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John Edwards on Homeland Security

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator


FactCheck: Bush didn't lobby for pay cut, just let it expire

EDWARDS: They sent 40,000 American troops into Iraq without the body armor they needed. They sent them without the armored vehicles they needed. While they were on the ground fighting, they lobbied the Congress to cut their combat pay. This is the height of hypocrisy.

FACT CHECK: In fact the White House never supported a plan to cut the combat pay of troops in Iraq. Rather, the Defense Department proposed allowing a temporary pay increase for all troops worldwide (even those not in Iraq or Afghanistan) to expire, and promised to maintain current pay levels for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with separate pay raises if necessary. A Pentagon budget assessment sent to Congress in July called for letting a temporary combat pay raise enacted earlier that year for troops worldwide expire at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The result would have been a cut of $75 a month in "imminent danger pay" and $150 a month in "family separation allowances."

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

Attention to bin Laden was diverted because of Iraq

When we had Osama bin Laden cornered, the Bush administration left the job to the Afghan warlords. They then diverted their attention from the very people who attacked us, who were at the center of the war on terror, and so Osama bin Laden is still at large. Cheney made mention of this global test. What Kerry said: We will find terrorists where they are and kill them before they ever do harm to the American people, first. Kerry also said very clearly that he will never give any country veto power over the security of the US. Regardless of this rosy scenario that they paint on Afghanistan, just like they do with Iraq, Afghanistan is now providing 75% of the world's opium. Not only are they providing 75% of the world's opium, large-cut parts of the country are under the control of drug lords and warlords. Big parts of the country are still insecure. The part of Afghanistan, eastern Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is, is one of the hardest places to control and the most insecure.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

No connection between the attacks of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein

There is no connection between the attacks of 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 Commission has said it. Colin Powell has said it. And Cheney has gone around the country suggesting that there is some connection. There is not. And in fact the CIA is now about to report that the connection between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein is tenuous at best. And, in fact, the secretary of defense said yesterday that he knows of no hard evidence of the connection. We need to be straight with the American people.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Important things haven't been done to make America safe

3 years after 9/11, we find out that the Bush administration still does not have a unified terrorist watch list. What are we waiting for? We still don't have one list that everyone can work off of to see if terrorists are entering this country. We're screening our passengers going onto airplanes, but we don't screen the cargo. You have to be strong and aggressive. But we also have to be smart. And there are things that have not been done that need to be done to keep the American people safe.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Bush opposed a 9/11 commission and a Homeland Security Dept

EDWARDS: If we want to do the things that need to be done to keep this country safe, we can't be dragged kicking and screaming to it. What's happened is the Bush administration opposed the creation of a 9/11 Commission to find out why it happened and what we needed to do. They opposed the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, and then they were for it. We can't react that way. We must be more aggressive.

CHENEY: We know Zarqawi is still in Baghdad today. He is responsible for most of the major car bombings that have killed or maimed thousands of people. He's the one you will see on the evening news beheading hostages. He is, without question, a bad guy. He is, without question, a terrorist. He was, in fact, in Baghdad before the war, and he's in Baghdad now after the war. The fact of the matter is that this is exactly the kind of track record we've seen over the years. We have to deal with Zarqawi by taking him out, and that's exactly what we'll do.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

We weren't attacked by Saddam Hussein

CHENEY: I feel very strongly that the significance of 9/11 cannot be underestimated. It forces us to think in new ways about strategy, about national security, about how we structure our forces and about how we use US military power. Some people say we should wait until we are attacked before we use force. I would argue we've already been attacked. We lost more people on 9/11 than we lost at Pearl Harbor. And I'm a very strong advocate of a very aggressive policy of going after the terrorists and those who support terror.

EDWARDS: We were attacked. But we weren't attacked by Saddam Hussein. The reality is that the best defense is a good offense, which means leading America returning to its proud tradition of the last 75 years, of once again leading strong coalitions so we can get at these terrorist cells where they are, before they can do damage to us and to the American people. We made clear that we will do that, and we will do it aggressively.

Source: [Xref Cheney] Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

It is wrong to say that electing Kerry will cause terrorism

What he said to the American people was that if you go to the polls in November and elect anyone other than us, and another terrorist attack occurs, then it's your fault. This is un-American. The truth is that it proves once again that they will do anything and say anything to keep their jobs. A Kerry administration will keep the American people safe, and we will not divide the country to do it.
Source: CNN.com Sep 7, 2004

Cast a global net for terrorists

Al Qaeda alone is known to operate in more than 60 countries. We need the cooperation of intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world to cast a global net for terrorists, infiltrate their cells, learn their plans, cut off their funds, and stop them before they can attack. We will strengthen the effectiveness of intelligence and law enforcement efforts around the world by forging stronger international coalitions and enhancing cooperative relationships.
Source: [X-ref Kerry] Our Plan For America , p.225 Aug 10, 2004

Improve intelligence capabilities to counter terrorism

We can more effectively prevent another terrorist attack by: restoring the credibility of our intelligence community by ensuring the basic integrity of the intelligence process. We will make certain that our intelligence agencies are protected from political pressures and operate in a culture of diversity of thought, dissent, and forceful challenging of assumptions; strengthening accountability & leadership by creating a true Director of National Intelligence with the authority to manage & direct all of the components of the intelligence community; maximizing coordination and integration by structuring around key threats like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and hostile countries; transforming our intelligence services to ensure that they have sufficient personnel with the skills, languages, training, & orientation needed to meet today's threats. We will make sure that the FBI is fully prepared to perform counter-terrorism intelligence operations and strengthen our capabilities overseas.
Source: [X-ref Kerry] Our Plan For America , p. 13 Aug 10, 2004

Cut off terrorists funds

Terrorists need money to operate. We will: impose tough financial sanctions against nations or banks that engage in money laundering or fail to act against it; launch a "name and shame" campaign against those financing terror, and shut out of the US financial system those nations that fail to respond, end Bush's kid-glove approach to the supply & laundering of terrorist money in Saudi Arabia, and demand Riyadh shut down Saudi-based "charities" that help finance al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.
Source: [X-ref Kerry] Our Plan For America , p. 14 Aug 10, 2004

Prevent Afghanistan & others from becoming terrorist havens

Our drive to topple the Taliban regime convincingly demonstrated the courage and skill of our troops, the value of powerful new technologies, and the particular importance of Special Forces units in defeating unconventional enemies. Unfortunately, we have not followed with a plan or the commitment to win the peace. Bush has all but turned away from Afghanistan, allowing it to become a forgotten front in the war on terror and once again a potential breeding ground for terrorists.
Source: [X-ref Kerry] Our Plan For America , p. 15 Aug 10, 2004

Individual Ready Reserve call-up is used as a backdoor draft

The vast majority of the Army's active duty combat divisions are committed to Iraq, either currently there, preparing to go, or recently returned. We've called up our Guard and Reserves at historic levels. Some have been on the ground in Iraq for as many as 15 months - much longer than was promised. And many of these units are stretched far too thin. Bush's answer has just been to stretch further. They are effectively using a stop-loss policy and the Individual Ready Reserve call-up as a back-door draft.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 18 Aug 10, 2004

Expand active duty and Army's forces to security peace

We will expand America's active duty forces by 40,000; double the Army's Special Forces capability within 4 years, while adding a special operations helicopter squadron to the Air Force; increase by 50 percent the number of civil affairs troops trained in the special responsibilities of reconstruction; increase our military police, because order is critical to establishing the conditions that allow peace to take hold; and add 500 "psychological operations" personnel and augment their language training.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 19 Aug 10, 2004

Offer a military modernization plan for the troops

We offer a military modernization plan that will create more fully modernized "digital divisions," equipped with the latest communications technology crucial to future military success; create new "anti-proliferation" units trained and equipped to find and destroy nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and to secure the facilities that produce them; and provide full support for education and training for our troops, including on how to deal effectively with culturally diverse civilian populations.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 19 Aug 10, 2004

Ensure Americans in uniform receive benefits they deserve

We will enact a Military Family Bill of Rights that includes a commitment to full, mandatory funding of veterans' health care; a commitment to competitive pay for service members, including special compensations for those in combat zones; up-to-date and accurate notice to military families about deployments and rotations that send troops away from home or back home; financial help for families affected by extended deployments; a guarantee of adequate housing for military families, beginning with the accelerated construction by private developers of new housing on or near military bases; full access for all military personnel, whether active duty, National Guard, or Reserves, to TRICARE; full funding for Department of Defense schools serving military families, which Bush has sought to cut; a new $250,000 gratuity for families of service members killed in a combat zone; and doubling the period during which families of service members killed in action can continue to live in military housing.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 21 Aug 10, 2004

Ensure Americans in uniform receive benefits they deserve

accelerated construction by private developers of new housing on or near military bases; full access for all military personnel, whether active duty, National Guard, or Reserves, to TRICARE; full funding for Department of Defense schools serving military families, which Bush has sought to cut; a new $250,000 gratuity for families of service members killed in a combat zone; and doubling the period during which families of service members killed in action can continue to live in military housing.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 21 Aug 10, 2004

Make better use of the National Guard

We need to make better use of what should be a key asset in homeland defense - our National Guard. The National Guard has served in every war, and they are serving now. They were the first ones called on to line city streets, guard bridges, and patrol our airports after September 11th. We will make homeland security one of their primary missions, and assign Guard units to a standing national task force on homeland security commanded by a National Guard general.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 23 Aug 10, 2004

Keep our promises to American veterans

There are countless veterans who fought our wars who are now fighting year after year for the benefits they earned. Bush refuses to fully fund veterans' health care. While boasting of cutting waitlists for VA health care, the Bush administration has done so by excluding nearly 500,000 veterans from enrolling. Bush has strongly opposed granting our nation's veterans full disability and retirement pay. We will end the game of playing politics with funding for veterans health care by making it mandatory. We will end the "disabled veterans tax," under which military retirees who receive both veteran's pensions and disability compensation must surrender a dollar from their military retirement pay for every dollar they get for military compensation. America deserves a commander-in-chief who will fight for a constant standard of decency and respect for those who serve their country in our armed forces-on active duty and as veterans. It should be no other way and in our administration, it will be no other way
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 22 Aug 10, 2004

We must and we will treat our veterans better

The real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our values. The 26 million veterans in this country will not have to wonder when we're in office whether they'll have health care next week or next year. We will take care of them because they have taken care of us. We will invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best prepared in the world. This will make our military stronger.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Secure Russian loose nukes from getting to rogue nations

We have got to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. With our credibility restored, we can work with other nations to secure stockpiles of the world's most dangerous weapons and safeguard this extraordinarily dangerous material. We can secure the loose nukes in Russia. We can close the loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows rogue nations access to the tools they need to develop these weapons. That's how we can keep you safe.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

We are not as safe as we can be

Q: A majority of Americans thought that because of the administration policy on Iraq, the chance of a terrorist attack had grown. Do you agree with that?

A: When you're evaluating what the effect has been of the Bush administration, you can't look at Iraq in isolation, because Iraq acts in concert with what's happening in Afghanistan, what's happening with the war on terrorism in general, what's happening with the deterioration of our relationships around the world, all those things go together in order to evaluate what the impact is. I do not believe we are as safe as we can be, that's what I believe.

Source: New York Times, "Bad Iraq Intelligence Cost Lives" Jul 11, 2004

Protect our country without sacrificing rights and freedoms

We must protect our country, but we cannot sacrifice the rights and freedoms that define America. We have a right to self-defense, but we must always recognize the larger framework of international law when we make decisions about defending ourselves.
Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Mar 3, 2004

Independent commission needed to look at intelligence flaws

Q: Did you believe National Intelligence Estimate when you saw it?

A: I think it is not for the Bush administration to get to the bottom of this. It's actually not for the Congress to get to the bottom of this. The American people, we, need to get to the bottom of this, with an independent commission that looks at -- that will have credibility and that the American people will trust, about why there is this discrepancy about what we were told and what's actually been found there.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC Jan 29, 2004

Reduce $9B spending on missile defense

[I support] reducing the more than $9 billion we are spending each year to build a missile defense system that so far has succeeded in shooting down only one thing-the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. While we need to maintain deterrence and keep a strong defense, it doesn't make sense to spend nine times as much on one program that might work some day than we spend on all the other programs that do work today to protect our citizens from weapons of mass destruction.
Source: Campaign speech in Des Moines Iowa Dec 15, 2003

FBI failing to go after terrorist cells in America

Q: What about the terrorist cells all over America today?

A: If we don't aggressively go after those cells, which in my judgment means taking that responsibility away from the FBI-- because we know that they're structurally incapable of doing it because of what we've seen happen in the past, the failures that existed before 9/11. They're a law enforcement agency. They're not in the business of fighting terrorism, and we've seen the problems that exist as a result.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

Protect civil rights from Ashcroft, even if unpopular

Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?

EDWARDS: I know the American people are worried about their safety and security. But we can't ever forget what it is we're supposed to be fighting for. And in this effort to protect ourselves and fight our war on terrorism, we cannot allow people like John Ashcroft to take away our rights, our freedom and our liberties. Those things are under assault. After September 11th, it's much harder to stand up for those things.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Americans are safer at home when we are respected abroad

A Strong America. Edwards believes that American families are safer at home when we are respected abroad. He will lead by working with our closest allies to solve the world's toughest problems. He will create a global coalition to fight terrorism and combat weapons of mass destruction, promote democracy and freedom, and revitalize international institutions that make America stronger.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

Supports a new homeland intelligence agency, with safeguards

An America that is Safer and More Free. To track down terrorists within our borders, Edwards supports a new homeland intelligence agency. To protect basic freedoms that this administration has undercut, he will establish strong safeguards for our liberties that are missing today.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

Voted YES on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would ban nuclear weapons testing six months after ratification by the 44 nations that have nuclear power plants or nucelar research reactors.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Rejected Y)48; N)51; P)1
Reference: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Bill Treaty Document #105-28 ; vote number 1999-325 on Oct 13, 1999

Voted NO on allowing another round of military base closures.

Vote on an amendment to allow one round of military base closures beginning in 2001 as determined by an independent panel.
Bill S.1059 ; vote number 1999-147 on May 26, 1999

Voted NO on cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.

The Kerrey (D-NE) amdt would strike bill language requiring that U.S. strategic nuclear forces remain at START I levels through the end of fiscal 2000 unless Russia ratified START II.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)56; N)44
Reference: Motion to table Kerrey Amdt #395; Bill S. 1059 ; vote number 1999-149 on May 26, 1999

Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP.

Vote that the policy of the US is to deploy a National Missile Defense system capable of defending against limited ballistic missile attack as soon as it is technologically possible, and to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces.
Bill S 257 ; vote number 1999-51 on Mar 17, 1999

Voted YES on military pay raise of 4.8%.

Vote to pass a bill to authorize a military pay raise of 4.8% in 2000 and annual pay increases through 2006 of 0.5% above the inflation rate. The bill would also provide additional incentives to certain enlisted personnel who remain on active duty.
Bill S.4 ; vote number 1999-26 on Feb 24, 1999

Federalize aviation security.

Edwards sponsored the Aviation Security Act

H.R. 2951 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 107-71.
Source: Bill sponsored by 31 Senators and 25 Reps 01-S1447 on Sep 21, 2001

Rated 40% by SANE, indicating a mixed record on military issues.

Edwards scores 40% by SANE on peace issues

Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...

As the Pentagonís budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers. At Peace Action our priorities are clear.

The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: SANE website 03n-SANE on Dec 31, 2003

Hiding sources made post-9-11 analysis impossible.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC2 on May 8, 2004

CIA depends too heavily on defectors & not enough on HUMINT.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC8 on May 8, 2004

Administration did not pressure CIA on WMD conclusions.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC9 on May 8, 2004

Other candidates on Homeland Security: John Edwards on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
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Michael Peroutka

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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts