Associated Press - Romney Calls For New Strategy On Terror
By Liz Sidoti
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney called for "new course" in the fight against terrorists on Thursday and, in a swipe at Democrat John Edwards, said: "The war on terror is not a bumper sticker." Speaking to a conservative group, Romney argued that "there is a real war being waged by violent jihadists."
The former Massachusetts governor did not mention Edwards by name, but the remark was clearly directed at the Democratic presidential candidate who has contended that the war on terror is little more than a "bumper sticker" slogan.
Romney's speech to the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum in Beaver Creek, Colo., was closed to the public, but his campaign released his prepared remarks.
He argued that to defeat the "global jihadist threat," the United States must institute a worldwide strategy in which it works more closely with allies, "brings more tools of our national power to bear," and tailors different strategies to specific countries deemed potential terrorism hot spots.
"We need more than a change in direction. We need a new course altogether," Romney said. "The integration, sustainability and breadth of this war against violent jihad must now take on a new dimension. We must move from tactics to strategy."
He said the country must venture beyond its current phase in the war on terrorism, which he argued continued to be a reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "It is time to execute a global strategy for security and peace," he said.
Romney also called for the United States to establish a "Special Partnership Force" -- made up of Army special forces and intelligence personnel -- to work with foreign governments to root out terrorists from their populations. "Their goal is to build national institutions of stability and freedom, and to promote the rule of law and human rights," he said.
He proposed holding a summit of nations with the goal of a new type of Marshall Plan, which he dubbed a "Partnership for Prosperity and Progress." The objective: ensuring that "threatened Islamic states had public schools, not Wahhabi madrassas, micro-credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic health care and competitive economic policies," he said.
Edwards' campaign jabbed at Romney.
"While the Republican candidates continue their race to see who can be the bigger, badder George Bush, at least Mitt Romney has finally called for a 'new course' to fight terrorism," Jonathan Prince, an Edwards spokesman, said in a statement.
Prince said that Romney's proposals sounded like those of Edwards, who has called for a "Marshall Corps" to help weak and failing nations. "It's promising that Gov. Romney seems to be joining us," he said.