Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
America must practice the patriotism it preaches
I think it is unconscionable for us to stand by our troops and hoist the flag and suggest how patriotic we are at the same time as the veterans’ budget is being effectively cut.
I’m going to monitor very closely how we are treating 100,000+ veterans wh are coming home, to make sure the VA has the capacity to provide transition services for veterans who are leaving the service and reentering civilian life–particularly the National Guardsman and Reservists who did not expect to be fighting in Iraq.
Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p.155
Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 14, 2007
Comprehensive plan for our veterans healthcare
Washington says that they support the troops. They give long speeches about valor and sacrifice. But when it comes time to sending our troops into battle with the proper equipment and ensure that veterans have what they need when they get home, they don’t do anything except slap a yellow ribbon on the back of their SUV. That’s how come our men and women have to use scrap metal to protect their Humvees.
Our veterans end up living among mice and mold. They stare at stacks of paperwork. They thought they left the frontline in Iraq but they came home to a new frontline of red tape and bureaucracy.
This is unacceptable. When our veterans come home, I don’t want them crawling around a dumpster for a meal or a box for shelter. I don’t want them drowning in whiskey to silence the PTSD. I don’t want that for our veterans. We know they deserve more.
So let’s make a promise today–and say that, right here and right now, is when we begin to put together a comprehensive plan for our veterans.
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC
Put forward a national service program
The volunteer Army is a way for us to maintain excellence. If we are deploying our military wisely, then a voluntary army is sufficient, although I would call for an increase in our force structure, particularly around the Army and the Marines, because we’ve got to put an end to people going on three, four, five tours of duty and the strain on families is enormous. The obligation to serve exists for everybody. That’s why I’ve put forward a national service program that is tied to my tuition credit for students who want to go to college. You get $4000 every year to help you go to college. In return, you have to engage in some form of national service. Military service has to be an option. We have to have civilian options as well. Not just the Peace Corps, but one of the things that we need desperately are people in our foreign service speaking foreign languages in a lot of work that may not be hand-to-hand combat but just as critical in ensuring our long-term safety & security.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008
Strategic issue is where to send & how to fund our troops
McCAIN: Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic & a strategy. Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops.
OBAMA: McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn’t believe in a timetable. I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open- ended, giving a blank check to George Bush. I understand the difference between tactics & strategy. And the strategic question that the president has to ask is not whether or not we are employing a particular approach in the country once we have made the decision to be there. The question is, was this wise? We have seen Afghanistan deteriorate. We need more troops there. We should end [the Iraq] war responsibly. We should do it in phases. In 16 months we should be able to reduce our combat troops and bolster our efforts in Afghanistan so that we can capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda
Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008
Go after al Qaeda but also shrink pool of potential recruits
The way we have to approach the problem of Islamic extremism, is we have to hunt down those who would resort to violence to move their ideology forward. We should be going after al Qaeda and those networks fiercely and effectively.
But what we also want to do is to shrink the pool of potential recruits. And that involves engaging the Islamic world rather than vilifying it, and making sure that we understand that not only are those in Islam who would resort to violence a tiny fraction of the Islamic world, but that also, the Islamic world itself is diverse.
And that lumping together Shia extremists with Sunni extremists, assuming that Persian culture is the same as Arab culture, that those kinds of errors in lumping Islam together result in us not only being less effective in hunting down and isolating terrorists, but also in alienating what need to be our long-term allies on a whole host of issues.
Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series on Zakaria’s GPS , Jul 13, 2008 (via On The Issues)
Homeland security must protect citizens, not intrude on them
Every democracy is tested when it is faced with a serious threat. As a nation we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power. What protects us are the procedures we put in place to protect that balance, namely judicial warrants and congressional review. These are concrete safeguards to make sure surveillance hasn’t gone too far.
Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 99 , Mar 27, 2007
I wonder what Teh One will say this election year…