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Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Blasts Cheney For Blindly Supporting Saudi Arms Deal

August 01, 2007

Renews call for a rethinking of American foreign policy

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Following Vice President Dick Cheney's comments last night affirming his support for the proposed $20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Senator John Edwards today called on Congress to speak out and oppose the deal. Edwards believes the proposed deal with Saudi Arabia could have negative consequences for the future of the region, and does nothing to shut down terrorism and get to its roots.

Edwards believes the United States needs a new approach to foreign policy. Instead of a foreign policy that is only focused on today, we need a tough, thoughtful, long-term approach focused on solving problems rather than just reacting to them, and using carrots and sticks to get everyone -- friends and foes alike -- to assist the U.S. in stopping terrorists and creating greater global security. The arms deal with Saudi Arabia lets them dictate the terms and doesn't demand they do enough to shut down terrorists and support security in Iraq and the region in return. It is not in the long-term interests of the United States or the region and could also trigger a regional arms race, even inciting Iran to accelerate their nuclear agenda.

"As we have seen, this Vice President is no expert when it comes to predicting the outcome of major foreign policy decisions," Edwards said. "Instead of the ad hoc foreign policy we've gotten from this Administration, we need a tough, strategic approach. The proposed Saudi arms deal is not in the long-term interests of the United States. Congress needs to stand firm against the White House and block this deal."

In June, Edwards laid out an aggressive plan to shut down terrorism. As commander-in-chief, he will confront terrorists and others who intend to do us harm with the full force of our military might. As president, he will apply the full extent of our security apparatus to protect our vital interests, to take measures to root out terrorist cells, and to strike swiftly and strongly against those who would do us harm.

Edwards believes the American people deserve a real foreign policy debate—not about small issues, like whether we'll have diplomacy before meetings—but about big issues like terrorism, stability, and how we make America safer. Earlier this year, Edwards laid out a mission-focused plan to shut down terrorists and stand up for American values. With terrorism around the world on the rise, Edwards believes we need a change from the Bush "Global War on Terror" Doctrine, which has backfired and has only been used to justify the worst abuses of his administration.

Edwards' plan to rethink America's foreign policy and fight terrorism is below:

John Edwards' Plan against Terrorism: A Strategy To Shut Down Terrorists and Stop Terrorism before It Starts

There is no question that America is less safe today because of the president's "War on Terror Doctrine." The president's own State Department released a report a little over a month ago stating that there was a 29% increase in terrorism worldwide from 2005 to 2006, with most events in Iraq and Afghanistan, where thousands of Americans are at risk. More than 20,000 people died and more than 38,000 were injured in 14,000 terrorist events, an increase of 40%. And according to a recent article in Foreign Affairs, al Qaeda has recently been strengthening its reach—not only across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but even in Europe.

Even worse, President Bush's "War on Terror Doctrine" has undermined the military strength that is America's greatest resource against terrorists. The policy has placed our service members under incredible stress and repeated deployments, while drawing down our resources and equipment.

As president, Edwards will put America on an offensive footing against those who would harm us. First, Edwards will strengthen our military to better address the threat posed by terrorist groups to the United States. Second, he recognizes what our military commanders have made clear – military action is only one of the tools we have to stop terrorism; we have to supplant the lure of violent extremism with the hope of education, opportunity, and prosperity.

As commander-in-chief, Edwards will employ a more effective strategy to hunt down those who would threaten us, including Islamic extremists, and to shut down terrorism where it starts—in weak and failing states, which breed instability and radicalism. Edwards will:

  • Rebalance our force structure for the challenges of the new century
  • Ensure our intelligence strategy adheres to proven and effective methods
  • Hold regular meetings with top military leadership
  • Create a "Marshall Corps" to stabilize weak and failing states
  • Rebuild equipment
  • Create a National Security Budget

The Edwards Plan will move beyond the disastrous Bush Terror Doctrine to a real strategy against terrorism—and toward a real security based on hope, not fear. For more than two hundred years, America has defeated our enemies through strength, through ideas, with confidence, and with honor. To win the struggle against terror and uphold the greatness of America, we must do the same once again—we must come together, and cast fear aside.

The Edwards Plan

As president, Edwards will take the following six key steps to shut down terrorism -- both its effects and its root causes.

  • Force Structure: The force structure of our military should match its mission. The Administration's mismanagement of the military has not only breached the faith at the highest levels—it has led to a very dangerous situation for our security. We are sending some troops back to Iraq with less than a year's rest. Edwards believes we need to ensure that our force structure is well-equipped for the challenges of the new century. We must have enough troops to rebuild from Iraq; to bolster deterrence; to decrease our heavy reliance on Guard and Reserve members in military operations; and to deploy in Afghanistan and any other trouble spots that could develop. As president, Edwards will also double the budget for recruiting and raise the standards for the recruiting pool so that we can reduce waivers issued for recruits with felonies, which have skyrocketed under President Bush.
  • Intelligence Strategy: We must aggressively gather intelligence in accordance with proven methods. Valuable information can be gained through interrogation, both about past and future attacks, and we must do everything we can to gather this information to keep us and our allies secure. At the same time, we must avoid actions that will give terrorists or even other nations an excuse to abandon international law. As president, Edwards will immediately address the issues that have become blemishes on America's image in the world by closing Guantanamo Bay, restoring habeas corpus, and banning torture.
  • Meetings with Military Leadership: The past few years have brought the biggest crisis in civil-military relations in a generation. The mismanagement of the Pentagon has been so severe that many of our most decorated retired officers are speaking out. As president, Edwards will institute regular, on-on-one meetings with top military leadership. He will also reinstate a basic doctrine of national security management that has been demolished by the Bush Administration: military professionals will have primary responsibility in matters of tactics and operations, while civilian leadership will have authority in all matters of broad strategy and political decisions.
  • "Marshall Corps": Weak and failing states create hotbeds for terrorism and create regional instability that creates security dangers for the U.S. and our allies. As president, Edwards will create a "Marshall Corps" of 10,000 professionals, modeled on the Reserves systems, who will work on stabilization and humanitarian missions. He will also implement new training for future military leadership and create a undersecretary for stabilization and a new senior stabilization position within the Joint Staff.
  • Rebuild Equipment. Over 1,000 vehicles like tanks and helicopters have been lost in Iraq, and our equipment is being used at a rate of five to six times its peacetime use. Our forces are not equipped to meet the challenges presented to them. As president, Edwards will re-invest in the maintenance of our equipment so our strategy against terrorists is as effective as possible.
  • National Security Budget: The military budget itself also needs substantial reforms to keep us as safe as possible and to deal with 21st century threats. Today, dozens of agencies perform overlapping tasks, and there is no central, overall accounting of all security activities performed by all relevant agencies. We have nuclear proliferation programs in the Defense, State, and the Energy departments, and more than 15 different security assistance programs, running out of both the State Department and the Defense Department. As president, Edwards will implement a new National Security Budget that will include all security activities by the Pentagon and the Department of Energy, and our homeland security, intelligence, and foreign affairs agencies.

John Edwards, Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Blasts Cheney For Blindly Supporting Saudi Arms Deal Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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