One of the most important functions of the federal government is to provide for the safety and security of the American people. Our nation faces many grave and serious threats: the continued rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the global war on terror, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, North Korea's development of ballistic missile technology, and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, just to name a few.
We are blessed by the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces who are heroically committed to the defense of our nation. We should demand a Congress and Commander in Chief who are equally committed.
The national Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission established by Congress has given the Obama administration an "F" for failing to protect the United States from nuclear, chemical and biological attacks. We know that al-Qaida is more interested than ever in bioweapons. As a result, we need a national plan to coordinate federal, state and local efforts to prevent and respond to a bioterrorism attack. We need better cooperation among federal agencies to provide a more capable response to nuclear, chemical and biological threats. In addition, Congress should reform homeland security oversight to consolidate the committees and subcommittees sharing responsibility over the subject. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security reports to more than 80 congressional committees and sub-committees. This fragmentation has resulted in a duplicative and incoherent strategy on homeland security issues.
This administration's decision to reverse our commitment to the Poles and the Czech Republic on missile defense on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland is shameful. And it is a slap in the face to some of our most trusted and loyal allies. In a dangerous world, we need to stop trying to make friends of our enemies by repudiating our allies. We don't need friends, we need allies.
The range of North Korea's Taepodong-2 ballistic missile is estimated to be 3,000 to 6,000 miles, up to five times farther than in 1990. By continuing to test and perfect their existing technology, North Koreans could reach anywhere in North America with a nuclear warhead in about 33 minutes. Developments in North Korea, Iran's nuclear ambitions and the prospect of a nuclear missile falling into the hands of al-Qaida or another terrorist group counsels in favor of a rigorous program of testing, development and deployment of a strong ballistic missile defense system.
Rather than seeking to negotiate with terrorists and the corrupt leadership of Iran, we should immediately impose tough economic sanctions to prevent that rogue regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Specifically, Congress should immediately pass the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which would direct sanctions at one of Iran's most significant vulnerabilities: its low level refining capacity. Likewise, we should do all we can to support the voices of freedom and dissent among the Iranian people.
The War on Terror and Detention Policy
We also need to stop giving terrorists new and special rights. The attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, which originated in Yemen, is a stark and sobering reminder of the dangers we face. Yemenis account for 97 of the 210 men still left at the prison at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 47 of the detainees released as of last March are suspected of terrorist activity since their release.
Yet this administration presses ahead with its reckless plan to close the prison, move the detainees to the United States or release them to their home countries. I will oppose any and all efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and I will vote against any and all appropriations that would allow the President to do so. The world's most dangerous terrorists are locked up at Guantanamo Bay, and that's where they should stay.
I also oppose the President's decision to try the self-indentified mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and his co-conspirators, in federal court in New York. These terrorists are non-citizen enemy combatants and they are not entitled to American-style constitutional rights. They should be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, consistent with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.
Treating these non-citizens like common criminals rather than the terrorists that they are reflects a September 10th mentality and would give them more rights than even the men and women of the Armed Services, who are subject to court martial.
All of this compromises sensitive U.S. intelligence and it threatens the safety and security of the American people. I agree with Scott Brown who said after his Senate victory in Massachusetts that our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop the terrorists, not lawyers to defend them.
I support our mission in Afghanistan, as a war of necessity, and I agree with General Stanley A. McChrystal that we should give our soldiers the resources they need to do the job and then come home safely, with honor and victory. As a Member of Congress, I will be an advocate for our soldiers, sailors and Marines and I will encourage the Department of Defense to ensure clarity in the rules of engagement of the enemy.
Adequately Funding Our Military
Our commitments have left all branches of our active duty military, the National Guard, and the Reserves strained. We owe it to the men and women who daily put their lives in harms way to immediately fund the military's pressing modernization and procurement needs. It is far more cost-effective to provide sustained funding to the military, including consistent maintenance and regular upgrades, than to allow the military to collapse and then rebuild it from scratch. Most importantly, it is only right that we provide our soldiers, sailors and Marines with the weapons and equipment they need to keep them safe and fulfill their mission.