* Standing up for our brave men and women in uniform who have made countless sacrifices in defense of our treasured freedoms.
* While critical of past mistakes and current political difficulties in Iraq, I have been a strong supporter of new strategies and the accompanying surge in troops that have dramatically reduced violence and causalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
* Advocating strength in the War of Terrorism so that our troops can succeed in their mission and return home to their families as soon as possible.
Although we have been successful in warding off another terrorist attack for nearly seven years since September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda and its allies remain intent on killing innocent people and spreading an ideology of violence and hatred around the world. We must never lose sight of this grave threat to our American ideals, and I believe that we must remain vigilant in our defense of freedom and democracy, even as we face difficult challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on other fronts in the War on Terrorism.
I am pleased to report that over the past year, the Surge has shown dramatic signs of success in enhancing Iraq's security, turning the tide against al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, breaking apart Shi'a death squads, and reducing the need for local militias. Attacks across Iraq have declined to the lowest levels in four years. These encouraging signs show that the Surge has allowed Iraqi and coalition forces make concrete security gains against terrorists and insurgents.
An even more encouraging sign of the Surge's success can be seen in the stand Iraqi citizens are taking against the terrorists and insurgents. As Iraqi Security Forces take an increasing role in defeating terrorist extremists, American troops will be in a better position to return home with honor and in victory. I oppose calls for sudden retreat, without regard for the conditions on the ground or the ability of the Iraqis to defend themselves, which we would forfeit the progress our troops have already achieved.
The Iraqi Government must seize the opportunity provided by the increased security of the Surge and hammer out compromises to the remaining items on their legislative agenda. If the Iraqi government is able to accomplish the tasks being asked of them, a safe and democratic Iraq will provide needed stability to the region. As a father of three young children, I realize the importance of ensuring Iraq does not become the new base for world-wide terrorist operations. I remain committed to our troops as they combat the threat of radical Islamic jihadists.