George W. Bush on Homeland Security

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Bush Doctrine: Put state sponsors of terrorism on notice

We decided to put state sponsors on notice: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." The President paused over that line and looked at me. I asked him if he felt that he needed to say that now. He said that he did but asked if I had a different view. I told him that I thought he had to say it in the first message because later on it would lost its impact. I consulted with the Vice President and called Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld and read the line to them. Everyone agreed, and that line became known as one of the most important elements of the "Bush Doctrine."
Source: No Higher Honor, by Condoleezza Rice, p. 77 , Nov 1, 2011

Geneva convention does not apply to al Qaeda & Taliban

A few months after September 11, President Bush sent out a "mass memo" that lays out why the al Qaeda and Taliban detainees were "unlawful combatants" and so the Geneva Convention calling for humane treatment of POWs did not apply to them. Well, if they're not covered by an international agreement, shouldn't they be covered by the laws of the United States and our Constitution and Bill of Rights? My point being, this situation has to fall under SOMEBODY'S law. Bush wrote:
Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.260-262 , Apr 4, 2011

Post-9-11: authorized attacks on terrorists amid civilians

After 9/11, Bush's Justice Dept. wrote up a long memo with the subject line: "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the US." The whole concept basically shreds our Bill of Rights. In short, "constitutional rules regulating law enforcement activity are not applicable." The military could even "attack civilian targets where suspected terrorists were thought to be." And later, "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully."

Where does it say that, if you call something "terrorism," the Constitution and the Bill of Rights can be made null and void? All they've got to do is say the word and they can put you under surveillance without a warrant. To me, this smacks of an attack on the foundations of democracy that plays right into the HANDS of terrorists. It also sets a precedent for the kinds of tactics we went to see at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere.

Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.250 , Apr 4, 2011

Former librarian Laura disliked PATRIOT Act library snooping

The USA PATRIOT Act modernized our counterterrorism capabilities by giving investigators access to tools like roving wiretaps. It authorized aggressive financial measures to freeze terrorist assets. And it included judicial and congressional oversight to protect civil liberties.

One provision created a little discomfort at home. The PATRIOT Act allowed the government to seek warrants to examine the business records of suspected terrorists, such as credit card receipts, apartment leases, and library records. As a former librarian, Laura didn't like the idea of federal agents snooping around libraries. I didn't, either. But the intelligence community had serious concerns about terrorists using library computers to communicate. Library records had played a role in several high-profile cases, such as the Zodiac gunman murders in California. The last thing I wanted was to allow the freedom and access to information provided by American libraries to be utilized against us by al Qaeda.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.161 , Nov 9, 2010

2001: Overturning FISA review authorized by war resolution

NSA had the capability to monitor those al Qaeda phone calls into the United States before 9/11. But he didn't have the legal authority to do it without receiving a court order, a process that could be difficult and slow.

I asked the White House counsel's office and the Justice Department to study whether I could authorize the NSA to monitor al Qaeda communications into and out of the country without FISA warrants.

Both told me I could. They concluded that conducting surveillance against our enemies in war fell within the authorities granted by the congressional war resolution and the constitutional authority of the commander in chief.

Before I approved the Terrorist Surveillance Program, I wanted to ensure there were safeguards to prevent abuses. I had no desire to turn the NSA into an Orwellian Big Brother. The Terrorist Surveillance Program had been carefully designed to protect the civil liberties of innocent people.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.163-164 , Nov 9, 2010

Preventive War doctrine seen as path to security

Consider the first scholarly work on the roots of George W. Bush's preventive war doctrine, issued in September 2002 in preparation for the invasion of Iraq--which was then already under way, [despite Bush] pretending to be seeking a diplomatic settlement. The study was written by the distinguished Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis, and has been much admired in the general and scholarly literature. The core principle of the Bush doctrine, as Gaddis writes approvingly, is that "expansion, we have assumed, is the path to security, "Gaddis traces this doctrine to the "lofty, idealistic tradition of John Quincy Adams and Woodrow Wilson."

The Clinton doctrine, presented to Congress, was that the United States is entitled to resort to "unilateral use of military power" to ensure "uninhabited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources."

Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 23-24 , Jun 1, 2010

OpEd: innovation in torture is to have US agents doing it

Even without inquiry, it was reasonable to suppose that Guantanamo was a torture chamber. Why else send prisoners where they would be beyond the reach of the law--incidentally, a place that Washington is using in violation of a treaty that was forced on Cuba at the point of a gun? Security reasons are alleged, but they are hard to take seriously. The same expectations held for secret prisons and rendition, and were fulfilled.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld et al, did introduce some important innovations. Ordinarily, torture is farmed out to subsidiaries under US supervision, not carried out by Americans directly in the government-established torture chambers. What the Obama [ban on torture] ostensibly knocks off is that small percentage of torture now done by Americans while retaining the overwhelming bulk of the system's torture, which is done by foreigners under US patronage.

Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 260-261 , Jun 1, 2010

Supreme Court ordered habeas for Gitmo detainees

In the important case of Boumediene v. Bush in June 2008, the Supreme Court rejected as unconstitutional the Bush administration claim that prisoners in Guantanamo are not entitled to the right of habeas corpus. Seeking to "preserve the power to abduct people from around the world" and imprison them without due process, the Bush administration decided to ship them to Bagram, in Afghanistan, treating "the Boumediene ruling, grounded in our most basic constitutional guarantees, as though it was some sort of a silly game--fly your abducted prisoners to Guantanamo and they have constitutional rights, but fly them instead to Bagram and you can disappear them forever with no judicial process."

Obama adopted the Bush position. In March, a Bush-appointed federal judge "rejected the Bush /Obama position and held that the rationale of Boumediene applies every bit as much to Bagram as it does to Guantanamo."

Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p.262-263 , Jun 1, 2010

OpEd: Focused on denial of 9/11 warnings despite warnings

The way I see it, with all the advance warnings about a terrorist attack, a fair number of Bush's team should have gotten the axe. Except, right up to the president himself, it was all about denial. Here was Bush in 2001: "Had I had any inkling whatsoeve that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings, we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country."

Israel sent two senior agents of the Mossad to Washington in August 2001 to "alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many as 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation." Eight months before the attacks, French intelligence warned the U.S. in nine different reports about "Airplane Hijacking Plans by Radical Islamists" connected to bin Laden and the Taliban. FBI agents working out of the Minneapolis and Phoenix offices tried to alert their superiors.

Source: American Conspiracies, by Jesse Ventura, p.154-155 , Mar 8, 2010

Terrorists aren't POWs, so not entitled to Geneva Convention

Guantanamo [prisoners] were not POWs in the traditional sense. Those apprehended were not soldiers of a sovereign nation. Our approach to the treatment of those labeled "unlawful enemy combatants," as opposed to the traditional "prisoners of war," began to concern me when it became clear no plan existed other than indefinite if not permanent imprisonment. The administration argued that because these people are not state-sponsored, they are not entitled to the usual protections of the Geneva Convention, and have no rights to our time-honored (and constitutionally guaranteed) principle of habeas corpus. The White House had been staunchly opposed to giving detainees access to civilian courts, later arguing that military tribunals sufficed. Constitutional lawyers argued--and the Supreme Court agreed--that such a position was impermissible and that habeas corpus extends to those captured in a time of war even if they don't fit into traditional categories.
Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.144-145 , Sep 1, 2009

Created DHS; reorganization since 1947 creation of DoD

On June 7, 2002, Pres. Bush announced the creation of a new cabinet position, the most dramatic reorganization of the federal government since 1947, when the National Defense Act took the Air Force out from under army supervision, combined the War and Navy Departments into the Department of Defense, and created the CIA. The president said, "I do not believe that anyone could have prevented the horror of September 11, yet we know that thousands of trained killers are plotting to attack us, and this terrible knowledge requires us to act differently."

The new Department of Homeland Security would be composed of nearly 180,000 federal employees, drawn from parts or all of 22 units of government, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, element of the INS, security guards at airports, and Customs. The department would have an initial budget of $37.5 billion. Even so, it was less than the budget of the Department of Education and less than 1/10 of what the Department of Defense spends in a year.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.130-131 , Sep 1, 2009

2002 USA Freedom Corps included Peace Corps & AmeriCorps

Very few of us recall that in his 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced the USA Freedom Corps and asked all of us to serve our country by volunteering. The USA Freedom Corps, which most of us know nothing about, consists of the Peace Corps, the Citizens Corps, AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the Senior Corps. The last three are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which supports service and volunteering by functioning as the country's biggest grant maker.

During the Depression, the WPA provided jobs to lift Americans out of poverty. Today we need national-service jobs so that more Americans can give back out of their abundance' others still need to be lifted out of poverty. A year of civilian service can be a path for those who have dropped out of school or who are trapped in dead-end jobs to gain some marketable skills and make a fresh start.

Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p.190-191 , Nov 18, 2008

Our enemy hates freedom; our enemy hates innocent life

"We're under attack because we love freedom, is why we're under attack. And our enemy hates freedom. They hate and we love. We differ from our enemy because we love. We not only love our freedoms and love our values, we love life itself. Our enemy hates innocent life."
--George W. Bush, addressing schoolchildren, September 23, 2002
"This is a man who cannot stand what we stand for. He hates the fact, like al-Qaeda does, that we love freedom. See, they can't stand that."
--George W. Bush, on Saddam, October 31, 2002
"They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love."
--George W. Bush, August 29, 2002
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 20 , Oct 1, 2008

First reaction to 9/11: get military ready on many fronts

Bush told the military to "be ready." Just 3 weeks [after 9/11], our military took the offensive in Afghanistan with help from Great Britain & the support of a broad international coalition that would grow to more than 90 countries.

The administration also took action at home. In the immediate aftermath, there was no higher priority than the response and recovery efforts, and helping NYC rebuild. Perhaps most significant was the effort to clamp down on those permitted to come into the country.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.108 , May 28, 2008

Believed military was needed for Katrina response

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the discussion then turned to the possibility of federalizing the response and asserting US military control over New Orleans, an option that had been under serious discussion since earlier in the week. Bush believed that the military was the only organization disciplined and organized enough to come in and stabilize the situation quickly.
Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.288 , May 28, 2008

FactCheck: Wiretapping authority foiled no terrorist plots

Bush argued for extension of wiretap authority for US officials, but misleadingly claimed “we” broke up a plot to blow up airplanes headed to the US from Europe. Bush said, “In the past six years, we have stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and another to blow up passenger jets bound for America over the Atlantic.”

The London plot, however, was actually broken up in August 2006 by British law enforcement, according to news accounts at the time and also according to Bush himself. If wiretaps by US officials played any role, no administration official has yet said so publicly, despite plenty of opportunity.

To be sure, at other times Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has said there was some involvement by the US, though he has yet to say what that role was. We find no public claim that the special wiretap program secretly authorized by Pres. Bush after the 2001 terrorist attacks had anything to do with foiling the plot.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2008

2001: Withdraw from outdated & dangerous ABM Treaty

The Bush-Putin meeting focused largely on strategic issues, as Bush explained to Putin we were leaving the ABM Treaty. Putin responded that he would not object if we withdrew, but he did not see that the treaty actually limited what we wanted to do. If so, why withdraw? Bush candidly explained that our military had not had a full opportunity to decide on offensive numbers. In the subsequent press conference, Bush called the treaty not only "outdated," but "dangerous."
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 69 , Nov 6, 2007

OpEd: War on Terror means Geneva Convention don't apply

Before the Supreme Court ruling in "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld," Pres. Bush had seized unprecedented war powers. He rejected domestic law and international treaties on methods of interrogation--a policy that led to allegations internationally that Americans endorse torture. The president has maintained that the US is in a state of war against terrorism, and therefore he has the authority to hold enemy combatants indefinitely without trial.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that the president needed the approval of Congress to pursue these measures. The president's quick response was to propose legislation that would have Congress rubber-stamp his initial practices--reinstating the commissions as originally structured and redefining the Geneva conventions by weakening its protections. He demanded a free hand in interrogations--a circumstance, we know from the examples of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and secret prisons around the globe, that was deeply troubling.

Source: Letters from Nuremberg, by Chris Dodd, p. 16-17 , Sep 11, 2007

War on Terror is a decisive ideological struggle

It remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people.

This war is more than a clash of arms--it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies--and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers, and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security--we must.

Source: 2007 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 23, 2007

92,000 more in Armed Forces; plus Civilian Reserve Corps

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties.

One of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military--so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. And it would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

Source: 2007 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 23, 2007

2004 anti-Bush TV ad: AWOL from National Guard

George Bush got out of college in 1968, the height of the draft. He used his father's contacts to get a spot in the Texas guard. He then wanted to go work on an Alabama senate race. He went to Alabama for one year. He didn't show up [for National Guard duty].

My AWOL attack generated such intense buzz [that the press] asked the President directly if he could defend himself. "I served in the National Guard," Bush said. "I flew F-102 aircraft. I got an honorable discharge. I've heard this ever since I started running for office. I put in my time, proudly so."

Q: "There's no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972."

A: "Yea, they're just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged."

Bush could not defend himself against my daily AWOL attacks for the simple reason that his past was indefensible. His approval rating fell [that month] from 58% to 50%.

Source: What A Party!, by Terry McAuliffe, p. 4 , Jan 23, 2007

9/11: First Lady served as "Comforter-in-Chief"

In the aftermath of 9/11, there was great turmoil and uncertainty across the country as well, and my brother--and our First Lady--sought to comfort our nation while also showing our resolve to the world. Laura's calm demeanor and nurturing personality reassured us all. One of the media outlets dubbed the First Lady the "Comforter in Chief" for the way she helped to pull us all through. On September 14, the president and First Lady led the nation in prayer at a service held at the National Cathedral.
Source: My Father, My President, by Doro Koch Bush, p.494 , Oct 6, 2006

No nuclear restrictions on India, even though NPT rejected

In rejecting or evading almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the past 50 years, the US has now become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation. Former secretary of defense Robert McNamara summed up his concerns in the May/June 2005 issue of "Foreign Policy" magazine: "I would characterize current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous."

India conducted nuclear test explosions in 1998. The key inducement for NPT membership is that those in compliance will have exclusive access to highly sensitive nuclear technology. As a further move that weakened the non-proliferation effort, President Bush has announced plans to lift these restrictions and grant this privilege to India, which has rejected the NPT. This is a clear incitement for other nations to violate the treaty's restraints.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.136-138 , Sep 26, 2006

OpEd: permanent Patriot Act legalizes abuse of civil liberty

Following the attacks of 9/11, the US government overreacted by detaining more than 1,200 innocent men throughout America. Almost all of them were Arabs or Muslims.

To legalize such abuses of civil liberties, the Patriot Act was hurriedly enacted, with a number of temporary provisions scheduled to expire in 2005. The president has called for the law to be expanded and made permanent, but even the conservative "patriots" have deplored such provisions as authorization for federal agents to search people's homes and businesses secretly, to confiscate property without any deadline or without giving notice that the intrusion has taken place, and to collect without notice personal information on American citizens, including their medical histories, books checked out of libraries, and goods they purchase. The government can now seize an entire database--all the medical records of a hospital or all the files of an immigration group--when it is investigating a single person.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.118-119 , Sep 26, 2006

Signing statement: Only president decides which intel to use

Pres. Bush issued this signing statement instructing federal agencies on his interpretation of Congressional laws:

Aug. 5, 2004: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches.

Bush’s signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.

Source: Boston Globe, analysis of presidential signing statements , Apr 30, 2006

FactCheck: Yes, there are more democracies now, but not Iraq

The President spoke of the growing number of nations in the world that live under democratic governments, saying, ?In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. We’re writing a new chapter in the story of self-government“ in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President’s numbers come from Freedom House, a nonprofit group that tracks levels of democracy and freedom around the globe. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. And we’re writing a new chapter in the story of self-government -- with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom.

Source: 2006 State of the Union speech , Feb 1, 2006

Support democratic reform across the broader Middle East

Our offense against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred & fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom & peaceful change. The US supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital, but they’re only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address , Jan 31, 2006

Post-WWII world has grown from 24 lonely democracies to 122

In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. And we’re writing a new chapter in the story of self-government -- with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom.
Source: 2006 State of the Union speech , Jan 31, 2006

A president must not shift in the wind

Here's an excerpt from Bush's address at Tinker Field in Orlando, Florida, on October 30, 2004:

"A president must not shift in the wind; a president has to make tough decisions and stand by them. Especially in a time of war, mixed signals only confuse our friends and embolden our enemies. All progress on every other issue depends on the safety of our citizens. Americans will go to the polls Tuesday in a time of war and ongoing threats. The terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people are still dangerous, and they're determined to strike. The most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty or weakness in these troubling times, the world will drift toward tragedy. This is not going to happen on my watch."

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 27 , Oct 25, 2005

Has used Patriot Act to thwart several terrorist attacks

Will we experience another9/11? Who knows. It is not as if the bad guys have not been trying. Dozens of attacks have been foiled. The most notable--the attempt to blow up the Brooklyn bridge--came to the government’s attention through some of the very provisions of the Patriot Act the Left would like to repeal. But as President Bush says, in our efforts to discover and stop attacks, we have to be right every time; the terrorists only have to be right once. This is an intolerable way to have to live.

The better course of action would be to disempower terrorists by denying them funding. In the near term, the Bush administration has shown a willingness to adopt measures to close down charities that pass their donations to terrorists; these have been effective. In the long term, however, the only way to avoid living under a cloud of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist is to stop buying foreign oil.

Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p.253-254 , Oct 11, 2005

We are not going to have a draft

Q: How do you intend to maintain our military presence without reinstituting a draft?

A: We’re not going to have a draft, period. The all-volunteer Army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well, it works when we make sure they’ve got housing, like we have done in the last military budgets. An all-volunteer Army is best-suited to fight the new wars of the 21st century, which is to be specialized and to find these people as they hide around the world. We don’t need mass armies anymore. We’re beginning to transform our military, and by that I mean we’re moving troops out of Korea and replacing them with more effective weapons. So, the answer to your question is, we’re withdrawing, not from the world, we’re withdrawing manpower so they can be stationed here in America so there’s less rotation so life is easier on their families and, therefore, more likely to be - we’ll be more likely to be able to keep people in the all-volunteer Army.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

We’ve tripled the homeland security budget

KERRY: 95% of our containers coming into this country are not inspected today. When you get on an airplane, your bag is x-rayed but the cargo hold isn’t x-rayed. Bush chose a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans over getting that equipment out into the homeland as fast as possible. We have bridges and tunnels that aren’t being secured. Chemical plants, nuclear plants that aren’t secured. Hospitals that are overcrowded with their emergency rooms. If we had a disaster today, could they handle it?

BUSH: We’ve tripled the homeland security budget from $10 to $30 billion. We’ll do everything we can to protect the homeland. We need good intelligence. Right after 1993 he voted to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion.

KERRY: Pres. Bush just said to you that we’ve added money. The test is not if you’ve added money. The test is have you done everything possible to make America secure. He chose a tax cut for wealthy Americans over the things that I listed to you.

Source: [Xref kerry] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation

KERRY: Right now Bush is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We’re telling other people, “You can’t have nuclear weapons,” but we’re pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. We’re going to get the job of containing all of that nuclear material in Russia done in four years. And we’re going to build the strongest international network to prevent nuclear proliferation.

BUSH: We’ve decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I’ve been the president. The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that’s why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer. Over 60 nations involved with disrupting the trans-shipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

OpEd: Pre-emptive war is not America's way

Conservatives credit the Reagan Doctrine with playing a decisive role in America's Cold War victory. Yet Reagan never asserted a US right to launch preemptive strikes or preventive wars on nations that had not attacked the US.

Bush's aides believe a right of preemptive attack and preventive war is inherent in the national right to self-defense. In the Cuban missile crisis, they argue, Kennedy was prepared to attack the missile sites in Cuba rather than let them become operational. True, but the Soviet missile threat in Cuba appeared both grave and imminent. Those were nuclear missiles that could strike Washington from their Cuban bases in 20 minutes.

Preemptive strikes have been the war options exercised by aggressor nations like Japan at Port Arthur in 1904 and at Pearl Harbor, and Hitler's Germany against Poland. Or they have been the first resort of nations that cannot afford to lose a battle, like Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. But preemptive strikes have never been America's way.

Source: Where the Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 27-28 , Aug 12, 2004

Deterrence won't work against rogue nations

In 2002, the White House issued a 33-page National Security Strategy:

"Deterrence is less likely to work against leaders of rogue states more willing to take risks, gambling with the lives of their people, and the wealth of their nations. Our enemies see Weapons of Mass Destruction as weapons of choice. These weapons may allow these states to attempt to blackmail the US, to prevent us from deterring or repelling the aggressive behavior of rogue states. Deterrence has worked. With the exception of Korea, 1950, where Stalin and Kim Il Sung, believing we would not fight, miscalculated, deterrence has never failed us. No rogue state has ever attacked the US--for fear of the massive retaliation that would surely follow."

From the passage above, the Bush administration appears to fear that if nations like Iran acquire nuclear weapons, they will use them not to attack us but to curtail our freedom of action and end our dominance of their region.

Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 25-26 , Aug 12, 2004

OpEd: Reagan never asserted pre-emptive right

Under the Truman Doctrine, we went to war in Korea. Under it, JFK and LBJ took us to war in Vietnam. The Reagan Doctrine was a "rollback" strategy under which the US gave aid to anti-Communist rebels fighting Soviet vassal states on the periphery of empire in Nicaragua, Angola, and Afghanistan.

Conservatives credit Reagan and the Reagan Doctrine with playing a decisive role in America's Cold War victory. Yet Reagan never asserted a US right to launch preemptive strikes or preventive wars on nations that had not attacked the US.

Bush's aides believe a right of preemptive attack and preventive war is inherent in the national right of self-defense. Preemptive strikes have been the war options exercised by aggressor nations like Japan at Port Arthur in 1904 and at Pearl Harbor, and Hitler's Germany against Poland. Or they have been the first resort of nations that cannot afford to lose a battle, like Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. But preemptive strikes have never been America's way.

Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 27-28 , Aug 12, 2004

2000: Warned by Clinton that problem was Al Qaeda, not Iraq

President-elect Bush came to the White House for the same meeting I had had with his father 8 years earlier. We talked about the campaign, White House operations, and national security. He was putting together an experienced team from past Republican administrations who believed that the biggest security issues were the need for national missile defense and Iraq. I told him that based on the last 8 years, I thought his biggest security problems, in order, would be Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda; the absence of peace in the Middle East; the standoff between nuclear powers in India and Pakistan; and the ties of the Pakistanis to the Taliban and al Qaeda; North Korea; and then Iraq. I said that my biggest disappointment was not getting bin Laden, that we still might achieve an agreement in the Middle East, and that we had almost tied up a deal with North Korea to end its missile program.

He listened to what I had to say without much comment, then changed the subject to how I did the job.

Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.935 , Jun 21, 2004

Lack of Russian reaction to 9/11 shows Cold War is over

When Bush chose to be serious, he was fine. He said it was interesting Putin himself made sure the Russians didn't react last week, a clear sign the Cold War was over. Both he and Powell were really worried about Pakistan and wanted [British Prime Minister Tony Blair]'s take on how best to help. He said they were going to go for the Taliban after the ultimatum, said the country was run by a bunch of nuts and we had to get a new government in there. He said he had really beaten up on [Israeli leader] Sharon who was clearly trying to use this to go after [Palestinian leader] Arafat. 'I said Arafat is not bin Laden and you do nothing.' [Russian leader] Putin wanted to use it to go after Chechnya even harder. He said they feared Hollywood was the next target because it was high profile, Jewish and decadent. They also had intelligence they would go for Airforce One.
Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.574 , Sep 20, 2001

Bush’s stated military service record is incorrect

Five months after the Globe first reported discrepancies [in Bush’s military service record], Bush’s biography on his presidential campaign Web site remains unchanged, stating that he served as a pilot in the Texas Guard from 1968 to 1973.

In fact, Bush only flew from June 1970 until April 1972. That month he ceased flying altogether, two years before his military commitment ended, an unusual step that has left some veteran fighter pilots puzzled.

A group of Vietnam veterans recently offered a $3,500 reward for anyone who can verify Bush’s claim that he performed service at a Montgomery air guard unit in 1972, when Bush was temporarily in Alabama working on a political campaign. So far, no one has come forward.

A Bush campaign spokesman acknowledged last week that he knows of no witnesses who can attest to Bush’s attendance at drills after he returned to Houston in late 1972 and before his early release from the Guard in September 1973.

Source: Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A14 , Oct 31, 2000

AWOL in Air Guard? Maybe not, but didn’t meet obligations

There is strong evidence that Bush performed no military service, as was required, when he moved from Houston to Alabama to work on a US Senate campaign from May to November 1972. There are no records of any service and the commanding officer of the unit Bush was assigned to said he never saw him. Bush was suspended from flight duty for not taking his annual flight physical.

The Bush campaign’s initial explanation for the lapse “incomplete records,” it now admits, was wrong. An Air Reserve official said last week that they now believe that Bush met minimum drill requirements before his discharge.

The result is that Bush’s discharge was “honorable.” Other current and retired Air Force officers said Bush’s military records are much like those of countless other Guardsmen at the time: guardsmen who lost interest in their units, and commanders who found it easier to muster them out than hold them to a commitment many made to avoid Vietnam.

Source: Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A14 , Oct 31, 2000

Opposed Somalia intervention when it became nation-building

Somalia started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price, and so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow a dictator when it’s in our best interests. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

Be world’s peacemaker instead of world’s policeman

I want to rebuild our military to keep the peace. I want to have a strong hand when it comes to the US and world affairs. I don’t want to try to put our troops in all places at all times. I don’t want to be the world’s policeman. I want to be the world’s peacemaker by having a military of high morale and a military that’s well-equipped. I want to have antiballistic missile systems to protect ourselves and our allies from a rogue nation that may try to hold us hostage or blackmail a friend.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

Rebuild military so it can fulfill mission to prevent war

I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening. And so I take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military. Morale in today’s military is low. We’re having trouble meeting recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we’re overextended in too many places. I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped; bonus plans to keep some of our high-skilled folks in the services; and a commander in chief who clearly sets the mission.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

Bush says military not ready; Pentagon disagrees

Despite Pentagon assurances that all of the U.S. Army’s divisions are “fit to fight and ready to deploy,” Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush refused Friday to concede that the U.S. military is combat-ready. “No, I would not concede that necessarily. I’m amazed that they would put out a statement right after our convention” The U.S. Army said Friday that Bush was wrong when he said in his speech Thursday night to the Republican National Convention that two of the Army’s 10 divisions were not ready to fight. Bush had said: “If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ‘Not ready for duty, sir.’” But Maj. Thomas Collins, an Army spokesman, told CNN: “All 10 Army divisions are combat-ready, fully able to meet their war-fighting mission.”
Source: CNN.com , Aug 4, 2000

Post-Vietnam: just cause; clear goal; overwhelming victory

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam. When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world -- to turn these years of influence into decades of peace. And my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail. Now is the time, not to defend outdated treaties, but to defend the American people.

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention , Aug 3, 2000

Lowest possible number of nukes consistent with security

Bush proposed building a defensive system that would cover all 50 states and could be extended to protect allies in Europe, the Mideast & Asia. In addition to the possibility of large unilateral arms cuts, he said most American nuclear weapons should be removed from hair-trigger alert status. Bush said he wanted to reduce the size of the US nuclear arsenal to the “lowest possible number consistent with our national security” and below the levels called for under the Start II accord with Russia.
Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times on 2000 election , May 28, 2000

Use arms to defend Europe, Far East, Mideast, & Panama

Q: When would you use arms?
A: When it’s in our national strategic interests. Europe is in our national strategic interests. The Far East is in our national strategic interests. Our own hemisphere is in our national strategic interests. The Middle East-protecting Israel is in our national strategic interests. If somebody tries to block passage through the Panama Canal, I would make sure it remains open for trade. It’s in our interests to have a hemisphere that is peaceful and open for trade
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show , Feb 15, 2000

1968: Choice was avoid draft or sign up; I signed up

Numerous questions remain as to whether then-Congressman Bush used improper influence to obtain a coveted slot in the military reserve for his son that allowed him to remain stateside during the war. George W.'s official and oft-repeated version is that he "heard there were pilot slots open" at a unit of the Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Air Force Base, and simply "signed up to fly a single-seat F-102 Interceptor," which provided him with a deferment. "Your options either were to avoid the draft or sign up," Bush acknowledged, "and I signed up."

Before enlisting, Bush took the Air Force Officers Qualification test. While scoring 25% for pilot aptitude on the screening test--"about as low as you could get and be accepted"--Bush scored 95% in the "officer quality" section.

His Guard application form asked for "background qualifications of value to the Air Force." Bush wrote "None." On whether he was interested in an overseas assignment, Bush checked the box that said: "do not volunteer."

Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p. 38-39 , Aug 17, 1999

US military is key to preserving world peace

Outside of America’s borders the world is a freer and safer place [than when we grew up]. We must always remember the importance of a strong military, a strong United States of America, to preserve world peace.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M Univ. , Apr 6, 1998

George W. Bush on Military Personnel

Physically sickened by US soldiers' actions at Abu Ghraib

On April 28, CBS News broadcast the first images from a prison named Abu Ghraib outside Baghdad. They showed naked Iraqi prisoners being subjected to disgusting and degrading abuse by the American soldiers assigned to guard them. George was nearly physically sick to think that any American troops could have behaved in this manner. He was angry, too. "Laura," he said, "I have to know how this was ever allowed to happen and to make sure that it never happens again." There are times when the system of command fails, when soldiers fail their junior officers, when junior officers fail their senior officers, and when senior officers and their layers of civilian leadership at the Defense Department fail. Hundreds of people in authority across the system had not looked hard enough, had not done their duty. Suddenly the sacrifice, character, and hard work of more than 100,000 American troops in Iraq was being jeopardized by a few deranged men and women. It sickened and devastated both of us.
Source: Spoken from the Heart, by Laura Bush, p.300 , Apr 5, 2011

2004: Abu Ghraib was low point of presidency

In the spring of 2004, Don came to me with serious news. In defiance of their orders and military law, American soldiers had severely mistreated detainees at an Iraqi prison called Abu Ghraib. I felt sick, really sick. This was not what our military or our country stood for. While the perpetrators were court-martialed, America's reputation took a severe hit. I considered it a low point of my presidency.

I also felt blindsided. Don had told me the military was investigating reports of abuse at the prison, but I had no idea how graphic or grotesque the photos would be. When Don got word of the stories, he [offered to resign] as secretary of defense.

Don was serious about leaving. It was a testament to his character, his loyalty to the office, and his understanding of the damage Abu Ghraib was causing. I seriously considered accepting his advice. But a big factor held me back: There was no obvious replacement for Don, and I couldn't afford to create a vacuum at the top of Defense.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 88-89 , Nov 9, 2010

Committed in 1999 to military buildup

A big job for the next president was figuring out the purpose of American foreign policy. In 1999, Bush attended 5 meetings with various Vulcans [of Condi Rice's team].

At the 1st Vulcan meeting in February 1999, Bush asked, "Is defense to be an issue in the 2000 campaign?" The advisers said they didn't think it would. Bush said he wanted to make defense an issue. He said he wanted to transform the military, to put it in a position to deal with new & emerging threats.

To do that, the advisers said, the military would need new equipment. Bush indicated he was willing to make that investment. Bush gave a speech at The Citadel in Sept: 1999: "I will defend the American people against missiles and terror," Bush said, "And I will begin creating the military of the next century. Homeland defense has become an urgent duty." He cited the potential "threat of biological, chemical and nuclear terrorism. Every group or nation must know, if they sponsor such attacks, our response will be devastating."

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 7-8 , Oct 1, 2006

Increased military pay by 4% per year

The President is committed to taking good care of our military personnel and their families. His fiscal year 2004 budget builds on pay increases of 4% or more in the last two budgets. The budget funds a range of military pay increases from 2 to 6.25%, targeted by rank and years of service. These pay increases enhance our military’s ability to retain its most experienced, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.
Source: 2004 Presidential website, georgewbush.com , Aug 30, 2003

$400M for renovating and improving military housing

In 2002 President Bush made sure that there was an additional $400 million made available to improve military housing. The 2004 budget keeps the Department of Defense on track in its plan to eliminate inadequate military housing. 163,000 inadequate housing units will be eliminated by 2007. The Bush Administration proposes to reduce average out-of-pocket expenses for military families living in local communities to zero by 2005. During 2003, such expenses will drop to 7.5% from 15.0% in 2001.
Source: 2004 Presidential website, georgewbush.com , Aug 30, 2003

Focus on mobility and swiftness, not size of military

We must extend our peace by advancing our technology. We are witnessing a revolution in the technology of war. Power is increasingly defined not by size, but by mobility and swiftness. Advantage increasingly comes from information, such as the three-dimensional images of simulated battle that I have just seen. Safety is gained in stealth and forces projected on the long arc of precision-guided weapons.

The best way to keep the peace is to redefine war on our terms. We have begun a comprehensive review of the US military, the state of our strategy, the structure of our forces, the priorities of our budget. I have given a broad mandate to challenge the status quo as we design a new architecture for the defense of America. We will modernize some existing weapons and equipment, a task we have neglected for too long, but we will do this judiciously and selectively. Our goal is to move beyond marginal improvements to harness new technologies that will support a new strategy.

Source: Speech at Joint Forces Command headquarters, Norfolk, VA , Feb 14, 2001

Spend money on soldiers before sending them to hot spots

Q: What is the proper role for the military?

GORE: The US has to be strong in order to promote peace and stability. We need to make sure that our personnel are adequately paid and that their pay is comparable to the competition from the private sector. I have supported the largest pay raise in many a year. I support another one now. I also support modernization of our tactical weaponry. I think one of the ways we’ve been able to be so successful in Kosovo and other places is by having the technological edge. Now, readiness. I propose $100 billion for this purpose.

BUSH: We have an opportunity to use the great technology of the United States to make our military lighter, harder to find, more lethal. We have an opportunity to keep the peace. I’m going to ask the secretary of defense to develop a plan so we’re making sure we’re not spending our money on political projects, but on projects to make sure our soldiers are well-paid, well-housed and have the best equipment in the world.

Source: (X-ref Gore) St. Louis debate , Oct 17, 2000

Gays in military OK; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” OK

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

A: I support the current ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy crafted by General Colin Powell regarding homosexuals in the military. We are blessed and fortunate to have had so many men and women fight so valiantly for our liberties in America. I respect and admire anyone who has served in any branch of our military and put his or her life on the line for our freedom.

Source: Associated Press on 2000 Presidential race , Sep 6, 2000

Better equipment, better training, and better pay

The world needs America’s strength and leadership, and America’s armed forces need better equipment, better training, and better pay. We will give our military the means to keep the peace, and we will give it one thing more: a commander-in-chief who respects our men and women in uniform, and a commander-in-chief who earns their respect.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention , Aug 3, 2000

$1B more for salary; $20B more for R&D for new weapons

Saying we have “asked our servicemen and women to do too much with too little,” Bush today promoted his agenda for rebuilding America’s military by improving troop morale and investing in research and development. “Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, and rapidly declining readiness. I make this pledge to our men and women in arms: As President, I will preserve American power for American interests. And I will treat American soldiers with the dignity and respect they have earned.“