More than nine years after 9/11, protecting America from extremist threats remains a national imperative. The failed Christmas Day bombing demonstrates how real these threats remain. Defeating these enemies and ensuring peaceful relations between the United States and the rest of the world requires us to pursue a multi-pronged, comprehensive strategy.
* Pursuing Terrorist Networks Abroad. It is vital that we maintain a strong offensive posture in the struggle against extremism. We must use both military and non-military methods to target and attack the terrorists where they are; never allowing them to establish safe havens in which to plot, plan and train. This includes targeting Al Qaeda's organizations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen as well as its affiliates like Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
* Improving Homeland Security. The attempted Christmas Day bombing exposed unacceptable flaws in how information is shared and analyzed across our intelligence community. Congress and the Administration must do more to meet the threats of today's information age by improving information sharing, and by bringing together the best technology and the most effective management strategies to get people working across agencies to collect and understand information better. And we must strengthen cyber security, with the government and the private sector working together to find the most effective solutions.
* Convicting Terrorists. We must ensure that our judicial system has the tools it needs to prosecute those who try to attack the United States. Both civilian courts and military tribunals have long been a part of our judicial system. Properly constituted, military tribunals are an appropriate venue in which to try accused terrorists under certain circumstances, including when enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are directed by foreign terrorists and foreign governments to attack our nation.
* Building Alliances Abroad. The rise of future extremist movements can ultimately be curbed only by equipping and training our allies in the fight against Al Qaeda. Military attacks against Al Qaeda's organization can only ever serve as a stop-gap solution. Furthermore, we won't win this fight without improving education and development in places where Al Qaeda seeks supporters, undermining its ability to replenish its jihadist pool.
* Ending our Commitment in Iraq. I support the Administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010. Withdrawal will allow U.S. forces to rededicate themselves to our primary fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan and around the world while encouraging Iraqi leaders to reach a lasting political accommodation that will endure without the presence of U.S. troops. While American troops remain, the United States must use its influence to encourage Iraq's leaders to settle disputes peacefully and within the legal framework they have established under the Iraqi Constitution. We are prepared to work with whichever leader emerges from continuing political negotiations, but Iraqis must begin to take responsibility for their own security and governance.
* Pursuing Clear, Limited Goals in Afghanistan. The release of thousands of sensitive documents describing U.S. efforts in Afghanistan has highlighted ongoing public concerns about the progress of the war. Our commitment in Afghanistan must not be open ended. Our troops are scheduled to begin coming home in July 2011 and I would insist on adhering to this exit strategy.
* Containing Iran. The current political leadership in Tehran has repeatedly demonstrated antipathy toward basic human rights, and an unyielding animosity toward Israel, the United States and many of our friends and allies across the globe. The actions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps at home have been rightly condemned by the world, and the actions of Iranian sponsored groups abroad should receive our active resistance. The United States must lead an international effort to reverse the rising influence of the Ahmadinejad regime across the Middle East. As a United States Senator, I would support the current structure of sanctions on Iran, and work to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime until it relinquishes its aspirations for nuclear weapons. Some of the actions I would support include gaining international support for an arms embargo, targeted travel bans, the freezing of assets, and sanctions designed to impede the flow of refined petroleum products into Iran.
* Supporting Israel. Israel is not only an ally of strategic necessity, but a partner with deeply-held commitments to America's own foundational values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, religious freedom, and the pursuit of international peace. As the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, Israel serves as an example for countries struggling to build sustainable democracies in the region and throughout the world. As a U.S. Senator, I will work to advance all the facets of the unique and historic partnership between Israel and the United States.