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George W. Bush on Homeland Security

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


FactCheck: Yes, there are more democracies now, but not Iraq

The President spoke of the growing number of nations in the world that live under democratic governments, saying, ?In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. We're writing a new chapter in the story of self-government" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President's numbers come from Freedom House, a nonprofit group that tracks levels of democracy and freedom around the globe. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. And we're writing a new chapter in the story of self-government -- with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom.

Source: 2006 State of the Union speech Feb 1, 2006

Support democratic reform across the broader Middle East

Our offense against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred & fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom & peaceful change. The US supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital, but they're only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Post-WWII world has grown from 24 lonely democracies to 122

In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. And we're writing a new chapter in the story of self-government -- with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom.
Source: 2006 State of the Union speech Jan 31, 2006

We are not going to have a draft

Q: How do you intend to maintain our military presence without reinstituting a draft?

A: We're not going to have a draft, period. The all-volunteer Army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well, it works when we make sure they've got housing, like we have done in the last military budgets. An all-volunteer Army is best-suited to fight the new wars of the 21st century, which is to be specialized and to find these people as they hide around the world. We don't need mass armies anymore. We're beginning to transform our military, and by that I mean we're moving troops out of Korea and replacing them with more effective weapons. So, the answer to your question is, we're withdrawing, not from the world, we're withdrawing manpower so they can be stationed here in America so there's less rotation so life is easier on their families and, therefore, more likely to be - we'll be more likely to be able to keep people in the all-volunteer Army.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

We've tripled the homeland security budget

KERRY: 95% of our containers coming into this country are not inspected today. When you get on an airplane, your bag is x-rayed but the cargo hold isn't x-rayed. Bush chose a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans over getting that equipment out into the homeland as fast as possible. We have bridges and tunnels that aren't being secured. Chemical plants, nuclear plants that aren't secured. Hospitals that are overcrowded with their emergency rooms. If we had a disaster today, could they handle it?

BUSH: We've tripled the homeland security budget from $10 to $30 billion. We'll do everything we can to protect the homeland. We need good intelligence. Right after 1993 he voted to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion.

KERRY: Pres. Bush just said to you that we've added money. The test is not if you've added money. The test is have you done everything possible to make America secure. He chose a tax cut for wealthy Americans over the things that I listed to you.

Source: [Xref kerry] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation

KERRY: Right now Bush is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. We're going to get the job of containing all of that nuclear material in Russia done in four years. And we're going to build the strongest international network to prevent nuclear proliferation.

BUSH: We've decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I've been the president. The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that's why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer. Over 60 nations involved with disrupting the trans-shipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Bush’s stated military service record is incorrect

Five months after the Globe first reported discrepancies [in Bush’s military service record], Bush’s biography on his presidential campaign Web site remains unchanged, stating that he served as a pilot in the Texas Guard from 1968 to 1973.

In fact, Bush only flew from June 1970 until April 1972. That month he ceased flying altogether, two years before his military commitment ended, an unusual step that has left some veteran fighter pilots puzzled.

A group of Vietnam veterans recently offered a $3,500 reward for anyone who can verify Bush’s claim that he performed service at a Montgomery air guard unit in 1972, when Bush was temporarily in Alabama working on a political campaign. So far, no one has come forward.

A Bush campaign spokesman acknowledged last week that he knows of no witnesses who can attest to Bush’s attendance at drills after he returned to Houston in late 1972 and before his early release from the Guard in September 1973.

Source: Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A14 Oct 31, 2000

AWOL in Air Guard? Maybe not, but didn’t meet obligations

There is strong evidence that Bush performed no military service, as was required, when he moved from Houston to Alabama to work on a US Senate campaign from May to November 1972. There are no records of any service and the commanding officer of the unit Bush was assigned to said he never saw him. Bush was suspended from flight duty for not taking his annual flight physical.

The Bush campaign’s initial explanation for the lapse “incomplete records,” it now admits, was wrong. An Air Reserve official said last week that they now believe that Bush met minimum drill requirements before his discharge.

The result is that Bush’s discharge was “honorable.” Other current and retired Air Force officers said Bush’s military records are much like those of countless other Guardsmen at the time: guardsmen who lost interest in their units, and commanders who found it easier to muster them out than hold them to a commitment many made to avoid Vietnam.

Source: Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A14 Oct 31, 2000

Opposed Somalia intervention when it became nation-building

Somalia started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price, and so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow a dictator when it’s in our best interests. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Be world’s peacemaker instead of world’s policeman

I want to rebuild our military to keep the peace. I want to have a strong hand when it comes to the US and world affairs. I don’t want to try to put our troops in all places at all times. I don’t want to be the world’s policeman. I want to be the world’s peacemaker by having a military of high morale and a military that’s well-equipped. I want to have antiballistic missile systems to protect ourselves and our allies from a rogue nation that may try to hold us hostage or blackmail a friend.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Rebuild military so it can fulfill mission to prevent war

I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening. And so I take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military. Morale in today’s military is low. We’re having trouble meeting recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we’re overextended in too many places. I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped; bonus plans to keep some of our high-skilled folks in the services; and a commander in chief who clearly sets the mission.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Bush says military not ready; Pentagon disagrees

Despite Pentagon assurances that all of the U.S. Army’s divisions are “fit to fight and ready to deploy,” Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush refused Friday to concede that the U.S. military is combat-ready. “No, I would not concede that necessarily. I’m amazed that they would put out a statement right after our convention” The U.S. Army said Friday that Bush was wrong when he said in his speech Thursday night to the Republican National Convention that two of the Army’s 10 divisions were not ready to fight. Bush had said: “If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ‘Not ready for duty, sir.’” But Maj. Thomas Collins, an Army spokesman, told CNN: “All 10 Army divisions are combat-ready, fully able to meet their war-fighting mission.”
Source: CNN.com Aug 4, 2000

Post-Vietnam: just cause; clear goal; overwhelming victory

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam. When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world -- to turn these years of influence into decades of peace. And my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail. Now is the time, not to defend outdated treaties, but to defend the American people.

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

Lowest possible number of nukes consistent with security

Bush proposed building a defensive system that would cover all 50 states and could be extended to protect allies in Europe, the Mideast & Asia. In addition to the possibility of large unilateral arms cuts, he said most American nuclear weapons should be removed from hair-trigger alert status. Bush said he wanted to reduce the size of the US nuclear arsenal to the “lowest possible number consistent with our national security” and below the levels called for under the Start II accord with Russia.
Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times May 28, 2000

Use arms to defend Europe, Far East, Mideast, & Panama

Q: When would you use arms?
A: When it’s in our national strategic interests. Europe is in our national strategic interests. The Far East is in our national strategic interests. Our own hemisphere is in our national strategic interests. The Middle East-protecting Israel is in our national strategic interests. If somebody tries to block passage through the Panama Canal, I would make sure it remains open for trade. It’s in our interests to have a hemisphere that is peaceful and open for trade
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show Feb 15, 2000

US military is key to preserving world peace

Outside of America’s borders the world is a freer and safer place [than when we grew up]. We must always remember the importance of a strong military, a strong United States of America, to preserve world peace.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M Univ. Apr 6, 1998


George W. Bush on Military Personnel

Increased military pay by 4% per year

The President is committed to taking good care of our military personnel and their families. His fiscal year 2004 budget builds on pay increases of 4% or more in the last two budgets. The budget funds a range of military pay increases from 2 to 6.25%, targeted by rank and years of service. These pay increases enhance our military's ability to retain its most experienced, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

$400M for renovating and improving military housing

In 2002 President Bush made sure that there was an additional $400 million made available to improve military housing. The 2004 budget keeps the Department of Defense on track in its plan to eliminate inadequate military housing. 163,000 inadequate housing units will be eliminated by 2007. The Bush Administration proposes to reduce average out-of-pocket expenses for military families living in local communities to zero by 2005. During 2003, such expenses will drop to 7.5% from 15.0% in 2001.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

Focus on mobility and swiftness, not size of military

We must extend our peace by advancing our technology. We are witnessing a revolution in the technology of war. Power is increasingly defined not by size, but by mobility and swiftness. Advantage increasingly comes from information, such as the three-dimensional images of simulated battle that I have just seen. Safety is gained in stealth and forces projected on the long arc of precision-guided weapons.

The best way to keep the peace is to redefine war on our terms. We have begun a comprehensive review of the US military, the state of our strategy, the structure of our forces, the priorities of our budget. I have given a broad mandate to challenge the status quo as we design a new architecture for the defense of America. We will modernize some existing weapons and equipment, a task we have neglected for too long, but we will do this judiciously and selectively. Our goal is to move beyond marginal improvements to harness new technologies that will support a new strategy.

Source: Speech at Joint Forces Command headquarters, Norfolk, VA Feb 14, 2001

Spend money on soldiers before sending them to hot spots

Q: What is the proper role for the military?

GORE: The US has to be strong in order to promote peace and stability. We need to make sure that our personnel are adequately paid and that their pay is comparable to the competition from the private sector. I have supported the largest pay raise in many a year. I support another one now. I also support modernization of our tactical weaponry. I think one of the ways we’ve been able to be so successful in Kosovo and other places is by having the technological edge. Now, readiness. I propose $100 billion for this purpose.

BUSH: We have an opportunity to use the great technology of the United States to make our military lighter, harder to find, more lethal. We have an opportunity to keep the peace. I’m going to ask the secretary of defense to develop a plan so we’re making sure we’re not spending our money on political projects, but on projects to make sure our soldiers are well-paid, well-housed and have the best equipment in the world.

Source: (X-ref Gore) St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Gays in military OK; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” OK

Q: Do you support the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military?

A: I support the current ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy crafted by General Colin Powell regarding homosexuals in the military. We are blessed and fortunate to have had so many men and women fight so valiantly for our liberties in America. I respect and admire anyone who has served in any branch of our military and put his or her life on the line for our freedom.

Source: Associated Press Sep 6, 2000

Better equipment, better training, and better pay

The world needs America’s strength and leadership, and America’s armed forces need better equipment, better training, and better pay. We will give our military the means to keep the peace, and we will give it one thing more: a commander-in-chief who respects our men and women in uniform, and a commander-in-chief who earns their respect.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

$1B more for salary; $20B more for R&D for new weapons

Saying we have “asked our servicemen and women to do too much with too little,” Bush today promoted his agenda for rebuilding America’s military by improving troop morale and investing in research and development. “Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, and rapidly declining readiness. I make this pledge to our men and women in arms: As President, I will preserve American power for American interests. And I will treat American soldiers with the dignity and respect they have earned.“