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John Thune on War & Peace

Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (SD-AL)


Finishing the job means setting up a democracy in Iraq

Q: What is finishing the job in Iraq?

A: It means getting to where we have a democracy set up in Iraq, where we have free elections, where we have an Iraqi army that is trained and prepared to defend itself. General Petras is working on that on a daily basis and the Iraqis are stepping up, they are providing for more of their security, but thereís more that needs to be done. The Americans over there right now need to be the reinforcers, not the enforcers.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press Sep 19, 2004

Support sending more American troops to Iraq if necessary

Q: If finishing the job in Iraq means sending more American troops, would you support that?

A: We have to rely on our military leadership. General Abizaid, General Casey, the people who are going to be making those recommendations to the president, if they call for more troops, the president will step forward and we have to support that. Itís important right now for us as a nation to show resolve, to be decisive and to finish the job and win the war on terror.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press Sep 19, 2004

Iraq is a part of the broader war on terror

Q: Republican Chuck Hagel said, ďThe worst thing we can do is hold ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that weíre winning. Right now, we are not winning. Things are getting worse.Ē Do you agree?

A: I donít agree with that. Iraq is a part of the broader war on terror. It is a war that we have to win. Obviously the question before the House is: What will we do differently? I donít think thereís an answer to that question thatís been offered. Itís to create an interim government, move to free elections, ratify a constitution, train an Iraqi army. Those steps are being taken. This is going to be a tough job and nobody said otherwise. We knew going in that this was going to be a tough part of the world that we were going to have to fight, weíre going to have to make sure that we create a democratic system there, that people in Iraq have freedom and we have to finish the job. This is not a time to cut and run, but to show resolve and the international community is responding.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press Sep 19, 2004

We have to stay resolute or the terrorists will prevail

Q: Intelligence agencies reported that ďthe most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.Ē Thatís very bleak, and you advise to simply stay the course. Is that the policy of the Republicans?

A: The policy thatís been laid out by Bush is one of, you know, creating an interim government and Prime Minister Allawi is going to be here. Heís going to be meeting with the White House at the UN, and the message heís going to deliver is that we are making progress. But this is tough work. This is not going to be easy. These are terrorists. These are people who think nothing of butchering and slaughtering their own people. The US, as the leader of the Free World, has to stay strong. We have to stay resolute. We need to finish the job. If we donít, the terrorists are going to prevail and that spells disaster for the people of the US and for our national security as we move forward from here.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press Sep 19, 2004

Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months.

Vote to transition the missions of US Forces in Iraq to a more limited set of missions as specified by the President on September 13, 2007: S.AMDT.3875 amends S.AMDT.3874 and underlying bill H.R.2764:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"

  1. Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
  2. Training Iraqi security forces
  3. Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since [2003]. Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.

"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.

"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."

Reference: Safe Redeployment Of US Troops From Iraq Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.3875 to H.R.2764 ; vote number 2007-437 on Dec 18, 2007

Voted YES on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.

Vote on a "Sense of the Senate" amendment, S.Amdt. 3017, to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act), that finds:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text]. That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.

Reference: Sense of the Senate on Iran; Bill S.Amdt. 3017 to H.R. 1585 ; vote number 2007-349 on Sep 26, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

Begins the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all US combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.

Reference: US Policy in Iraq Resolution; Bill S.J.Res.9 ; vote number 2007-075 on Mar 15, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.

Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
  1. The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
  2. The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
  3. Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Reference: Kerry Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act; Bill S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766 ; vote number 2006-181 on Jun 22, 2006

Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.

To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reference: Committee to Investigate War Contracts; Bill S Amdt 2476 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-316 on Nov 10, 2005

Voted YES on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding.

Amendment to express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A YES vote would:
Reference: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act; Bill S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268 ; vote number 2005-96 on Apr 20, 2005

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Support the completion of the US mission in Iraq.

Thune co-sponsored supporting the completion of the US mission in Iraq

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq and all United States personnel under his command should receive from Congress the full support necessary to carry out the United States mission in Iraq. Expresses the sense of the Senate that:

  1. Congress should ensure that General David Petraeus have the necessary resources to carry out their mission in Iraq; and
  2. the government of Iraq must make visible progress toward meeting the political, economic, and military benchmarks enumerated in this Resolution.
Source: S.RES.70 & H.RES.150 2007-SR70 on Feb 5, 2007

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Thune signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
    States that it should be US policy to:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on War & Peace: John Thune on other issues:
SD Gubernatorial:
Dennis Daugaard
SD Senatorial:
Tim Johnson

Dem. Freshmen
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MN-8:Chip Cravaack
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MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
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NC-2:Renee Ellmers
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PA-10:Tom Marino
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SC-1:Tim Scott
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Page last updated: Mar 10, 2011