Mitt Romney on Homeland Security

Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent


Russia is a geopolitical adversary, including cyberspace

The reality is, Russia really is a geopolitical adversary. They go against us on every front. They have now invaded our cyberspace again. They kill people in their own country, whether it's politicians or media people. I made fun of Hillary Clinton saying that we would have a reset with Russia. We've got the same problem in this administration, which is we've not been serious enough at the very top about how damaging an adversary Russia can be.
Source: Meet the Press 2020 interviews of Senate incumbents , Dec 20, 2020

No new cold war with Russia, just very different interests

Q: [With the invasion of Crimea by Russia], have we reentered the cold war?

ROMNEY: No, we haven't entered that level of, if you will, cold conflict. But we certainly recognize that Russia has very different interests than ours. That Russia is going to push against us in every possible way. They have been doing it. Look, they blocked for many years the toughest sanctions against Iran. They stand with Assad and Syria. They stand with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. They link with some of the world's worst actors. They've sent a battleship into the Caribbean and to Cuba. They harbor Edward Snowden. All these things are designed to say, "hey look, we're pushing against the US." They are our geo-political adversary. And this is a playing field where we're going to determine whether the world is going to see freedom and economic opportunity or whether the world is going to see authoritarianism and Russia and Putin wants to be an authoritarian and that's not something that the world needs or wants.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 23, 2014

My strategy is: kill the bad guys, but also reject extremism

OBAMA: Your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe nor to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.

ROMNEY: Well, my strategy's pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to kill them, to take them out of the picture. But my strategy is broader than that. That's important, of course, but the key is to pursue a pathway to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own. We don't want another Iraq. We don't want another Afghanistan. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these jihadists, but also help the Muslim world.

OBAMA: I'm glad that you recognize that al-Qaida's a threat because a few months ago when you were asked, what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia--not al-Qaida, you said Russia.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Protecting life & liberty means a military second to none

Q: How do you view the mission of the federal government?

OBAMA: The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe. That's its most basic function.

ROMNEY: The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people, and that means a military second to none. I do not believe in cutting our military. I believe in maintaining the strength of America's military. Second, in that line that says we are endowed by our creator with our rights, I believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. That statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. I interpret that as, one, making sure that those people who are less fortunate and can't care for themselves are cared by one another.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

Military so strong that no nation ever dare test it

Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.

That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity.

That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.

That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.

That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.

That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.

Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech , Aug 30, 2012

Donates to groups that support the military

Mitt was asked if his sons had enlisted, and if not, "How do they plan to support this war on terrorism?" Romney mentioned how he had donated to a variety of groups supporting the military, and said, "It's remarkable how we can show our support for our nation, and one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I'd be a great president." The campaign team said the comment had been taken out of context. Nevertheless, it resonated negatively.
Source: An Inside Look, by R.B. Scott, p.161 , Nov 22, 2011

Post-9/11: monitor and wiretap mosques

In 2006, terrorism was up next. His credentials were solid & deep. He had dealt with real threats of terrorism as chief of the Salt Lake City Olympics, staged in the aftermath of 9/11, which only made his attempt to warn Massachusetts of the possibility of terrorists in their midst seem credible. In fact, his alarming rhetoric was nothing more than crass manipulation, a conscious effort to grab headlines by provoking fear and uncertainty. Worse, his actions subjected many peaceful, law-abiding Muslims to ridicule, scorn, and suspicion.

From that time comes this extract: "Romney's threat to wiretap mosques and monitor Muslims won support from his party's right wing." He said, "how about people who are in settings--mosques, for instance--that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping?""

He later flatly refused to modify his call to wiretap Muslim mosques and keep tabs on some Muslims in the US. Why? In part, because it appealed to the red states.

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.118-122 , Nov 22, 2011

Strong Economy; Strong Military; Strong People

There are three pillars that sustain a free and strong America:
  1. A Strong Economy
  2. A Strong Military
  3. A Free and Strong People
The action steps to secure each of these include those noted in this Agenda for a Free and Strong America:
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.301 , Mar 2, 2010

Strengthen soft power because it is real power

It is long past time for America to strengthen and effectively deploy our soft power. There should be no misunderstanding of the fact that soft power is REAL power; that it can and does affect world events. The Lebanon War in 2006 is one example.

When conflict broke out between Hezbollah and Israel, many observers were surprised to see Hezbollah garner so much support among the Lebanese people. Hezbollah was launching rockets from Lebanese neighborhoods, making them the open targets of Israeli retaliation, but nonetheless, the Lebanese people cheered Hezbollah.

A good deal of the support for Hezbollah stemmed from deep-seated anti-Israel resentment. But it was also the result of Hezbollah's long effort to help the Shia community by building village schools and other social services. Israeli officials explained that Hezbollah contributed only a few million dollars a year to this effort, but it was money very effectively spent. In this instance, soft power meant real power for the Hezbollah.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 78 , Mar 2, 2010

Our nuclear arsenal must be updated comprehensively

America's strategic defense relies on credible nuclear deterrence. Accordingly, our nuclear arsenal must be updated--comprehensively and soon. While other nations have been testing and updating their nuclear capacity, we have done little to maintain our deterrent power.

Russia insists that nuclear reduction talks encompass only strategic nuclear weapons, not theater nuclear weapons, which are currently configured for short-range deployment. Their position is understandable, as they have many times the number of theater nuclear weapons as does the US; they'd like to cement that superiority into place

We must develop and install a robust missile defense system. Progress achieved in the Bush years in building a shield to protect the US from the missiles of rogue states and in preparing for a missile shield in Europe was a good start.

Ideally, we would rid the planet of nuclear weapons. But we are unlikely to be successful in doing so, at least within the coming decades.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 88-89 , Mar 2, 2010

Allies must increase defense spending to a fair share

America alone is strong. America standing with its allies is a good deal stronger. But our allies are disarming at the same time that our potential foes are rearming. China & Russia are spending more than 4% of their GDP on their military, but France & the U.K. spend less than 2.5%, Italy 1.8%; Germany only 1.3%, and consistent with its postwar commitments, Japan spends less than 1.0% on defense. Raising the US defense budget from 3.8% to 4% of our GDP would add about $30 billion to defense. Raising defense spending by these 5 allies to 4% of their GDP would add TEN TIMES that amount to our combined defense. It is time for our allies to increase their investment in national and global security in order to assume their fair share of the load and to strengthen our combined capabilities.

When added together, the troop-strength and armament figures of our allies appear quite competitive. But they do not fool our potential adversaries: our allies [are not] a coherent collective military power.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 97 , Mar 2, 2010

Lawyers are the last people to ask about war decisions

Q: [to McCain]:You didn’t think much of the answer of Gov. Romney in the last debate, when he said that he would ask his lawyers whether he needed congressional authorization to use military force against Iran. Why not?

MCCAIN: Because I don’t think that’s the time to call in the lawyers, when we’re in a national security crisis. Those are the last people I’d call in. I’d call in my wisdom, my knowledge, my background, my experience, and my ability to lead this nation.

ROMNEY: I want to make one thing very, very clear, and that is if there were ever a question of a security threat to this country, I would act immediately to protect the interests of America and our citizens. No question about that. But every president has of course met with White House counsel and they have written opinions about the involvement of Congress. The decision to take our men and women to war is the most grave decision and I would do that on a very deliberate and careful basis, not a half-cocked basis.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

FactCheck: Bush cut military budget as much as Bill Clinton

Romney falsely blamed Bill Clinton for the entire post-Cold War reduction in US military forces. Romney said, “During the Clinton years, we reduced the scale of our military dramatically, took 500,000 troops out, cut back our Navy by 80 ships, knocked our Air Force down 25%.”

Romney has tried this bit before. In fact, we’ve called him on it once already: that in inflation-adjusted dollars, defense spending dropped nearly 15% between Reagan’s last budget and the final budget of George H.W. Bush four years later--compared with just under 13% between Bush’s last budget and Clinton’s, a span of eight years. Bush’s defense secretary, a guy named Dick Cheney, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1992 that “overall, since I’ve been secretary, we will have taken the five-year defense program down by well over $300 billion. That’s the peace dividend. And now we’re adding to that another $50 billion.”

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando , Oct 21, 2007

Apologized for comparing public service to military service

Q: I don’t think you fully understand how offended my wife and I were, and probably the rest of the people who have sons, daughters, husbands and wives serving in the war on terror to compare your son’s attempts to get you elected to my son’s service in Iraq. I know you apologized a couple of days later after a firestorm started, but it was wrong, and you never should have said it.

A: Well, there is no comparison, of course. There’s no question but that the honor that we have for men and women who serve in our armed forces is a place of honor we will never forget and nothing compares to it. People who are willing to put their life on the line for American freedom are in a league of their own, and we owe them our respect. And the sacrifice they make is something we’ll never forget.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

Eligible for draft in 1969; regrets not having served

Mitt Romney didn’t go to Vietnam. I asked him about this. “I respect enormously the people who do serve our country,” he began. “There are only two things that Ann and I both agree that we regret. One is not having served in the military, and the other is not having had more kids.”

“In my life at that time I didn’t get drafted,” he continued. “I was eligible for the draft. I would have served in the military if drafted, but I wasn’t drafted. My course was a different course, and perhaps because of the fact that I did not serve in the military I have a strong sense of a desire to serve in the public sector today.

“There is no question,” Romney concluded. “Those that served we owe a great debt of gratitude to.” Romney had a combination of deferments--a religious deferment covered his 2-1/2 years of missionary work in France, and then college deferment applied. Then most deferments were sacked in favor of a lottery, which in 1969 awarded Romney’s March 12 birthday the number 300.

Source: A Mormon in the White House, by Hugh Hewitt, p.198-199 , Mar 12, 2007

Stronger America is less likely to have to fight

I asked Romney if he had considered what presidents are sometimes called to do, which is order attacks that kill lots of people. Romney replied, “America must remain the world’s economic and military superpower, and the best friend peace has is a strong America. You can’t be strong if you’re never willing to exercise that strength and show that strength. A 150-pound kid has to get in a lot of fights. A 250-pound kid covered with muscles who knows judo rarely has to fight.”

“If you have a strong enough military, no one will test you, and I think one of the reasons we face the challenges we do and we’re being tested on so many fronts is that people see we haven’t done a great job in the post-major conflict period in Iraq,“ he continued. ”We’ve been tested and have been found a little wanting. I think we need to be stronger. I don’t shrink at all from the need to protect this country and our sovereignty and our pre-eminence in the world.“

Source: A Mormon in the White House?, by Hugh Hewitt, p.190-191 , Mar 12, 2007

Mitt Romney on Defense Spending

We want a peaceful planet; but we need strength to do that

OBAMA: For America to be successful in [the Mideast], we're going to have to do some things here at home as well. We've done experiments in nation building, and we've neglected developing our own economy,

ROMNEY: Let me step back and talk about what I think our mission has to be in the Middle East, and even more broadly, because our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they're going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. That's our purpose. And the mantle of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America. We didn't ask for it, but it's an honor that we have it. But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong, and that begins with a strong economy here at home, and unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. We need a strong economy. We need to have as well a strong military, second to none in the world.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Navy needs 313 ships; cutting to 200 is unacceptable

OBAMA: When it comes to our military, what we have to think about is not just budgets, we got to think about capabilities.

ROMNEY: Our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That's unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is the combination of the budget cuts that the president has as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making our future less certain and less secure. I won't do it.

OBAMA: You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. It's not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

If I'm president, America will be VERY strong

ROMNEY: We can be a partner with China. Now, they look at us and say, is it a good idea to be with America? How strong are we going to be? How strong is our economy? They look at the fact that we owe them $1 trillion and owe other people $16 trillion. They look at our decision to cut back on our military capabilities--a trillion dollars. The secretary of defense called these $1 trillion of cuts to our military devastating. It's not my term. It's the president's own secretary of defense called them devastating. They look at America's commitments around the world and they see what's happening and they say, well, OK, is America going to be strong? And the answer is yes. If I'm president, America will be very strong.

OBAMA: When it comes to our military and Chinese security, part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq and transitioning out of Afghanistan, is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Military so powerful that no one thinks of challenging it

As President, I will reverse the Obama-era defense cuts. I believe a strong America must--and will--lead the future. I will insist on a military so powerful that no one would ever think of challenging it.

My plans protect our freedom and preserve opportunity. They reflect common-sense solutions and conservative values. Our campaign is about more than replacing a President; it is about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies.

Source: Prebuttal to 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Obama defense issue stances compared to Romney

Will Obama actually reduce defense spending? (No.) Will Romney increase defense spending more than Obama? (Yes.) OnTheIssues' paperback book explores how Romney's stances on defense spending differ from Obama's, and where they are similar. We cite details from Romney's books and speeches, and Obama's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Romney vs. Obama on International Issues

Source: Paperback: Romney vs. Obama On The Issues , Jan 8, 2012

It's a terrible idea to cut defense

Q: The choice that is likely to confront Congress at the end of the year is some mix of revenues and cuts or these draconian automatic spending cuts [if the Super-Committee fails to agree on a plan] that would include defense. Which of those two, if that is the choice, would you prefer?

ROMNEY: Well, my choice is not to cut defense. I think it's a terrible idea to cut defense. I think it's a terrible idea to raise taxes. Particularly at a time when the economy's struggling, the idea of raising taxes, taking more money away from the American people, so government can spend it, and can spend it--right now the president has a jobs bill. How'd his last jobs bill work out for us?

Q: But what about the automatic cuts?

ROMNEY: No, I do not want the automatic cuts. I want to see that supercommittee take responsibility for getting the economy going again by reining in the scale of the federal government and saying we're going to pull back on some of the programs we have.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Devoted to making America the strongest nation on Earth

We talked about a crisis this evening, an economic crisis, people out of work, incomes going down. But there's another crisis, and that's that people wonder whether their future will be brighter for the kids than it's been for them. It's always been what it means to be American, to have a greater degree of confidence in the future than even what we've enjoyed ourselves.

And what we have to do is to have the leadership in this country, like the men and women at this table, who believe in America. My experience will help us get our values strong, get our economy strong, and make sure that our military is second to none in the world.

I am absolutely devoted to making America the strongest nation on Earth. And if you don't want that as your objective, don't vote for me--we already have a president that doesn't make that his first objective.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Increase defense spending to at least 4% of GDP

In the face of Obama's approach and foreign policy agenda, we need to do several things. The first is fairly elementary: We should treat our allies like the allies they are. That means, for starters, not being harder on them, or demanding more from them, than we do from our adversaries.

To ensure that America remains safe and maintains its role as a defender of freedom, we also need to increase our defense spending to at least 4% of our GDP per year, including substantial and increasing support for missile defense. Under Pres. Obama, our defense spending will decline as a share of our economy and of the federal budget. And it will fall far below what is required to meet our global commitments.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 30-32 , Mar 2, 2010

China's military is over half our size (not one-tenth!)

Reports of America's share of worldwide defense spending can be misleading. According to official budgets, we are responsible for about 48% of the entire world's defense spending--approximately ten times the amount spent by China. But, reported numbers do not tell the real story. First, some countries simply do not report all their military expenditures. China does not include expenses for strategic forces, military purchases from foreign countries, or the cost of military-related research and development. So while its reported military budget in 2007 was $46 billion, its actual annual spending is estimated to be in the range of $100 billion to $ 140 billion.

China's lower troop cost is largely the result of conscription and the nation's low wage rates. If China's cost to employ a soldier and to purchase an item of military hardware were identical to those that are paid in the United States, its budget would be closer to half the size of ours, not the one-tenth that is reported.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 83 , Mar 2, 2010

Defense cost comparison US vs PRC

It costs the United States $129 billion a year to field 1.5 million troops. China, by contrast, can raise an army of 2 million troops--33% more men and women than our combined services--for only about $25 billion annually. If their cost per soldier were the same as ours, instead of spending $25 billion for their troops, they would have to spend $172 billion. China's lower troop cost is largely the result of conscription and the nation's low wage rates.

For all these reasons, if you were to accept the argument of the activists opposed to the defense budget's size and you were to look at reported defense spending figures as a measure of the military strength of the two countries, you would get a very inaccurate impression. If China's cost to employ a soldier and to purchase an item of military hardware were identical to those that are paid in the United States, its budget would be closer to half the size of ours, not the one-tenth that is reported.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 84 , Mar 2, 2010

Raise military spending to 4% of our GDP

To battle the threat of radical Jihadists, we have sent the most courageous and brave soldiers in the world. But their numbers have been depleted by the Clinton years when troops were reduced by 500,000, when 80 ships were retired from the Navy, and when our human intelligence was slashed by 25%. We were told that we were getting a peace dividend. We got the dividend, but we didn’t get the peace. In the face of evil in radical Jihad and given the inevitable military ambitions of China, we must act to rebuild our military might--raise military spending to 4% of our GDP, purchase the most modern armament, re-shape our fighting forces for the asymmetric demands we now face, and give the veterans the care they deserve.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Add 100,000 to the military without a draft

Q: How do you increase the size of the military without a draft?

A: I’m recommending that we add 100,000 active-duty personnel to our military. We’re right now at about 1.5 million. Take that up to about 1.6 million. We found in our state that we were losing enrollees for the National Guard at about 6% per year. And the legislature and I got together and passed something called the Welcome Home Bill. We said if you’ll sign up for the National Guard, we’ll pay for your entire education for four years. We put in some other benefits as well--life insurance and other features that we decided to pay for. The result of that was, the next year enrollments went up 30%. So if we want more people to sign up for the military, we have to improve the deal. Our GI Bill has gotten a little old. We need to update our funding level for that, so that young people who go into the military get a full ride as they come home and get to go into college.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Sharply increase military investment to face radical jihad

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p.109-10 , Aug 31, 2007

We need at least 100,000 more troops in our military

GIULIANI: [to Romney]: We should increase the size of our military. Bill Clinton cut the military drastically. It was called the peace dividend, one of those nice-sounding phrases: very devastating. It was a 25% or 30% cut in the military. President Bush has never made up for that. Our Army had been at 725,000; it’s down to 500,000. We need at least 10 more combat brigades. We need our Marines at 200,000. We need a 300-ship Navy. This president should do it now. If I’m president, I’ll do it immediately.

ROMNEY: I agree with what the mayor said--we need to add to our military by at least 100,000 troops. But we’re going to have to move our strategy from simply being a response to military threat with military action, to an effort that says we’re going to use our military and nonmilitary resources. The answer is to move now to a second phase, a phase of helping Muslims become so strong they can reject the extreme.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Mitt Romney on War on Terror

Maintain capability to fight two wars at once

Q: What do you see as our role in the world?

ROMNEY: I absolutely believe that America has a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. Our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947. Since FDR, we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the president of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people. And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts that the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making our future less certain and less secure, and I won't do it.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Use of drones OK; but we need more than killing bad guys

Q: What is your position on the use of drones?

ROMNEY: Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends. Let me also note that we're going to have to do more than just going after leaders and killing bad guys, important as that is. We're also going to have to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and Islamic extremism. We haven't done that yet. We talk a lot about these things, but you look at the record of the last four years and say, is Iran closer to a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is al-Qaida on the run, on its heels? No.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Al Qaeda members are enemy combatants with no rights

Q: The National Defense Authorization Act into allows indefinitely detaining American citizens in US military custody. Many, including Rep. Paul, have called it unconstitutional. Would you have signed the NDAA?

ROMNEY: Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it is appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country, who are members of al Qaeda. Look, you have every right in this country to protest and to express your views on a wide range of issues but you don't have a right to join a group that has killed Americans, and has declared war against America. That's treason. In this country we have a right to take those people and put them in jail. If I were president I would not abuse this power. But people who join al Qaeda are not entitled to rights of due process under our normal legal code. They are entitled instead to be treated as enemy combatants.

Source: Fox News debate on MLK Day in Myrtle Beach, SC , Jan 16, 2012

Recognize the scope and reality of the jihadist threat

Radical, fundamentalist Muslims--Islamists--are estimated to number about 200 million people. While most Islamists do not condone the tactics of the violent jihadists, they share the same vision for the course of the Islamic world. Every non-Muslim state is to be removed from every land that was once under Muslim control--including part of Western Europe, all of northern Africa, and the Persian & Arab lands of the Middle East.

Even after the attacks of 9/11, some Americans cannot bring themselves to recognize the scope of reality of the jihadist threat. Others have concluded that the burden of preventing future attacks is too great.

But jihadists see the world in starkly different ways from most Americans. For example, while Western nations take care to separate church from the state, for the Islamists, religion and government are to be one. The founding fathers of Islam proclaimed that "Islam is a religion and a state." Thus, Islamists would replace secular systems of justice with sharia.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 64-69 , Mar 2, 2010

No Miranda rights for suicide bombers

Before we move away from this "No" epithet that the Democrats are fond of trying to apply to us, let's ask the Obama folks why they say no: no to a balanced budget, no to reforming entitlements, no to malpractice reform, no to missile defense in eastern Europe, no to prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military tribunal.

Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. That agenda should have, mind you, three pillars: strength in the economy, strength in our security and strength in our families.

We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might and standing by and strengthening our intelligence officers. Conservatives believe in providing constitutional rights to our citizens, not to enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Not on our watch. A conversation with a would-be suicide bomber will not begin with the words, "You have the right to remain silent."

Source: Speech to 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 20, 2010

Closing Guantanamo leaves America vulnerable to another 9/11

President Obama won the favor of liberal commentators by pledging what it calls reform in the treatment of terrorist detainees. He's also promised to close down Guantanamo, without giving the slightest indication of the next stop for the killers being held there now.

But here's the problem. That is the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of September 11th.

This is not a law enforcement problem. It is the gravest matter of national security, with thousands if not millions of lives in the balance. The jihadists are still at war with America. Our government has no greater duty than a vigilant defense, and no greater cause than victory for America and for freedom.

Gestures that communicate a lack of resolve only embolden America's adversaries. With Iran seeking nuclear weapons, with North Korea already nuclear and selling its technology to the Syrians, it is essential that we construct a missile defense, now.

Source: Speech to 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 27, 2009

Best to not say whether waterboarding is torture or not

Q: In one of your recent debates, you refused to say whether waterboarding was torture. The director of national intelligence said flatly: “Whether it is torture by anybody else’s definition, for me it would be torture.” I wonder if that would influence you to conclude that waterboarding is torture, because you and McCain debated on that. McCain came down very, very firmly, saying waterboarding is torture.

A: You know, I just don’t think it’s productive for presidents to lay out a list of what is specifically referred to as torture. One of the reasons is that that term is used in the Geneva accord. And once you lay that list out, you are forever prohibiting the US from ever employing that technique, even in a circumstance where a city might be subject to a potential nuclear attack. And so we have found it wise, in the past, not to describe precisely the techniques of interrogation that are used here; also, so that people who are captured don’t know what might be used against them.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 13, 2008

Not wise for us to describe our interrogation techniques

Q: Considering that Mr. McCain is the only one with any firsthand knowledge on the subject of waterboarding, how can those of you sharing the stage with him disagree with his position against torture?

A: I do not believe that as a presidential candidate, it is wise for us to describe precisely what techniques we will use in interrogating people. I want to make sure these folks are kept at Guantanamo. I don’t want the people that are carrying out attacks on this country to be brought into our jail system and be given legal representation in this country. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed went to Guantanamo and he met G.I.s and CIA interrogators. And that’s just exactly how it ought to be.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida , Nov 28, 2007

Wiretap mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists

Q: You had said that the government should wiretap some mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists. Even without a judge’s approval?

A: No, of course not. But use the law to follow people who are teaching doctrines of terror & hate, and make sure that if they’re doing that in a mosque, in a school, in a playground, wherever it’s being done, we know what’s going on. There’s no question but that we’re under threat from people who want to attack our country in this global effort. We need to know about that, track them, follow them, and make sure that in every way we can, we know what they’re doing and where they’re doing it. And if it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that’s exactly where we’re going to go. I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second. We have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don’t forget, the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, & that’s what we’re going to have to do.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

Global military & non-military effort to defeat jihad

I want to bring in a real strong team of people who have very different backgrounds, a lot from the private sector, and I want to take on a whole series of efforts. One is not just to win the peace in Iraq & in Afghanistan, but I’d like to take on an effort globally to defeat jihad which is military in scope but also non-military, that combines our non-military resources with those of other nations to help move the word of Islam toward modernity and help the Muslims themselves reject the extreme.
Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Aug 12, 2007

Don’t weaken Musharraf; we need ally against Bin Laden

Q: Sen. Obama said that if we had actionable intelligence on high-level terrorist targets in Pakistan and Pres. Musharraf wouldn’t act, that we will. You said that Obama had gone from being Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in a week. But in that situation, what would you do?

A: When you’re running for president, you have to think about the question and the answer, but you also have to think about the implications of what you’re saying around the world. And Pakistan is a tinderbox. And of course, America keeps its options open to do what we think is in our best interest. But in a place like Pakistan, you make sure that you don’t say things that could be misinterpreted and misused. And that was what his error was. Of course, if we receive actionable intelligence about bin Laden, we will take appropriate action, but we don’t describe exactly what that might mean. We have an ally there, Musharraf. We don’t want in any way to try & weaken him in a very difficult situation, and that was Obama’s mistake.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Aug 12, 2007

Double Guantanamo, to avoid terrorist access to lawyers

Q: Let’s say terrorists mounted 3 successful suicide attacks in the US, and a 4th attack was averted and the terrorists captured & held at Guantanamo.

A: The key in electing the next president is to find somebody who will make sure that that scenario doesn’t ever happen, & the key to that is prevention. We’ve all spent a lot of time talking about what happens after the bomb goes off. The real question is, how do you prevent the bomb from going off? That means intelligence & counterterrorism.

Q: How aggressively would you interrogate those being held?

A: I’m glad they’re at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said, we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo. And enhanced interrogation techniques have to be used -- not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques, yes.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

FBI wiretaps and spying on immigrants OK

On the War on Terror: In September 2005, he suggested that the FBI wiretap mosques and spy on new Muslim immigrants.
Source: CivilLiberty.about.com profile of Romney , Dec 1, 2006

Use both military & diplomatic actions to defeat Jihadists

To remain the economic and military superpower, America must address defeating the Jihadists. The defeat of this radical and violent faction of Islam must be achieved through a combination of American resolve, international effort, and the rejection of violence by moderate, modern, mainstream Muslims. An effective strategy will involve both military and diplomatic actions to support modern Muslim nations. America must help lead a broad-based international coalition.
Source: PAC website, www.TheCommonwealthPac.com, “Meet Mitt” , Dec 1, 2006

Jihadists attack to destroy all moderate governments

PAUL: [to ROMNEY]: I’m as concerned about the nature of the threat of terrorism as anybody, if not more so. But they don’t attack us because we’re free and prosperous. There are radicals in all religions that will resort to violence. But if we don’t understand that the reaction is because we invade their countries and occupy their countries, because we have bases in their country--and we haven’t done it just since 9/11, but we have done that a long time. It was the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia before 9/11 that was given as the excuse. If we don’t understand that, we can’t win this war against terrorism.

ROMNEY: Unfortunately, Ron, you need a thorough understanding of what radical jihad is, what the movement is, what its intent is, where it flows from. And the fact is that it’s trying to bring down not just us, but it’s trying to bring down all moderate Islamic governments, Western governments around the world, as we just saw in Pakistan.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Islamic terror has nothing to do with US policy of bases

PAUL: [to ROMNEY]: Try to visualize how we would react if they did that to us, if a country, say China, came that great distance across the ocean, and they say, “We want you to live like us. We want you to have our economic system. We want bases on your land. We want to protect our oil.” Even if we do that with good intentions--even if the Chinese did that with good intentions, we would all be furious.

ROMNEY: Ron, you’re reading their propaganda.

PAUL: What would you do?

ROMNEY: I’d read what they write to one another. Sayyid Qutb lays out the philosophy of radical jihadism and says, “We want to kill Anwar Sadat,” and when there’s the assassination of Anwar Sadat, it has nothing to do with us. Why did they kill Madam Bhutto? It has nothing to do with us. This has to do with a battle that is going on within the world of Islam, of radical, violent jihadists trying to bring down all moderate Islamic people and nations and replace them with a religious caliphate.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Ben Downing
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Danielle Allen
Deval Patrick
Don Berwick
Geoff Diehl
Jay Gonzalez
Jesse Gordon
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Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Shiva Ayyadurai
Sonia Chang-Diaz
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Beth Lindstrom
Ed Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Geoff Diehl
Heidi Wellman
Joe Kennedy III
John Kingston
Kevin O`Connor
Shannon Liss-Riordan
Shiva Ayyadurai

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