Issue Position: Iraq and the War on Terror
The Constitution gives the federal government no greater role than the defense of the American people. I strongly support a vigorous national defense that leaves our Armed Forces with the strongest capability possible to protect our nation against threats to our national security.
I am deeply proud of our men and women in uniform who are currently serving around the world to protect our freedom. They and their families deserve our thanks and admiration for all they have sacrificed in service of our country. As a member of the U.S. Senate, I intend to do everything in my power to ensure they have everything they need to complete their mission.
It is vitally important for us, when considering Iraq and the War on Terror, to remember who we are fighting and what is at stake. We have an obligation to future generations of Americans that we achieve victory in the War on Terror. The terrorists we are confronting today in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere would be on our doorstep if we retreat. It is better to confront and disrupt terrorists in far away lands rather than allowing them to once again launch attacks on us in our own cities.
Overall, the debate over troop levels in Iraq is not what matters victory is what matters. I believe now is the time for us to look within ourselves and ask "Do we want to win?" If our goal is simply to get our troops home and not to win the war, then we should bring them home today, not over a long period of time. We will be doing our troops a great dishonor if our objective is to leave Iraq yet we leave them in harm's way. Let's bring them home today if we do not intend to defeat this evil.
If we are committed to making the world safe from terrorism in the future, then packing up and leaving Iraq because we are unsatisfied today with our progress would be an unwise move. Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq will certainly seek to seize control of all or parts of Iraq at the first sign of American retreat. This would allow al-Qaeda to re-establish a base of operations in Iraq to plot terrorist attacks, replace their terrorist training camps we destroyed in Afghanistan and fund their nefarious activities through one of the world's largest oil supplies.
We must recognize our troops have eliminated two evil regimes that threatened international security. We cannot forget our soldiers have killed or arrested approximately 55,000 terrorists and insurgents. Almost every one of those 55,000 would have committed horrific acts of terrorism against innocent Americans if they had been given the chance.
We must remain mindful these individuals are determined to see our annihilation, and that their blustering and threatening must be taken seriously, not dismissed and pushed aside. It is clear leaving them alone will not appease them, as they have attacked us repeatedly. We ignore these threats at our own peril.
From the beginning, I have been concerned with the cost of the War in Iraq, and I do not believe the war should be funded through "emergency" supplemental appropriation bills. These appropriation bills are intended for unexpected costs, such as the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks. However, a war that has been ongoing since 2003 is no longer unexpected and should be added into the president's budget request.
Until this change is made, each supplemental totaling hundreds of billions of dollars to date is added directly onto our national debt. American families are forced to prioritize their spending decisions when resources are limited, but Congress believes it does not have to make the same tough choices. Instead, Congress opts to "pull out the credit card" and borrow the money for Iraq.
Each year the federal government loses an estimated $200 billion to waste, fraud and duplication. This money could have paid for the Iraq War for an entire year and, at the same time, helped pay down our deficit. Instead, Congress neglected its responsibility to perform oversight and has refused to correct the practices that led to the wasting of your hard-earned tax dollars.
The ability of America to defend itself in the future will depend on how well we can keep our fiscal house in order at home. As long as America's fiscal position is weakened, our enemies will be emboldened and the federal government in turn will not have the resources essential to the defense of the homeland. We must bring fiscal sanity to Congress in part so our nation can maintain the strongest national defense possible.