Topics in the News: War on Terror

Bernie Sanders on War on Terror: (War & Peace Nov 20, 2019)
Rethink War on Terror and make deal with Taliban

Q: Would you cut a deal with the Taliban to end the war, even if it means the collapse of the Afghan government?

SANDERS: After spending trillions of dollars on these endless wars, which have resulted in dislocation and mass migrations and pain in that region, it is time to bring our troops home. Unlike Trump, I will not do it through a tweet at 3 o'clock in the morning. I will do it working with the international community. If it's necessary to negotiate with the Taliban, we will do that.

Q: What about other military spending?

SANDERS: One of the big differences between the vice president and myself is he supported the terrible war in Iraq and I helped lead the opposition against it. And not only that, I voted against the very first Gulf War, as well I think we need a foreign policy which understands who our enemies are, that we don't have to spend more money on the military than the next 10 nations combined.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta

Bernie Sanders on War on Terror: (War & Peace Jul 30, 2019)
More terrorists after spending trillions on War on Terror

We have spent $5 trillion on the war on terror. And there are probably more terrorists out there now than before it began. The Congress passed--and I will not vote for--a $715 billion military budget, more than the 10 next countries combined. What we need is a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, ending conflicts by people sitting at a table, not by killing each other. I will go to the United Nations and not denigrate it, but bring countries together and solve those problems peacefully.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit)

John Kasich on War on Terror: (War & Peace Jun 6, 2018)
War on terror should focus on threats to US homeland

After 17 years, the war on terrorism has become a series of open-ended commitments. In Afghanistan, Pres. Obama put in place a series of half measures, and Pres. Trump sent additional troops into a conflict that cannot be resolved militarily. Both presidents' decisions were mistakes. We must now look instead to diplomacy to negotiate a sustainable US exit.

Regarding ISIS, in Syria and Iraq, the terrorists' strongholds have been all but eliminated. The only remaining core US interest at stake is preventing ISIS from using those countries to mount future attacks against us.

Going forward, we need to be much more careful and focused about how we fight terrorism. We have to develop better criteria for when to intervene abroad. In particular, we should restrict our major counterterrorism efforts to instances in which our homeland is directly at risk. When it is not, we should avoid getting embroiled in civil wars and instead use diplomacy to rally international partners to assume the lead.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Kasich column in Foreign Affairs: 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Sep 21, 2017)
Global War on Terror has undermined our moral standards

Terrorism is a very real threat, as we learned so tragically on September 11, 2001, and many other countries knew already too well. But as an organizing framework, the Global War on Terror has been a disaster for the American people and for American leadership. Orienting US national security strategy around terrorism essentially allowed a few thousand violent extremists to dictate policy for the most powerful nation on earth. It responds to terrorists by giving them exactly what they want.

In addition to draining our resources and distorting our vision, the war on terror has caused us to undermine our own moral standards regarding torture, indefinite detention, and the use of force around the world, using drone strikes and other airstrikes that often result in high civilian casualties.

A heavy-handed military approach, with little transparency or accountability, doesn't enhance our security. It makes the problem worse.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Westminster College speech in Where We Go From Here, p.105-6

Cory Booker on War on Terror: (Foreign Policy Jul 3, 2016)
Trump would denigrate relationships with Muslim countries

Q: How would Hillary Clinton's response to terrorism be different from that of President Obama?

BOOKER: Well, she is not running against President Obama. She is running against Donald Trump. And we know already what Donald Trump has said he was going to do, which is undermine key alliances like the NATO alliance which helps us to protect not only our country, but really fight against the war on terror. He wants to go against Muslims and denigrate relationships with Muslim countries, which include countries like Turkey. And already leaders there are worried about Trump. He wants to go back to doing things that are outrageous, like saying, "hey, we're going to go after the families of terrorists; we're going to bring batch torture." Donald Trump is dangerous and would make this world a far more dangerous place. In fact, he would undermine many of the things that are in place right now that would make us a much safer country.

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: CNN 2016 "State of the Union" interviews for Veepstakes

Jesse Ventura on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Apr 4, 2011)
End the phony war on terror to end al Qaeda

In 2008, The Rand Corporation came out with a major study titled "How Terrorist Groups End," looking at data on all such between 1968 and 2006.

Their findings apparently weren't too heartening to our policy-makers, if they bothered to read the study. The whole war on terror notion needs to be rethought, according to Rand, because in simple terms "countering al Qa'ida has focused far too much on the use of military forces."

If the government follows Rand on other matters, why not give them due consideration on this? Supposedly this is their job and they're the experts.

It's time to end these "phony wars on terror" and get down to the serious business of rebuilding our own democracy from the ground up.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.295-296

Rahm Emanuel on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Jan 5, 2009)
We cannot win the War on Terror without more troops

From Iran to North Korea to the Arab street, America can't stop the emergence of new nuclear states, contain loose nukes, or disrupt Al Qaeda all on its own.

If we are to win the war that we have, we must rebuild the army we need. Our friend Paul Begala's motto has become "It Takes a Battalion"--and he's right. We cannot fight and win a long war without more troops. When George Bush ran for president in 2000, he complained that the military had been hollowed out. That wasn't true then, but it is true now. Under Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon engaged in a drawn-out debate about military transformation but gave short shrift to the basic needs of the soldiers, the heart and soul of our military might. The army doesn't have enough troops, the National Guard and the Reserves are exhausted to the breaking point, and the soldiers we send into battle don't always get the equipment they need to survive.

Click for Rahm Emanuel on other issues.   Source: The Plan, by Rahm Emanuel, p.150

Rahm Emanuel on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Jan 5, 2009)
Universal civilian service for all young Americans

In the 1990s, Bill Clinton launched AmeriCorps, which has given more than 400,000 young people the chance to serve their country.

By asking every young American to serve, universal civilian service will strengthen America in three vital ways.

First. it will provide real, lasting security benefits. We shouldn't kid ourselves--the war on terror won't be over anytime soon.

Second, universal civilian service may be just what we need to save the volunteer army and AVOID a draft.

Third, and most important, universal service will give young people a chance early in their lives to look past differences of race, class, creed, and region, and to see themselves and one another first and foremost as Americans. We are the most diverse nation on earth. To lead the world in this century, we must take the most of that great strength, not let our differences become a burden.

Click for Rahm Emanuel on other issues.   Source: The Plan, by Rahm Emanuel, p. 58-60

Joe Biden on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Oct 2, 2008)
Greatest security threat is from al Qaeda in Pakistan

Q: What’s the greater threat, a nuclear Iran or an unstable Pakistan?

BIDEN: Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be destabilizing, but they are not close to getting a nuclear weapon that’s able to be deployed. John continues to tell us that the central war on terror is in Iraq. I promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, it’s going to come from al Qaeda in the hills of Pakistan. We need to support that democracy by helping them with their economic well-being.

PALIN: Both are extremely dangerous. And as for who coined that central war on terror being in Iraq, it was the Gen. Petraeus and al Qaeda, and it’s probably the only thing that they’re ever going to agree on. An armed, nuclear Iran is so extremely dangerous. Israel is in jeopardy when we’re dealing with Iran. Others who are dangerous dictators are ones that Barack Obama has said he would be willing to meet with without preconditions. And that goes beyond naivete and poor judgment.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Sarah Palin

Barack Obama on War on Terror: (Foreign Policy Jul 22, 2008)
Chairs European subcommittee; could hold Afghanistan hearing

Q: If you believe Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror, why didn’t you hold a single hearing as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the fighting force there?

A: Actually, the subcommittee that I chair is the European subcommittee. And any issues related to Afghanistan were always dealt with in the full committee, precisely because it’s so important. That’s not a matter that you would deal with in a subcommittee setting.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Mike Gravel on War on Terror: (Civil Rights May 2, 2008)
Bush’s overblown War on Terror is modern McCarthyism

McCarthyism [1950s anti-Communist purges] was one example of a recurring nightmare in American history: a legitimate problem is deliberately overblown to aggrandize the accuser’s political power; fear is amplified so the populace willingly forfeits civil rights in exchange for security. If Arthur Miller were to update The Crucible, in which he compared the religious intolerance of New England Puritans with McCarthy, he would have to include comparisons to George W. Bush’s War on Terror.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p.106

Mike Gravel on War on Terror: (Homeland Security May 2, 2008)
Bush uses Patriot Act to gut international law

The 1917 Espionage Act was pushed through Congress by Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s assault on liberty during WWI was in the same league with Nixon’s during Vietnam and with Bush’s during his perpetual War on Terror. Wilson feared domestic opposition to WWI would undermine the American effort, so his Act criminalized conveying information that hindered US armed forces or promoted the enemy. As a result, numerous prominent dissidents were thrown in jail, & 75 newspapers lost their privilege to use the US mail.

The Supreme Court has struck down parts of the Espionage Act over the years, but much of it remains on the books. It was just what George W. Bush needed. Under his secretive administration, the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act have given the executive unprecedented power to monitor Americans, suspend habeas corpus, and gut international law. Bush has propelled militarism and authoritarianism, long an unfortunate feature of our history, to a critically advanced stage.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p. 48-49

Jesse Ventura on War on Terror: (Civil Rights Apr 1, 2008)
We're losing our rights to the so-called War on Terror

We're losing our constitutional rights because of the so-called "war on terror." It reminds me of that line from the movie "Full Metal Jacket": "Guess they'd rather be alive than free--poor dumb bastards!" Not me--once America is no longer what our country has stood for since 1776. We've gone backwards. When you look at how religious fanatics and corporate America are teaming up, we today are on the brink of fascism.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p. 2

Jesse Ventura on War on Terror: (War & Peace Apr 1, 2008)
200,000 contractors: Iraq is most privatized war in history

When America entered WWII, FDR said: "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the US as a result of this world disaster." Today , a whole lot of people are cashing in on the "war on terror."

Iraq is the most privatized war in American history. There are as many as 200,000 private contractors over there--a number greater than our 160,000 military troops! You might call it "rent-an-Army." Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old company, was ready to roll when the war began. They've since been found to have wasted millions of our dollars in overbilling and shoddy services. It's amazing, but these companies have zero accountability. Only ONE of those 100,000 contractors has been accused of any violations, or been indicted for any crimes.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p.261

Hillary Clinton on War on Terror: (War & Peace Nov 11, 2007)
Called war on terror “Bush’s war” but has played active role

[After 9/11], Clinton called for punishment for those responsible, the hijackers, and their ilk and vowed that any country that chose to harbor terrorists and “in any way aid or comfort them whatsoever will now face the wrath of our country.”

Bush apparently liked what he heard. He echoed her language and issued an almost identical threat, eight days later, in his address to Congress.

On the campaign trail, and especially in television debates, Clinton is at pains to frame the so-called war on terror as “Bush’s war,” but she’s had an active part in it. It isn’t as if her 9/11 speech was an exception. Clinton supported Bush’s invasion and bombardment of Afghanistan. She voted for the USA PATRIOT Act, which gave the government new unconstitutional tools of search and seizure even as federal agents were sweeping thousands of innocent civilians off the streets of US cities, notably in New York.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 18-19

Mike Gravel on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Sep 9, 2007)
Terrorism is not a war; treat it as a criminal act

Q: What would you do that hasn’t already been done to capture bin Laden, which hasn’t been done previously?

A: Well, the first thing that you would do is to realize that terrorism is not a war. Our war on terrorism makes no sense. We’ve had terrorism since the beginning of civilization, and we’ll have it to the end of civilization. It must be treated as a criminal act for what it is. The US should now interface with Interpol and with other countries to bring these people to justice, but our government has done just the opposite. We had the help of Iran to do away with the Taliban three years ago, then we called them an “Axis of Evil.” We had the help of other countries, and now they do--our government doesn’t need them. We have a database of 7 million stolen passports at Interpol and it’s headed up by an American, and not one American intelligence agency has ever accessed that database. We can’t even put the dots together here little more than can we do it globally.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish

Joe Biden on War on Terror: (War & Peace Jul 31, 2007)
Bush invaded Iraq as the weakest of the Axis of Evil

The Bush neo-cons identified the biggest threats--North Korea, Iran, & Iraq. Toppling the Taliban had been a nice start for the Neo-cons, but they thought the way to handle the world’s malcontents and to avoid war was to take out one of the “axis of evil leaders in a way that made the others quake. They wanted to leverage our nation’s awesome military power in a way that sent a strong message: enable terrorists and we’ll wipe you out. You’re either with us, Bush liked to say of his ”war on terror,“ or you’re against us.

I thought this approach was flawed. The facts showed that terrorist groups didn’t base their training camps in countries with strong governments or dictators; they found safe haven in failed states & grew stronger in the vacuum of power.

There was a lot of noise about overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Of the three Axis of Evil countries, Iraq was the country that could put up the least military resistance, and I believed Cheney & Rumsfeld were pushing the president toward an invasion

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.330-331

Mike Gravel on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Nov 1, 2006)
War on terror will fail like war on drugs & war on poverty

Solving the Israeli- Palestinian problem and the energy problem will set the stage to crush terrorism, its advocates and its financiers. Characterizing the effort to control terrorism as a “war” is grossly misleading and leads us to believe the only solution is a military one. It promotes a never-ending culture of war. A “war” on terror will be no more successful than the war on drugs, or the war on poverty.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: Speech at the N.H. Institute of Politics, Manchester NH

Amy Klobuchar on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Oct 15, 2006)
I supported the Patriot Act

KENNEDY: Ms. Klobuchar has come out for weakening the Patriot Act that has allowed us to have five years without a terrorist attack on our country. She’s against making sure that we were paying attention when al-Qaeda was talking to somebody in America. And she came out against a bill to make sure that we can get the intelligence we need from those we hold in custody to prevent future attacks.

KLOBUCHAR: I support winning this war on terror by being smart, I supported the Patriot Act.

Click for Amy Klobuchar on other issues.   Source: 2006 MN Senate debate, on Meet the Press

Barack Obama on War on Terror: (Energy & Oil Jun 14, 2006)
3-way win: economy, environment, & stop funding terror

Progressives are the folks who believe in energy independence for America. We believe that we can harness homegrown alternative fuels and spur the production of fuel-efficient hybrid cars, and break our dependence on the world’s most dangerous regions. We understand that we get a three-for: We can save our economy, our environment, and stop funding both sides of the war on terror if we actually get serious about doing something about energy. We understand that.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference

Mike Pence on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Mar 12, 2006)
Gratitude to Emirates for their support of our War on Terror

Q: Let me ask you about the Dubai ports deal. Pres. Bush said, ""People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the US." You're a loyal Republican; why not follow the leader?

PENCE: On this deal, I think the president was ill-served by an antiquated process. We ought to talk about changing that in ways that reflect the post-9/11 world. While we cherish our relationship with the United Arab Emirates, that this was just a bridge too far in that new relationship given some of their troubling associations in the past. The Congress will soon reaffirm the importance of our new relationship with the UAE.

Q: And how do you do that?

PENCE: I hope to be a part of conversations ensuring that the royal family in Dubai knows that while this particular deal was not possible in our new relationship, that there's a great deal of gratitude for their support of our War on Terror.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: FOX News Sunday interview by Chris Wallace

Ken Salazar on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Oct 15, 2004)
Fight war on terror without sacrificing our freedoms

We must also commit ourselves to fight terror without sacrificing the very freedoms we are fighting to protect. Many terrorists see our way of life and our personal freedoms as a direct challenge: We are democratic, they are autocratic; we value diversity, they demand religious, cultural or political uniformity. By protecting the rights and liberties that define America, even as we fight terrorism, we demonstrate that our strength and justice flow from these American principles.
Click for Ken Salazar on other issues.   Source: 2004 Senate campaign website,

Ken Salazar on War on Terror: (Homeland Security Oct 15, 2004)
Fighting war on terror is not easy nor inexpensive

None of what we must do to meet the challenges of national defense and homeland security is easy or inexpensive. But failure to act aggressively and wisely will cost more in the long run, both in terms of human lives, and the impact on our economy, security, and freedom.
Click for Ken Salazar on other issues.   Source: 2004 Senate campaign website,

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