State of the Union Address
State of the Union Address
"Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not."
- Libya’s strategic decision to seek better relations with the West and give up its weapons of mass destruction programs is testament to 15 years – not 9 months – of diplomatic engagement, and not the power of preemption; broad-based multilateral cooperation, not unilateral action; and transparent international justice, not secretive tribunals. It’s the very course of action that the world suggested – and the President rejected – in Iraq.
"For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."
- Except when it comes to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – the primary rationale for the war. From last year’s State of the Union: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
"As of this month, [Afghanistan] has a new constitution, guaranteeing free elections and full participation by women. The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror and America is honored to be their friend."
- Although Kabul may be relatively free, the rest of Afghanistan is not. The countryside is controlled by warlords and President Harmid Karzai has little power outside the capital city. The U.S. has only 10,000 troops there (as opposed to 130,000 in Iraq) and 16 of the country’s 32 provinces are designated as “no-go” areas for aid workers, threatening the timetable for elections scheduled for this summer.
"This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq."
- The President failed to mention that due to America’s isolation over Iraq, international financial and military commitments are low, requiring the U.S. to bear virtually all of the burden in Iraq. Sustaining more than 100,000 troops in Iraq for years to come will easily push the cost beyond the $200 billion expected in the defense budget. The irony: the Administration official who estimated that the war would cost between $100 and $200 billion was fired.
"Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us."
- The war on terrorism didn’t begin in the United States and it didn’t start on September 11. Ask the people of Israel, Britain, Northern Ireland, Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and the Marines in Beirut in 1983 when the war on terrorism began and they will give the President a very different answer.
"Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America."
- Due to the Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility, there are fewer police patrolling our streets. The country still does not have a consolidated terrorist list available to assist law enforcement across the country and federal grants to enhance port security do not match local funding requirements.
- The President can’t have it both ways. He attacks his critics for viewing terrorism as a crime and a problem to be solved with law enforcement, but defends the Patriot Act by asserting that the same methods used for hunting criminals should be used to hunt terrorists.
"We refuse to live in the shadow of this ultimate danger (of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons)."
- Yet, no effective solution was offered for dealing with North Korea – arguably the most significant threat the U.S. faces today. The budget for Cooperative Threat Reduction programs to secure nuclear materials and experts in the states of the former Soviet Union is grossly under-funded. Furthermore, the President has failed to support critical international treaties related to the global proliferation threat.
"The Administration is promoting free and fair trade, to open up new markets for America's entrepreneurs, and manufacturers, and farmers, and to create jobs for America's workers."
- Most of the Administration’s success in pushing free trade agreements has been with small countries that have less ability to stand up to unfair US demands. Larger agreements, including with Australia, have been stalled over such unfair provisions.
- For example, Costa Rica, the largest Central American economy, opted out of the CAFTA agreement because of the U.S. demands for opening up its markets, without any progress on agriculture.
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