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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Cheney's thoughts on Kerry's 'Sensitive War'

White House Photo by David Bohrer

On August 12, 2004, VP Dick Cheney, in a speech at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio, said the following:
Under the President's leadership, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect the American people here at home. To give law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists, we passed the Patriot Act. To focus our government on the mission of protecting the American people, we created the Department of Homeland Security. To fund cutting edge drugs and other defenses against the possibility of an attack with biological weapons, we set up Project BioShield.

But a good defense is not enough, and so we have also gone on the offense in the war on terror -- but the President's opponent, Senator Kerry, sometimes seems to object. He has even said that by using our strength, we are creating terrorists and placing ourselves in greater danger. But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the world we are living in works. Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. (Applause.)

Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a "more sensitive" war on terror. (Laughter.) America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare -- nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur. A "sensitive war" will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more. The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity. As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. They know that we are in a fight to preserve our freedom and our way of life, and that we are on the side of rights and justice in this battle. Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed. (Applause.)

I listened to what Senator Kerry had to say in Boston, and, with all due respect to the Senator, he views the world as if we had never been attacked on September 11th. The job of the Commander-in-Chief, as he sees it, is to use America's military strength to respond to attacks. But September 11th showed us, as surely as anything can, that we must act against gathering dangers - not wait for to be attacked. That awful day left some 3,000 of our fellow citizens dead, and everything we have learned since tells us the terrorists would do worse if they could, and that they will even use chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against us if they can. In the world we live in now, responding to attacks is not enough. We must do everything in our power to prevent attacks -- and that includes using military force. (Applause.)

In his convention speech, Senator Kerry invited us to judge him by his record, and that seems like a pretty good idea. (Laughter and applause.) As he frequently reminds people, he was once a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and what was his record there? Well, to begin with, he attended less than 25 percent of the intelligence committee's public meetings. In the aftermath of the first terror attack on the World Trade Center, Senator Kerry put forward two measures to gut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion. His first proposal was voted down 75 to 20. Not even Senator Ted Kennedy, from his own state, would vote for it. When he proposed his second bill, he was unable to find a single co-sponsor for it. Even after this the -- even after this attack on the World Trade Center, Senator Kerry proposed legislation so harmful to our intelligence capabilities -- so extreme and out of the mainstream -- that even his fellow Democrats refused to support it.

The Senator has taken lately to portraying himself as a champion of strengthening our intelligence, but looking at the record, as he has invited us to do, paints a picture that ought to give us pause. The American people deserve a Commander-in-Chief who truly understands the need for intelligence capabilities, a leader who appreciates the vital work done by the men and women of our nation's intelligence community. They have had many successes that will forever go unheralded, and they deserve our gratitude. (Applause.)

We also have important differences with the Kerry-Edwards record when it comes to providing for our men and women in uniform. And there's one story that makes that about as clear as anything could be. It starts with Senators Kerry and Edwards voting yes when the President asked the Congress to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. But then, when it came time to vote for funds that would provide our fighting men and women with body armor, ammunition, jet fuel, and spare parts, Senators Kerry and Edwards voted no. Only 12 members of the United States Senate opposed the funding that would provide vital resources for our troops. Only four Senators voted for the use of force and against the resources our men and women in uniform needed once they were in combat. Only four. And Senators Kerry and Edwards were two of those four.

At first Senator Kerry said that he didn't really oppose the funding. He both supported and opposed it. He said, and I quote, "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Well, that certainly clears things up. (Laughter.) But lately he's been saying he's proud that he and John Edwards voted no, and he explains that his decision was "complicated." But funding American troops in combat should never be a complicated question. (Applause.)

It's simply wrong to vote to commit our troops to combat and then refuse to provide them with the resources they need. We need a President who will back our troops 100 percent, and that's exactly what we've got in George W. Bush. (Applause.)

President Bush knows that our dedicated servicemen and women represent the very best of the United States of America. And I want to thank them and all the veterans here today for what they've done for all of us. (Applause.) One of the most important commitments that George W. Bush and I made during the 2000 campaign was that our armed forces would be given the resources they need and the respect they deserve -- and we have kept our word to the U.S. military. (Applause.)

These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another, the next. Our country requires strong and consistent leadership for our actions overseas, and the same is true for our policies here at home.

Cheney's comments have been getting a lot of attention. Good. We are lucky to have Cheney as our VP.

Incase any of you are under the impression that Cheney is all business and no fun, consider the following comment which he made in Battle Creek, Michigan, yesterday:
People keep telling me Senator Edwards got picked because he is good looking, charming, sexy, has great -- has great hair. I said, "How do you think I got the job?" (Laughter and applause.) Once I'd like to tell that story, Lynne, and nobody would laugh. (Laughter.)

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