for students who pursue careers in intelligence and diplomacy.

...Diplomacy is key to progress against nuclear weapons.

...As president, I will create a Global Nuclear Compact to strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would support peaceful nuclear programs, improve security for existing stocks of nuclear materials, and ensure more frequent verification that materials are not being diverted and facilities are not being misused. And I will lead an international effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

...We must encourage American Muslim participation in public life. I will put new resources toward engaging American Muslims, empowering local mosques to counter extremist ideas, and working hand-in-hand with Muslim communities to identify and isolate threats.

...we must achieve energy independence. If we reduce our reliance on oil from instable parts of the world, Middle Eastern regimes will finally diversify their economies and modernize their societies.

...we also should have a broader, deeper goal—to prevent terrorism from taking root in the first place.

...[If] they see us as the light, the country they want to be like, the country that's creating hope and opportunity, it will pull them to us like a magnet. We have to be that light again. We need to do everything we can to prevent this generation of potential friends from becoming a generation of enemies.

... during my first year in office, I will establish a "Marshall Corps," patterned after the military reserves, that will include at least 10,000 civilian experts. Its members will be deployed abroad to serve on reconstruction, stabilization, and humanitarian missions.


...George Bush's failed management of the war in Iraq has made the problem of terrorism worse. The war provided Al Qaeda with a powerful tool for recruiting terrorists. It gave them a battlefield for training. It gave them an attractive target, in American troops. And it diverted the resources of the U.S. military, weakening our force structure in the process. Even though the presence of U.S. troops has served as an attractive target for terrorists, our eventual withdrawal will not remove the threat. As president, I will redeploy troops into Quick Reaction Forces outside of Iraq, to perform targeted missions against Al Qaeda cells and to prevent a genocide or regional spillover of a civil war.


...We can neglect the crisis in Afghanistan no longer. The Taliban is re-taking territory in southern Afghanistan and kidnapping foreigners. As president, I will work with the other members of NATO to ensure that our forces and rules of engagement are robust enough to defeat the Taliban and protect the democratic government in Afghanistan. As part of this effort, I will commit additional American Special Forces to root out and shut down Taliban cells.


In Pakistan, the recent National Intelligence Estimate found that Al Qaeda has established a safe haven in the northwest tribal areas. We have given the Musharraf government billions of dollars of aid in the last several years, yet they have done far too little to get control over these areas. As president, I will condition future American aid on progress by Pakistan, including strengthening the reach of police forces and working more effectively with tribal leaders and their members to ensure their acceptance of the government. But I want to be clear about one thing: if we have actionable intelligence about imminent terrorist activity and the Pakistan government refuses to act, we will.


...Saudi Arabia is a country we have given too much in return for too little. We must require the Saudis to do more to stop the flow of terrorists to Iraq. As president, I will condition future arms packages on Saudi Arabia's actions against terrorists.


Dharmashanti said...

I don't mind John Edwards. He has some good ideas. But he's not my first choice or my second.

Anyone who still thinks that gay people like me shouldn't have the same exact rights as other people (like the basic right to get married) isn't a leader in my book. He's a follower. Separate but equal is so Jim Crow 1950s.

Also, he didn't have the insight to see that a pre-emptive, unilateral war with Iraq was a bad idea. He just went along. Where was his leadership then?

I'm not saying he's a bad guy! And he's certainly smarter than Bush, but we can do better.

Just my two cents.


Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

There is no 2008 Democratic candidate that will tell America they're ready to commit to pro-gay marriage yet. Although I'm pro-GLBT marriage, I know that there is no federal provison set aside supporting gay marriage yet, so it isn't as if Edwards is threatening to legally forbid something that does not now exist in federal law. He does not support a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. He isn't forbidding gay marriage by telling us what he personally thinks. On top of that, he's telling us that his personal beliefs won't interfere with his deep respect for the rule of law. All politics is local. No president will ever really have the power to provide or create gay rights - only to protect them once they are legislated. Our local city councils and state legislatures have more authority over our daily lives than the President would on this particular issue. To insinuate that Edwards would not want GLBTs having equal rights is a false analysis of what he's actually said, which is that he is staunchly pro-civil union and the substantive rights that go with their partnerships.

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

"..Although I'm pro-GLBT marriage, I know that there is no federal provison set aside supporting gay marriage yet, so it isn't as if Edwards is threatening to legally forbid something that does not now exist in federal law."

I wanted to point out, in addition, that the spirit of marriage and what constitutes marriage can be inferred from our Constitution. There doesn't need to be a specific law supporting it, but there should be justices in place on our highest court that will not screw with our constitution and crush out the spirit of marriage. The very fact that Edwards is strongly committed against a constitutional BAN shows his respect for states' rights on the issue, regardless of his faith-based beliefs. He is a well-documented liberal in the light of his legislative history. I'm convinced that, as president, he will appoint the justices we'd need to make our constitution tamper-free.

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