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Joseph Lieberman on Homeland Security

Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


The president has the right to act alone

Q: Bush said the other night in the State of the Union address, "I don't need a permission slip from the United Nations to defend the natural security interests of this country." Isn't that a legitimate position for a president of the US?

A: Yes, it is a legitimate position in the final analysis. Because in the end, if you still feel it is in the security interests of the US, as commander of chief, you will reserve the right to act alone to protect the security and freedom of the American people.

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

Unwavering support for our troops in battle

Q: You voted for the $87 billion for Iraq. Is this a blank check?

LIEBERMAN: It is not a blank check. I am the only person on this stage who has unwaveringly supported the removal of Saddam Hussein and our troops who are there carrying out that mission, which, yes, has made us a lot safer than we would be with Saddam in power. When it comes to supporting our troops in battle, I will never say no. Period. We owe them our lives and our liberties, and they deserve our unwavering support.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Intelligence system must be reformed

Q: Do you support the government's threat warning system?

A: What I'm concerned about is what's behind the Bush administration color-coded system. They have still not reformed our intelligence system as they should have. They have still not coordinated watch lists. I'm the only one on this stage who drafted the original homeland security bill. We have something to fear, but if we pull together with tough leadership, we can give the American people a sense of confidence about their security.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world

Q: How you could declare we are safer under your administration?

A: I'm the one, who together with a few other members of the Senate, wrote the homeland security bill, because we were disorganized before 9/11 and the terrorists took advantage of it. One of the ways you do it is not only to use American military to capture and/or kill Al Qaida, you win the larger battle for the hearts and minds of the great majority in the Muslim world who are living desperately poor lives in despotic countries.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Right-size the military with Servicemembers Bill of Rights

Lieberman said that he is hearing from veterans and military families who are angry about poor health care, lengthy deployments, and Pentagon attempts to cut benefits such as family separation allowances. President Bush's promise to the military that "help is on the way," has never materialized-instead, Lieberman said, the Bush administration has treated servicemembers with "arrogance."

Lieberman has his own "help" plan, a document he has dubbed the "Servicemembers and Veterans Bill of Rights." Lieberman said he will champion strong leadership, predictable deployments, competitive pay, family care, quality health care, no barriers to service, quality education, affordable housing and job opportunities. Among the senator's promises are to "right size" the military, rationalize rotations and make deployments more predictable. Lieberman said he has not yet formulated the details of his right-sizing plan, but that "I don't exclude the possibility of increasing the number of active-duty" Army.

Source: Stars and Stripes (military journal) Nov 14, 2003

Go back to the UN and negotiate about Iraq

Q: What would you do differently with the troops on the ground now?

A: But here we are today, we've got 135,000 Americans there. I would go back to the UN, and I would come off the Bush high horse and negotiate and turn over the civilian administration of Iraq to the UN and the Iraqis. I didn't support the war in Iraq so that America could control Iraq. I supported it to get rid of a homicidal maniac named Saddam Hussein and to let the Iraqis control Iraq.

Source: CNN "Rock The Vote" Democratic Debate Nov 5, 2003

Reform America's intelligence system post-9-11

Q: What will you do to improve intelligence gathering by US agencies?

A: In an age of terrorism having the best intelligence in the world is critically important. Our intelligence agencies failed us prior to Sept. 11th. I look forward to the Sept. 11 investigation commission's recommendations on how to improve our nation's intelligence gathering because reforming America's intelligence system will be a priority for me as president.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Prosecute War on Terror, even if unpopular

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

LIEBERMAN: I'm going to prosecute the war against terrorism and win it even if it's unpopular because that's here our future security rests.

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

9/11 requires strength abroad to provide security at home

KUCINICH [to Lieberman]: You and Dick Gephardt were two of the biggest supporters of President Bush's war against Iraq. You both endorsed his proposal for unilateral first strike. The president's ever-changing reasons for going to war have not been justified by the evidence. Now how can we as Democrats win this election if we simply rubber stamp this president's destabilizing foreign policy of preemption, and nuclear first-strike, without offering a serious alternative?

LIEBERMAN: I'd say how can we win this election if we send a message of weakness on defense and security after September 11, 2001? Protecting the American people's security, giving them a sense of safety, making sure people in this country are not worried when their loved ones go out to the mall, or take a train, go to a movie theater--that is the first goal of our government, and that means being strong on defense and homeland security.

Source: [X-ref from Kucinich] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

American military is best in the world; and has proven it

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: The US military is worse off today than it was eight years ago. A high priority will be to rebuild the US military, to give them the resources they need to do the job we ask them to do for us and to give them good leadership.

LIEBERMAN: I want to assure the American people that the American military is the best-trained, best-equipped, most powerful force in the world, and that Al Gore and I will do whatever it takes to keep them that way. It’s not right and it’s not good for our military to run them down, essentially, in the midst of a partisan political debate. And judging by its results, from Desert Storm to Kosovo, the American military has performed brilliantly.

CHENEY: The facts are dramatically different. I’m not attacking the military, Joe. I have enormous regard for the men and women of the US military. But it’s irresponsible to suggest that we should not have this debate in a presidential campaign.

Source: (X-ref Cheney) Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Skipping generation of equipment will destroy readiness

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: [The US has experienced a] reduction in our forces far beyond anything that was justified by the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we’ve seen a rapid expansion of our commitments around the world as troops have been sent hither and yon. We’re over-committed and we’re under-resourced. This has had some other unfortunate effects. As equipment gets old, it has to be replaced. And we’ve taken money out of the procurement budget to support other ventures; we have not been investing in the future of the US military.

LIEBERMAN: And the fact is that Governor Bush recommended in his major policy statement on the military earlier this year that we skip the next generation of military equipment: helicopters, submarines, tactical air fighters, all the rest. That would really cripple our readiness, exactly the readiness that Dick Cheney is talking about.

Source: Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Don’t alarm America - the military is ready

Q: How do you assess the military?

LIEBERMAN: Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, will tell you that the military is ready. If you look at our budget, we commit more than twice as much as Governor Bush. I don’t want the American people to feel insecure. We have met our recruitment targets in each of the services this year. In fact, in the areas where our opponents have said we are overextended, such as the Balkans, the soldiers there have the highest rate of reenlistment than anywhere else. This administration has begun to transform the military to prepare it to meet the threats of weapons of mass destruction, of ballistic missiles, of terrorism.

CHENEY: Everybody wearing the uniform is a volunteer. When we don’t give them leadership, we undermine morale. There is no more important responsibility for a president than his role as commander in chief, and his decision when to send our men and women to war. When we send them without the right kind of training, we put their lives at risk.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Work with Iraqi opposition to overthrow Saddam

Q: If Saddam Hussein were found to be developing weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would “Take him out.” Would you agree?

LIEBERMAN: It would be serious if we had evidence that Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. I don’t think a political campaign is the occasion to declare exactly what we would do. I think that’s a matter of such critical national security that it ought to be left to the commander in chief, the leaders of the military, the secretary of state. The Gulf War was a great victory. But the war did not end with a total victory. As a result, we have had almost 10 years of instability. There’s not going to be peace until he goes, and that’s why I was proud to co-sponsor the Iraq Liberation Act, why I have kept in touch with the Iraqi opposition. Vice President Gore met with them earlier this year. We will continue to support them until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days: get rid of a despot.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

More $ for weapons; including SDI recently

On national security issues, Lieberman has regularly voted against efforts to reduce the military budget and has supported submarines and aircraft built at least in part by the many military contractors in Connecticut. Until the Clinton administration took office, Lieberman favored cutting funds for the Star Wars missile defense system, but recently he was one of the first Democrats to endorse deployment of such a system as soon as it was technologically realistic.
Source: David E. Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 Aug 8, 2000

Supported use of force in Gulf War

Lieberman stood out in 1991, when he was one of only 10 Senate Democrats to vote to support President George Bush’s use of force against Iraq in the Gulf War -Gore also voted for that resolution.
Source: MSNBC.com Aug 7, 2000

Kuwait: Congressional authorization plus use of force

When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, I felt America’s post-Cold War commitment to national principles and international leadership was on the line. I was dismayed by the wide opposition among my fellow Democrats. To me, their position was wrong.

[At a Senate meeting in December 1990], I said, “I definitely think the President should come to Congress for authorization, but I want you to know that if he does, I will support him.”

Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p.128-9 May 2, 2000

Transform military for post-Cold War

I introduced legislation in 1996 to require the Pentagon to look beyond the near-time horizon, ten or twenty years into the future, to estimate what international dangers the US might have to deal with, and come back and tell us what we should be investing in now to be sure we will be ready then. The legislation resulted in pulling away from the so-called legacy weapons systems of the Cold War and investing in research & development that would produce higher-tech weapons for the next generations.
Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p.131 May 2, 2000

SDI is no longer science fiction

Dramatic strides in science and exponential advances in information systems make military capabilities that seemed fantastic just a few years ago not only possible but even probable. In fact, with the increasing speed and range of precision munitions, and with our growing ability to make decisions based on unerring near real time information, it is not science fiction to expect to protect ourselves from missile attacks.
Source: Speech to U.S. Army Conference on Strategic Responsiveness Nov 2, 1999

More R&D & better development for future army

We must now adopt bold change as our policy and move with a greater sense of urgency to achieve [a military for the 21st century]. I want to talk about a few of those elements that I think are particularly important. The first is achieving a shared vision of the future and deciding what we want our military to be able to do. Next is acting quickly and authoritatively to decide which weapons, organizations, and concepts will advance our military effectiveness, and then adopting policies that incentivize innovation and processes and resource priorities that facilitate change. And the third is increasing the priority of R&D and overhauling the R&D process to build a better foundation for future capability.

We must make two reforms a high priority. First, we should refine Joint Vision 2010 and accelerate its implementation. Second, we must modify our process for developing military requirements.

Source: Speech to U.S. Army Conference on Strategic Responsiveness Nov 2, 1999

Supported Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

[The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty] promises to freeze our advantage in nuclear weapons. Since we are the strongest nation in history, why would we not want to take the risk of ratifying this treaty? It is a very small risk for increasing peace and security for all -- for our children, for our grandchildren. If we decide that testing is once again required by the US in pursuit of our national interests, that option is protected. The treaty language is very clear. We can -- and I am sure we will -- withdraw.
Source: Senate statement on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Oct 12, 1999

Deploy limited SDI to defend against rogue states

I support development and deployment of a limited national missile defense. Few if any of our duties surpass our obligation to provide for the common defense of our nation. In the very near future, erratic leaders of rogue regimes will control ballistic missiles, that can reach our national territory. Equally frightening, criminal or insurgent elements from countries in turmoil could also soon have access to those weapons. The threat is real, and it is current.
Source: Senate statement, “National Missile Defense” Mar 15, 1999

Nuclear retaliation won’t stop rogue missile attacks

We face a real and growing threat that cannot be countered by our conventional forces and which will not be deterred by the threat of retaliation. Deterrence requires rationality. By definition, accidental, unauthorized, or rogue acts are not the acts of a rational person and cannot be reliably deterred. Thus, they must be endured or defended against. [The 1999 SDI bill] will not help defend against clandestine delivery, but it will begin to defend against a limited attack from rogue states.
Source: Senate statement, “National Missile Defense” Mar 15, 1999

Voted against military pay increase

Source: Vote-smart.org “Voting Record” Feb 24, 1999

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 YES 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 NO 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

Voted YES on deploying missile defense as soon as possible.

Vote to limit further debate and proceed to a bill that would require the U.S. to deploy as soon as possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending against a limited ballistic missile attack.
Bill S 1873 ; vote number 1998-262 on Sep 9, 1998

Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex basic training.

Byrd Amdt (D-WV) that would prohibit same-sex military barracks and basic training.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)39; N)53; NV)8
Reference: Byrd Amdt #3011; Bill S. 2057 ; vote number 1998-180 on Jun 25, 1998

Voted NO on favoring 36 vetoed military projects.

Overturning line-item vetoes of 36 military projects vetoed by President Clinton.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)30; NV)1
Reference: Line Item Veto Cancellation bill; Bill S. 1292 ; vote number 1997-287 on Oct 30, 1997

Voted YES on banning chemical weapons.

Approval of the chemical weapons ban.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Agreed to Y)74; N)26
Reference: Resolution of ratification of the Chemical (Comprehensive) Weapons (Convention) Ban; Bill S. Res. 75 ; vote number 1997-51 on Apr 24, 1997

Voted NO on considering deploying NMD, and amending ABM Treaty.

Vote to consider establishing a policy requiring the deployment of a national missile defense system by the end of 2003. The bill would also urge discussions with Russia to amend the ABM Treaty to allow deployment of the system.
Bill S 1635 ; vote number 1996-157 on Jun 4, 1996

Voted YES on 1996 Defense Appropriations.

Approval of the 1996 Defense Appropriations bill.
Status: Bill Passed Y)62; N)35; NV)3
Reference: Defense Approps Bill FY 96; Bill S. 1087 ; vote number 1995-397 on Sep 5, 1995

Rated 10% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

Lieberman scores 10% 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 Pentagon’s 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

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Joseph Lieberman on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts