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Bachmann's response to "homegrown" British terror plot: "military action...in other parts of the world"

Michele Bachmann made the following statement today on the recently-uncovered plot to bomb airliners heading from England to America:

(Woodbury, MN) – State Senator Michele Bachmann, Republican candidate for Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, commented today that news of a thwarted 9/11 type commercial airlines hijacking plan is a chilling reminder that the world democracies must still be ever vigilant. “The fight against global terrorism is never-ending,? said Bachmann. “Today’s events in Great Britain demonstrate our need for continued vigilance and the need to win the War on Terror at home and aboard [sic]. I believe the terrorists. They say they are committed to doing harm to the United States and this plot further reveals their goal.

The necessary safeguards need to be in place to keep our citizens safe here and abroad. The discovery and arrest of the terror suspects validates our need to be vigilant everyday.

This is a victory for the intelligence community and the watchful citizens who were on high alert for patterns of suspicious behavior. Our goal must be to catch those who plot against us before they can implement their dastardly acts. We need to track down these people and in due process, deliver the ultimate penalty our society can place on them.

“If elected to Congress, I will work non-stop to assist in strengthening our homeland security needs and support military action that needs to be taken in other parts of the world to fight terrorism,? stated Bachmann. “It is imperative we give our intelligence agencies the tools they need to fight terrorism wherever it exists. We must continue to support the Patriot Act and strengthen our borders to help keep a protective shield around our citizens.?

I wonder if she actually said "aboard" instead of "abroad." That would be kind of funny.

Anyway, I don't think I would disagree with much of Bachmann's statement. Do we need to support the intelligence community, strengthen our borders, and uncover these plots before they happen? Absolutely. I don't think you'd find a Democrat who would disagree with you on any of these points. Though, admittedly, there is no link on Wetterling's too-skimpy "Issues" page about "National Security," she does have this to say about border control and national security:

When elected to Congress, I will:

* Work with Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan basis to make our borders more secure;
* Work to increase the rate of border enforcement;
* Vote to give Homeland Security the budget it needs to get the job done;

Basically, Wetterling takes the same positions as Bachmann on national security.

But Bachmann goes a step further. Even though this terror plot is described as "homegrown" (more details are sure to come later), Bachmann says she "support[s] military action that needs to be taken in other parts of the world to fight terrorism." Please, somebody tell me how bombing another country to smithereens would have stopped this attack, or any of the other attacks that have been perpetrated or attempted in the past 20 years? The way to fight terrorism, in the short term, is to beef up law enforcement efforts, to support efforts to gather intelligence on terrorist threats, to investigate and cut off the terrorists' means of financial support and recruitment, to better control our borders and keep tabs on those entering from other countries, and to secure our ports, airports, public transit systems, and other potential targets.

Bush, Cheney, Rove (all Bachmann cronies), and the Republicans talk a tough game on the "Global War on Terror" and the war in Iraq, but have they really made our country safer since 9/11? In June 2005, 52% of Americans believed that the war in Iraq has made us less safe from terrorism. Support for the war has eroded still further since then, so a larger majority probably now agrees with this statement. I believe that the war in Iraq has diverted resources that could be used to really make us safe against terrorism. It has increased anti-American sentiment across the globe, increasing the ability of al Qaeda and other groups to recruit potential terrorists. Meanwhile, critical areas of national security have been neglected almost entirely.

Here are some statistics compiled by About.com's Deborah White in December 2005:


Factor by which passengers on mass transit systems exceed passengers on airlines: 16

Funding per passenger the Bush Administration has spent to secure mass transit systems since September 11, 2001: $0.01

Cost of security upgrades needed to protect rail and transit systems as estimated by U.S. transit authorities: $6 billion

Amount of funding designated specifically for rail and transit security in President Bush's budget: $0

Total amount of funding added to the Fiscal Year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for rail security in the wake of the July 7 London Bombings: $0

Number of provisions in federal law requiring chemical facilities to establish safeguards against a terrorist attack: 0

Number of chemical facilities at which a terrorist strike could threaten the lives of over 1 million people: 123

Percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports inspected for WMD: <1

Percent of "high-risk" cargo inspected: 17.5

Estimated economic impact of a terrorist attack to a U.S. port: $1 trillion

Percent of Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2005 budget allocated for port security grants: 2.8

Deadline for meeting port security standards set by the Maritime Transportation Security Act: 2004

Year in which MTSA port security standards will be met if port security funding levels remain constant: 2050

Ratio of federal air security screeners to federal surface transportation (rail and public transit) security screeners: 450:1

Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands in Fiscal Year 2004: $104.35

Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to California in Fiscal Year 2004: $4.97

In short, the Republican "national security" program is not working. Michele Bachmann's solution is to hype the Iraq war and threaten military action against... who? Should we be bombing London's Pakistani neighbo(u)rhoods? Nuking Iran? Would that have stopped these terrorists?

Democrats like John Kerry, Harry Reid, and Ned Lamont spoke out today on the disastrous effects the Iraq war has had on our national security, and were promptly attacked for "playing politics" with national security-- contradicting RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's own words from the 2004 campaign, when he said that the war in Iraq and national security were "entirely appropriate issues for election campaigns." Here's Kerry:

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts...said America was "not as safe as we can and must be" and in part blamed the president's focus on Iraq.

"This event exposes the misleading myth that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. In fact, the war in Iraq has become a dangerous distraction and a profound drain on our financial and military resources," Kerry said.

Patty Wetterling's national security plan seems to be simple. Step 1: withdraw our troops from Iraq, eliminating this resource drain, distraction, and rallying cry for jihadists. Step 2: improve our homeland security for real by increasing border security and increasing resources available to the Department of Homeland Security to prevent attacks on America. I would agree that Wetterling needs to present a comprehensive plan for national security; I hope she will do this sooner rather than later.

Wetterling is also the only candidate in this race to address the only long-term solution to the problem of global terrorism: to eliminate the conditions that breed terrorism. In a questionnaire for the Global Solutions PAC, Patty Wetterling is on record supporting initiatives that will fight poverty worldwide, thereby helping to eliminate the conditions that can make the "solutions" offered by bin Laden and other extremists attractive:

4. Will you actively work to allocate an additional one percent of the U.S. budget to Official Development Assistance in order to match the commitments of our G8 partners and other allies to help reduce hunger, poverty, disease and other agreed upon goals?

[Wetterling's answer]
Yes.

Providing people in poor populations the economic opportunity to sustain themselves is an important part of our national security to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Where is Michele Bachmann's press release on fighting the "War on Poverty" that is the only long-term solution that can combat the influence of bin Laden, Hizbollah, and other hateful ideologies? Bachmann inadvertently said something in her press release that is very illuminating. She described the war on terror as "never-ending." With her idea that we can stop (but apparently not "end") terrorism by attacking other countries, the "Global War on Terror" truly will be never-ending. I think that's the appeal for Bush, Cheney, Rove, Bachmann, and others like them. Wetterling knows there's a better way.

Comments

I think the difference you have to figure on; Bachmann would want keep the same ideas and top DoD faces in place - civilian and military, while Wetterling would push for something fresh for a change.

Kissinger and Powell-Armitage said at the start, do not go in without an exit stragegy; and Powell-Armitage had the famous Pottery Barn comment.

They went in with no exit strategy; and now things are mired in failure; and still there is no Presidential exit strategy - more of, stay the course.

Moreover, the GOP is wholly blowing smoke with "cut and run" terminology.

It is false language. I think many, in both parties would prefer "plan and execute" vs. the "fiddle and muddle" we face now.

Other than the Green Zone, US troops do not control much. We hear less of the "private contractors" now, so it looks as if the mercs were phased out as the Iraqi forces were recruited and phased in.

It is not an easy question, but I see Wetterling as inherently more flexible - because she is not having to have the very folks who delivered failure and stasis come into town and shake money trees for her.

Patty Wetterling can be independent and bipartisan. Michele Bachmann is owned by the hand that feeds her, isn't she?

Rove, Cheney, now Bush in town for BACHMANN BUCKS - so go figure. How independent can you be with that?