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John Edwards Outlines Fundamental Differences on National Security

Source: Kerry-Edwards Campaign

Calls for New Leadership to Fix Bush "Miscalculations" and Make America Stronger at Home and Respected in the World

Wilmington, NC - Speaking in Wilmington, NC, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards Monday outlined the fundamental national security choice facing voters in this election: four more years of a go-it-alone foreign policy that undermines the war against terror or the Kerry-Edwards plan to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

"After months of saying he'd done everything right on Iraq and foreign policy, the president acknowledged just the other day that he miscalculated the way in which he waged the war in Iraq," Edwards said. "He believes that he may have won the war too quickly and that was a miscalculation. I want to talk to you about the other ways in which this president has 'miscalculated' our approach to foreign policy. The Bush administration miscalculated by rushing to war without a plan for the peace. The Bush administration miscalculated by deciding to go it alone without strong allies. The Bush administration miscalculated when they waited three years after September 11th to start to reform our intelligence."

Stripping away the slogans, failed policies and personal attacks swirling around New York this week, Edwards said the Bush administration has led America down the wrong path in the wake of September 11th and that only a new president and a new approach can make America as safe as it can be.

"I know that some Americans question whether or not there are differences between us and our opponents - whether it is winning the war on terror, strengthening and leading strong alliances, and finishing the job in Afghanistan and Iraq. When it comes to how America fights terror and leads the world, make no mistake: this election offers the American people a very real choice," Edwards said.

The policies of the Bush administration have weakened America's leadership in the world. The president rushed to war in Iraq with no plan to win the peace. He pursued a go-it-alone foreign policy that has squandered America's leadership in the world and alienated the allies we need to win the war on terror. He has provided billions for Halliburton while our troops have been shortchanged on body armor and benefits. Bush first resisted the creation of the 9/11 Commission, then put up road blocks to its investigation, and now has been slow to implement its recommendations.

"To win the war on terror, we need three things: a strong offense, a strong defense, and strong alliances," Edwards said. "We will go on the offensive to defeat the terrorists before they get to us. We will strengthen our defenses by providing greater homeland security. And we will build strong alliances to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction -- and bring stability and freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq. This is what we will do. This is what they haven't done. And that is a difference."

As Edwards outlined today, Kerry and Edwards represent a very different choice for the American people.

On Afghanistan, which has become a forgotten front in the war on terror, the Kerry-Edwards administration will meet America's commitment to bring stability and prevent the resurgence of the Taliban. They will work to get NATO to accelerate expansion of forces outside of Kabul and keep additional troops in place beyond the election period. To stop the exploding drug trade, Kerry and Edwards will double counter-narcotics assistance and will work with our British allies to create a fully capable Afghan counter-narcotics force.

In Iraq, we face a situation complicated by the Bush administration's failures. To address this, a Kerry-Edwards administration will work with NATO to accelerate the training of Iraq's security forces and provide security so that elections can move forward. "Because of this administration's failures, Iraq is a mess today -- and it probably will be the day we take office," Edwards said. "It didn't have to be this way. But it is. And we need new leadership to fix it."

As president, John Kerry will provide America new leadership to strengthen and restore alliances. With our friends and allies by our side can we effectively fight the war on terror, keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, finish the job in Afghanistan and win the peace in Iraq.

With our allies by our side, Kerry and Edwards will go on the offensive to defeat global terrorism by transforming the military to meet this threat and enhancing international cooperation to improve intelligence and law enforcement efforts. They will also launch a comprehensive strategy to win the war of ideas in the Muslim world.

The number one national security priority of a Kerry-Edwards administration will be to prevent terrorists from obtaining the most dangerous weapons. They will accelerate efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and weapons, lead efforts to end nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, strengthen the Nonproliferation Treaty, and work toward a global ban on the production of materials for nuclear weapons. A Kerry-Edwards Administration will also create a Nuclear Whistleblower Initiative to ensure that any scientists who are willing to disclose an illicit weapons program will be given protection and a safe haven in the United States.

Kerry and Edwards will also better protect the homeland with a new strategy that takes steps as big as the threats we face. They will improve security at our borders and ports and launch a major effort to secure our most vulnerable critical infrastructure. They will also ensure that our first-responders have the training, resources and equipment they need to respond to any attacks.

"This won't be easy," Edwards said. "It will not happen overnight. It will take hard work, sacrifice, and courage. It will take new and sustained leadership. One thing you can take to the bank: John Kerry and I will do all we can to make America stronger at home and respected in the world."


Stronger at Home, Respected in the World: The Kerry-Edwards National Security Strategy

John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is stronger at home and respected in the world. They have a comprehensive strategy to strengthen America's security. They will:

  • restore America's alliances that have been damaged by President Bush (news - web sites)'s unilateralist foreign policy;

  • destroy terrorist networks through a transformed military capable of meeting modern threats and responding effectively with force whenever necessary, and through increased international cooperation to improve intelligence and law enforcement efforts, cut off financing for terrorists, and deny terrorist havens;

  • finish the job in Afghanistan by working with NATO to expand its forces outside Kabul and stopping the exploding drug trade through doubled counter-narcotics assistance and a new international counter-narcotics force;

  • win the peace in Iraq by working with - not around - our allies to make Iraqi security one of NATO's global missions, help secure Iraq's elections, safeguard the integrity of Iraq's borders, and forgive Iraq's enormous debt;

  • reform our nation's intelligence services with a new National Intelligence Director and an intelligence community capable of meeting the threats of today -- not those of the Cold War;

  • win the war of ideas through initiatives like a new International Youth Opportunity Fund that will build and operate schools in Muslim countries;

  • keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, including through accelerated efforts to secure at risk nuclear weapons and materials around the world and a new Nuclear Whistleblower Initiative that will ensure that scientists do not pass on knowledge on building nuclear weapons to terrorists or dangerous states; and

  • protect our homeland by improving security at our borders, seaports, airports and critical infrastructure targets and making sure that our first responders have the training and equipment to respond to any attack

The 9/11 Commission has recommended taking many of these steps, which John Kerry and John Edwards have long advocated. While the Bush administration has not done what is necessary to keep the country safe, John Kerry and John Edwards will move immediately to make these plans a reality. That is the difference.


America must always be the world's paramount military power. But we can magnify our power through alliances. The threat of terrorism demands global alliances to stop terrorists before they can strike at us and to prevent them from obtaining the most dangerous weapons. John Kerry and John Edwards will restore alliances that have been damaged by the Bush administration's unilateralist foreign policy.


John Kerry and John Edwards will utilize all available resources and the power of our alliances to take the fight to the terrorists.

Direct Effective Use of Military Force to Destroy Terrorist Networks

Kerry and Edwards will use military force whenever necessary to destroy terrorist networks -- and they will never cede our security to any other nation or institution.

Transform the Military to Meet Modern Threats

They will ensure that our military is fully prepared to meet the new security challenges by: (1) expanding our active duty forces by 40,000 soldiers; (2) doubling America's Special Forces capability and increasing other specialized personnel; (3) completing the process of technological transformation; (4) making homeland security an additional mission for the National Guard; and (5) keeping faith with our veterans and military families.

Enhance Cooperation to Improve Intelligence and Law Enforcement Efforts, Cut Off Terrorist Financing, and Deny Terrorist Havens

Because the global nature of the terrorist threat demands international cooperation, they will forge stronger coalitions to (1) strengthen the effectiveness of intelligence and law enforcement efforts around the world, (2) cut off financing for terrorists, and (3) deny terrorist havens.


Afghanistan has become a forgotten front in the war on terror. Kerry and Edwards will ensure that Afghanistan receives the security, political, and economic resources it needs. They will:

Expand NATO Beyond Kabul

They will exercise real leadership by getting NATO to accelerate the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) outside Kabul, and commit to sustaining an expansion of its troops in Afghanistan beyond the election period.

Stop the Drug Trade

Poppy production has exploded over the past three years, fueling continued instability. Afghanistan now accounts for 75 percent of global opium production. To stop the booming drug trade, Kerry-Edwards will double counter-narcotics assistance and expedite the growth of an Afghan counter-narcotics force whose specific mandate is to track down and destroy Afghanistan's drug lords and their drug infrastructure and drug processing facilities.

Expedite the Warlord Disarmament and Reintegration Program

The presence of large warlord militias - with as many as 60,000 fighters across the country -- is the principal cause of insecurity and a challenge to the authority of the Karzai government. Kerry-Edwards will provide increased support - including back-up military support where necessary - to crucial disarmament and demobilization efforts.

Improve Security Training

Only by strengthening Afghan security capabilities can Afghanistan be truly safe and secure. Kerry-Edwards will strengthen critical security training initiatives, including bolstering support to the Afghan National Army and national police training programs.


Kerry and Edwards have a realistic plan to create a secure and stable Iraq where democracy can take hold so that we can bring our troops home without leaving behind a potential haven for terrorists. They will:

Persuade NATO to Make the Security of Iraq one of its Global Missions

To reduce the burden on America and open the door to greater international involvement, they will persuade NATO to deploy a significant portion of the forces needed to secure Iraq, including the troops that the UN needs to provide security for the elections.

Plan for Iraq's Future

This will include: (1) securing a pledge from Iraq's neighbors - notably Syria and Iran -- to respect its borders and not interfere in internal affairs, (2) working with our allies to forgive Iraq's multi-billion dollar debts, and (3) supporting the development of a new Iraqi constitution and the political arrangements needed to protect minority rights.

Launch a Massive and Accelerated Training Effort to Build Iraqi Security Forces

To provide real security for the Iraqi people, they will involve NATO and other nations in a major effort to create effective Iraqi security forces.


They will act immediately on the 9-11 Commission recommendations, which mirrored their own proposal, and reform our intelligence services to better prevent a terrorist attack by: (1) creating a National Intelligence Director with real control over personnel and budgets throughout the intelligence community; (2) reorganizing the intelligence community around issue-oriented task forces to meet the threats of today; and (3) strengthening human intelligence by doubling the CIA (news - web sites)'s overseas clandestine personnel ; and (4) ensuring an independent domestic intelligence capability within the FBI (news - web sites).


Kerry and Edwards understand that if we are to win the war on terror over the long term, we must go on the offense to win the war of ideas in the Muslim world. They will implement a broad strategy to accomplish this by: (1) leading a global effort to improve education by supporting a new International Youth Opportunity Fund, as recommended by the 9/11 Commission, that will provide funds to be spent directly for building and operating schools in Muslim countries that commit to investing their own money in public education, (2) breaking down economic and cultural isolation in Arab and Muslim countries, (3) promoting democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and (4) undertaking a major initiative in public diplomacy to advance our interests and support voices of freedom in the Arab and Muslim world.


Kerry and Edwards believe that preventing terrorists from obtaining the most dangerous weapons must be our primary national security priority. They will:

Secure Nuclear Stockpiles

They will implement a comprehensive plan to secure these dangerous materials by safeguarding existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union within four years, creating a global partnership to establish and enforce an international standard for the safe custody of nuclear weapons and materials, securing nuclear materials at research reactors around the world, and reducing existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials.

Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

They will accomplish this by closing the loophole that allows countries to develop nuclear weapons capabilities under the guise of a civilian nuclear power program and making adoption of the additional inspection protocol mandatory.

Institute a Global Ban on the Production of New Bomb Making Materials

They will end production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons by supporting a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty with real verification mechanisms.

Lead an International Effort to End Nuclear Weapons Programs in North Korea and Iran

We must show real leadership and use all available resources to confront the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran. Yet for too long, the administration has allowed others to speak for us while North Korea has reportedly quadrupled its nuclear weapons materials and Iran has advanced its nuclear weapons capability. In North Korea, they will lead efforts to ease tensions and get the six party talks back on track, and will be willing to engage the North Koreans directly in order to bring about a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. In Iran, they will lead our allies in a comprehensive international effort that brings all available multilateral and bilateral resources to bear on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.

Create a Nuclear Whistleblower Initiative

This new Nuclear Whistleblower Initiative will ensure that any scientist who is willing to disclose an illicit weapons program will be given protection and a safe haven in the United States. In addition to strengthening existing programs to provide scientists who have worked on WMD programs with peaceful employment opportunities, this Initiative will help keep the knowledge to build nuclear weapons from becoming available to terrorists or dangerous states. Over time, they will work to expand international participation in this program to include many more countries and the United Nations (news - web sites).


Kerry and Edwards believe that America needs a new strategy for homeland security that takes steps as big as the threats we face. They will (1) improve security at our borders, seaports, and airports by working with our neighbors, improving detection equipment, and adopting tighter controls on air cargo; (2) launch a major effort to secure our most vulnerable critical infrastructure targets (such as chemical and nuclear plants), (3) improve coordination and information sharing, and (4) increase domestic readiness by making sure that our first- responders have the training and equipment to respond to any attack.

... Payvand News - 8/30/04 ... --

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