Ralph Nader on Homeland Security

2008 Independent for for President; 2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green nominee

A wasteful defense is a weak defense

People don't like Pentagon waste, a bloated military budget, all the reports in the press and in the GAO reports. A wasteful defense is a weak defense. It takes away taxpayer money that can go to the necessities of the American people. That's off the table to Obama and Clinton and McCain.

An independent military analyst wrote an article the other day saying there's no debate on the bloated military budget, on how best to defend this country without breaking the federal budget and putting huge deficits on the backs of our children and their grandchildren. We need to shift the power from the few to the many. And always in American history, every social justice movement was a shift of power from the few to the many. Maybe the slogan should be "Power to the babies."

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 "Meet the Candidates" series Feb 24, 2008

Hold Bush accountable for torture & illegal war

[Barack Obama] offers nothing to hold this outlaw presidency accountable. He's backing away from any kind of accountability for a presidency that has made a mockery of the constitution, made a mockery of federal law and international treaties, whether it's systemic torture and illegal war in Iraq, spying on Americans without judicial approval or undermining the authority of Congress, which he's a part of.
Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Feb 3, 2008

Solving Palestinian-Israeli conflict would reduce terrorism

Q: Briefly describe Nader's position on Middle East Policy, including Israel.

A: Ralph Nader spoke out vigorously against Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon and US support for it. Nader said, "The greatest move toward national security in our country and in the so-called effort against terrorism would be to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The majority of both people would like a two-state solution. This is an eminently resolvable conflict. But as long as the US basically says to whoever is in charge, 'You can do whatever you want over there, and we'll still pump $3 - $4 billion and cluster bomb weapons, etc.,' there's not going to be a resolution. As long as there's no resolution, there's going to be an inflammation increasing all over the Islamic world, and our national security will be compromised."

Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire Feb 3, 2008

End secret detentions & restore civil liberties

Q: Briefly describe Nader's position on Civil Rights.

A: Ralph Nader "supports the restoration of civil liberties, repeal of the Patriot Act, and an end to secret detentions, arrests without charges, no access to attorneys and the use of secret 'evidence,' military tribunals for civilians, non-combatant status and the shredding of 'probable cause' determinations." 14

Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire Feb 3, 2008

Bush should apologize for failing our troops

On Nov. 1, 2006, Sen. Kerry apologized for a "botched joke" but noted that he meant no disrespect to members of the armed forces. The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war, and for a bushel basket full of reasons.
  1. Failure to provide adequate body armor and truck armor in a timely fashion.
  2. Failure to accurately report casualties.
  3. Failure to provide sufficient troop strength in Iraq
  4. Failure to provide troops in Iraq with safe drinking water.
  5. Failing to care for returning troops.
  6. Failure to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  7. Failure to protect soldiers and veterans from off-base scams.
  8. Failure to adequately pay troops when abroad and when injured.
These inexcusable, contemptuous indifferences to the well-being of the soldiers, combined with the rush to wage an unnecessary, immoral and illegal war, should compel George W. Bush and Dick Cheney not only to apologize, but to resign.
Source: Open letter by Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese Nov 2, 2006

Repeal the Patriot Act; end secret detentions

Civil liberties and due process of law are eroding due to the "war on terrorism" and new technology that allows easy invasion of privacy. Americans of Arab descent and Muslim-Americans are feeling the brunt of these dragnet, arbitrary practices. Nader supports the restoration of civil liberties, repeal of the Patriot Act, and an end to secret detentions, arrests without charges, no access to attorneys and the use of secret "evidence," military tribunals for civilians, non-combatant status and the shredding of "probable cause" determinations. They represent a perilous diminishment of judicial authority in favor of concentrated power in the executive branch. Sloppy law enforcement, dragnet practices are wasteful and reduce the likelihood of apprehending violent criminals. Nader seeks to expand civil liberties to include basic human rights in employment and truly equal rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion.
Source: Campaign website, VoteNader.org Nov 11, 2004

Weapons corporations indirectly control tax dollars

The states and cities are reporting deeper deficits. This year, the states will be over $60 billion in the red. Taxes & tolls are going up. Necessities are being cut-outlays for schools, libraries, fire and police departments, sanitation department, child welfare, health care & services for elderly people. But there are hundreds of billions for Soviet-era type weapons driven by the weapons corporations & their campaign cash for key members of Congress who decide the distortions of your tax dollars.
Source: In the Public Interest, "Overspending on the Military" Jan 17, 2003

Bush attacks civil liberties while saying he defends them

[After 9/11], the Bush Administration confronted the age-old balance between national security and civil liberties by coming down hard on the latter. But by deed, not by rhetoric. In their statements, President Bush and his Cabinet spoke the language of freedom and liberty, which they said the terrorists and their backers attacked on September 11. They are attacking, the President declared again and again, our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, and our freedom to disagree. But in a remarkable In the weeks after 9/11, expressions of political dissent or the need for tolerance were frowned upon, condemned, or excluded from radio and television. People were shouted down at public gatherings, summarily cut off on TV shows, fired from their jobs. contrast between words and deeds, even for Bush, the government responded with both the most restrictive single law on our civil liberties since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 798 and, by creating a climate of repression, chilling dissent.

Source: Crashing the Party, by Ralph Nader, p. xi-xiv Oct 9, 2002

Cut defense budget by $62B by reducing waste & fraud

Nader suggested that the US military could be cut by $62 billion without unduly harming national security. The $62 billion figure was based on an estimate by a Reagan administration assistant defense secretary. "An effort to cut waste, fraud and redundancy from the military budget is long overdue," said Nader. "Instead Al Gore and George W. Bush are competing to curry favor of the defense contractors, each arguing that they will commit more dollars to the military than the other."
Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p.252-3 Sep 1, 2002

Corporate welfare: taxpayers fund defense industry mergers

No government agency is cozier with industry than the Department of Defense, and corporate welfare is pervasive at the agency famous for cost overruns, waste, fraud, and abuse. Among the most galling of Defense Department corporate welfare handouts is the Pentagon’s merger subsidy program, which pays defense contractors to merge, lessening competition for government bids and increasing the lobbying power of newly combined defense megafirms.

The Pentagon subsidy plan began in the 1990s, when it decided to encourage consolidation in the defense sector. The industry asked for and won encouragement in the form of payments to cover the costs of consolidation-including extravagant “golden parachute” bonuses to executives.

Levels of industry concentration in the defense sector are now so high that the antitrust authorities are beginning to intervene to block some new mergers among primary contractors. But other defense mergers continue to proceed-with the help of the US taxpayer.

Source: Cutting Corporate Welfare, p. 21-22 Oct 9, 2000

Deter wars by being attuned abroad

Q: When would you send our young people into harm’s way?

NADER: When our essential security interests and the safety of the American people is at stake.

Q: Does that mean we would have to be on the verge of an invasion of an outside force?

NADER: No. For example, looking backward, there were ways to have deterred the Japanese; there are ways to signal to the Germans. Historians have shown that. We have just got to be more rigorously attuned to that.

Source: Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe, page D1 Oct 8, 2000

Kill F-22, Seawolf, Osprey, & other gold-plated weapons

Q: The Green Party proposes cutting the defense budget in half. What programs would you cut to reduce spending by $150 billion?

A: One, bring back the troops from Western Europe and East Asia, 55 years after World War II, who are defending prosperous allies who can defend themselves against non-existent enemies. That’s $70 billion right there. Take out of the pipeline those gold-plated weapons systems that ex-admirals and generals have opposed, including some Pentagon analysts who’ve told me that they’re not strategically needed, the F-22, the Joint Strike Fighter, another bunch of Seawolf submarines, the Osprey fighter, which has killed 34 Marines. So you streamline the procurement budget. You know, there are a lot of former Pentagon officials who are not working in the defense industry who really know what needs to be done for a lean, effective military defense driven by defense considerations, not by the profit procurement demands of Lockheed Martin & General Dynamics and other corporations.

Source: Nader-Buchanan debate on ‘Meet the Press’ Oct 1, 2000

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is discriminatory against gays

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

A: No I do not. The current system is discriminatory against homosexuals who wish to serve their country. All members of our society should have equal rights and responsibilities. Gays have served in all military branches in numerous foreign countries and, truth be told, have given their lives serving in the U.S. armed services throughout American history.“

Source: Associated Press Sep 6, 2000

SDI doesn’t work; money better spent elsewhere

Q: I assume you’re against SDI?

A: Well, it doesn’t work, even according to the physics community. Gen. MacArthur warned against looking for enemies. [An enemy] could bring a nuclear bomb in a suitcase -- so what are we gonna do, have a $500 billion suitcase defense system? We have far more serious needs -- with billions spent on arms instead of spending pennies to protect children’s health.

Source: National Public Radio, “The Connection” Jul 11, 2000

Stop using weapons sales to determine foreign policy

Much of our foreign policy is driven by insatiable corporate pressures to sell military hardware to both the Defense Department and directly to foreign dictators. This happens even if it goes against the interests of our country, taxpayers and the principle of prudently allocated public budgets.
Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech Jun 25, 2000

Stop spending on unneeded weapons & non-existent enemies

Fifty years after World War II, tens of thousands of our troops are still in Europe and East Asia, defending prosperous nation allies who are fully capable of defending themselves against non-existent enemies. Yet, useless massive weapons systems remain on the drawing boards to further mortgage our fiscal future and drain money and talent from long overdue civilian projects.
Source: Nomination Acceptance Speech Jun 25, 2000

Cut defense budget by $100B; time to demobilize

Q: The Green Party platform says about defense spending: “We strive to cut the defense budget by 50% by the year 2000, from approximately $300 billion -- aggregate spending -- in 1996.” Is this your position?
A: Not that much. But [even former Reagan officials say the] defense budget can be cut by $100 billion. Look, our traditional adversaries are no more. Soviet Union is gone. Historically, we demobilized after our enemies have disappeared or have been conquered. We’re not doing that now. We have F-22s, tens of billions of dollars. Analysts in the Pentagon are opposed to it. B-2 bombers forced down the Pentagon’s throat while the global infectious disease efforts of the Pentagon, a great story, is starved for its budget.
Source: Interview on ‘Meet the Press’ May 7, 2000

Stop unneeded defense of prosperous countries

Q: How would you cut the Defense budget by a third?
A: First, bring back some of the troops from Western Europe & East Asia who are defending prosperous countries who can defend themselves against non-existent enemies. There’s about $70 billion being spent in that area a year in up-front and back-up costs. And then these massive weapons systems that have no strategic value whatsoever. How about the Osprey aircraft? That’s crashed and killed a lot of Marines. A wasteful defense is a weak defense.
Source: Interview on ‘Meet the Press’ May 7, 2000

Defense frameworks: how to wage peace while building weapons

Q: People will want to know your views on sanctions on Iraq, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Chechnya and Kosovo. You’ve got to be prepared to answer those questions.

A: They’ll be answered in terms of frameworks. Once you get into more and more detail, the focus is completely defused. The press will focus on the questions that are in the news. If Chechnya is in the news, they’ll want to focus on that. We should ask ourselves, What kind of popular participation is there in foreign and military policy in this country? Very little indeed. We want to develop the frameworks. For example, do we want to pursue a vigorous policy of waging peace and put the resources into it from our national budget as we pursue the policy of building up ever-new weapons systems?

Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Popular participation instead of corporate involvement

What kind of popular participation is there in foreign and military policy in this country? Very little indeed. Corporations are very much involved in a lot of these foreign policy and military policy issues. In fact, one might say they are most involved compared to anyone else in military policy budget through the Pentagon, with huge amounts of money going to unnecessary weapons systems, even by conventional military analysts’ opinions.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Supports Test Ban Treaty & arms control

Q: What are your views on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
A: Of course I’m for it.
Q: People need to know that, right?
A: Certainly. Arms control is extremely important.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Arms race is driven by corporate demand

The arms race is driven by corporate demands for contracts, whether it’s General Dynamics or Lockheed Martin. They drive it through Congress. They drive it by hiring Pentagon officials in the Washington military industrial complex.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

F-22 aircraft is unneeded; and dangerous to fly

The F-22 fighter aircraft is an inadvisable project that is strategically not needed and pushes the frontiers even of manned pilot stamina in terms of g-levels, in other words, increases the risk of pilots blacking out. G-levels“ are the gravity levels that they pull down in these extremely high speed military aircraft. It’s beginning to affect the pilots. They tend to for short periods of time pass out and recover while they’re still in flight.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Ralph Nader on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

GOP V.P. Possibilities:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Charlie Crist(FL)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Sen.Joe Lieberman(CT)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Gov.Mark Sanford(SC)

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Libertarian: Sen.Mike Gravel
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
Libertarian: Rep.Ron Paul
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Tax Reform

Page last updated: Oct 01, 2008