2004 US Republican Party Platform/2
- 1 WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR
- 1.1 A Comprehensive Strategy to Win the War on Terror, Promote Peace, and Build a Better World
- 1.2 Consolidating Gains in the War on Terror
- 1.3 Halting the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
- 1.4 Strengthening Alliances to Win the War on Terror, Promote Peace, and Build a Better World
- 1.5 Strengthening America's National Security Institutions
- 1.6 Homeland Security
- 1.7 Department of Homeland Security
- 1.8 Waging War against Terrorists on Every Front
- 1.9 First Responders
- 1.10 Airports
- 1.11 Ports
- 1.12 Border Security
- 1.13 Critical Infrastructure
- 1.14 Bioterrorism
WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR
"Our nation's cause has always been larger than our nation's defense. We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace – a peace that favors liberty. We will defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent."
— President George W. Bush President Bush has confronted unprecedented challenges, including a world scarred by terrorism. The President and the American people have risen to the occasion by acting on a bold new statement of America's place and purpose in the world. Today, we are filled with hope for the most dramatic advance of liberty in 60 years. President Bush's leadership is rooted in the timeless values that have made America a unique and exalted nation: respect for individual rights; a deep commitment to freedom; a desire to serve as a living example of the power of democracy. The President's leadership has achieved successes once deemed impossible to realize in so short a period of time. His forward-looking strategy for freedom and peace is making progress in every part of the world. The President and Republicans in Congress recognize that new threats demand new tools and new methods for defending America and promoting our goals in the world. They have responded swiftly to the challenges of a new era, rather than remaining wedded to outdated theories and fighting battles that ended long ago. Their accomplishments are the foundation upon which future progress will be built.
A Comprehensive Strategy to Win the War on Terror, Promote Peace, and Build a Better World
The world changed on September 11, 2001, and since that day, under the strong, steady, and visionary leadership of President George W. Bush, Americans have helped make the world not only safer, but better. The President continues to lead a steady, confident, systematic campaign to defend America against the dangers of our time. We are going after terrorists wherever they plot and plan and hide, changing the old course of pinprick strikes that did little to get at the root of terrorism. We eliminated many of al Qaeda's key leaders and put the world on notice that nations that train, harbor, or finance terrorists are just as guilty as the terrorists themselves.
We will not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to possess the world's most dangerous weapons. Our message is getting through, as indicated by Libya's leader, who decided to turn over his weapons of mass destruction and cooperate with the international community. Today, because America has acted, and because America has led, the forces of terror and tyranny have suffered defeat after defeat, and America and the world are safer.
On September 11, 2001, we saw the cruelty of the terrorists, and we glimpsed the future they intend for us. They intend to strike the United States to the limits of their power. They seek weapons of mass destruction to kill Americans on an even greater scale. This danger is increased when outlaw regimes build or acquire weapons of mass destruction and maintain ties to terrorist groups.
On September 11, 2001, we saw the spirit of courage and optimism of the American people – that greatest assurance of the ultimate triumph of our cause. Courage and optimism led colleagues to help each other in escaping from collapsing buildings. Courage and optimism led policemen, firefighters, emergency medical professionals, public works employees, our men and women in uniform, and selfless volunteers to run into burning buildings to save others and undertake a mammoth rescue and recovery effort. Courage and optimism led the passengers on Flight 93 to rush their murderers to save lives on the ground. Courage and optimism led America's parents and teachers to battle their own fears to keep children calm and safe. In those and countless other acts of heroism on that day, and many times since, terrorists have learned that Americans will not be intimidated. We will fight them with everything we have – and we will prevail.
President Bush answered the challenge of September 11, 2001, not only with steadfast resolve, but also with vision, optimism, and unshakable confidence in the will and faith of the American people. That is what we all saw on September 14, 2001, when our President stood with the brave workers at Ground Zero and resolutely assured our nation amidst our shock, anger, and grief that while the terrorists had struck first, America would have the last word.
The President's most solemn duty is to protect our country. George W. Bush has kept that charge.
To protect our people, President Bush is leading America, staying on the offensive against threats within our own country. He worked with Congress to establish the Department of Homeland Security in the most significant reorganization of the federal government since 1947. The PATRIOT Act is being used to track terrorist activity and to break up terror cells. Now, the FBI can use tools that have been long available to fight organized crime and drug trafficking, but could not be used in the past to fight terrorism. Intelligence and law enforcement officials are sharing information as never before. The President transformed the mission of the FBI to focus first and foremost on preventing terrorism. Every element of America's homeland security plan is critical, because the terrorists are ruthless and resourceful – and we know they are preparing to attack us again. It is not possible to guarantee perfect security in our vast, free nation. But the President and Vice President, along with many fine professionals in intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, and the military are working tirelessly to protect the country. We are grateful to them all.
President Bush recognized that to overcome the dangers of our time, America would have to take a new approach in the world. That approach is marked by a determination to challenge new threats, not ignore them, or simply wait for future tragedy – and by a renewed commitment to building a hopeful future in hopeless places, instead of allowing troubled regions to remain in despair and explode in violence.
Before entering office, President Bush recognized that our age is a time of opportunity for America – opportunity to translate this moment of influence into decades of peace, prosperity, and liberty. That conviction is in the finest traditions of the Republican Party. As our platform said in 1984, during the height of Cold War confrontation: "The supreme purpose of our foreign policy must be to maintain our freedom in a peaceful international environment in which the United States and our allies and friends are secure against military threats, and democratic governments are flourishing in a world of increasing prosperity."
The reality of 9/11 does not diminish our generation's opportunity to advance the cause of freedom but in fact makes it all the more important that we take up that challenge.
President Bush has rallied America to its calling – to make the world safer and better. This calling is answered by a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests. Americans everywhere are remaining faithful to that duty. By keeping our word and holding firm to our values, this generation is showing the world the power of liberty once again.
Republicans support President Bush's steadfast commitment to the goal of a lasting, democratic peace, in which all nations are free from the threat of sudden terror. We affirm the three commitments of the President's strategy for peace:
- Terrorists long ago declared war on America, and now America has declared war against terrorists. We are defending the peace by taking the fight to the enemy. We are confronting terrorists overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home. We are destroying the leadership of terrorist networks in sudden raids, disrupting their planning and financing, and keeping them on the run. Month by month, we are shrinking the space in which they can freely operate, by denying them territory and the support of governments.
- Nations that support terrorism are just as dangerous, and just as guilty, as the perpetrators of terrorism. Every nation must make a choice to support terror or to support America and our coalition to defeat terror. We are preserving the peace by working with more than 80 allied nations, as well as international institutions, to isolate and confront terrorists and outlaw regimes. America is leading a broad coalition of nations to disrupt proliferation. We are working with the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international organizations to take action in our common security. The global threat of terrorism requires a global response. To be effective, that global response requires leadership – and America is leading.
- There is no negotiation with terrorists. No form of therapy or coercion will turn them from their murderous ways. Only total and complete destruction of terrorism will allow freedom to flourish. We will extend the peace by supporting the rise of democracy, and the hope and progress that democracy brings, as the alternative to hatred and terror in the broader Middle East. In democratic societies, men and women do not swear allegiance to malcontents and murderers; they turn their hearts and labor to building better lives. Democratic governments do not shelter terrorist camps or attack their neighbors. When justice and democracy advance, so does the hope of lasting peace.
- We are proud of the President's steady leadership in executing this strategy. We are dealing with terrorist threats as they gather, rather than waiting for them to become imminent dangers. The results are clear to see.
- Three years ago, our nation was not on a war footing against al Qaeda – even though Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in 1996 and again in 1998. The al Qaeda leadership believed itself to be impervious to any American response, continued to raise funds practically without restriction, and operated in a world in which there was no cohesive global approach to fighting terror.
- Today, al Qaeda has been wounded, having lost many of its known leaders and most of its important sanctuaries. America and its allies and friends have broken al Qaeda cells here in the United States and overseas. A global coalition, led by the United States, has dried up sources of terrorist financing. Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel remain on the manhunt, going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and caves. Today, because of the solidarity of the international coalition in the War on Terror, we are bringing these terrorists to justice, and the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, al Qaeda's secure home base was in Afghanistan, a country ruled by the Taliban, one of the most backward and brutal regimes of modern history. Schooling was denied to girls. Women were whipped and executed in public. Millions lived in fear. With protection from the Taliban, al Qaeda and its associates trained, indoctrinated, and sent forth thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own.
Today, Afghanistan is a world away from the nightmare of the Taliban. Twenty-eight million people are free. That country has a good and just president. Boys and girls are being educated. Women are respected. Many refugees have returned home to rebuild their country, and a presidential election is scheduled for this fall. The terror camps are closed and the Afghan government is helping us to hunt the Taliban and terrorists in remote regions. Today, because we acted to liberate Afghanistan, a threat has been removed, and the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime. Al Qaeda was active and recruiting in Pakistan. Pakistan served as a transit point for al Qaeda terrorists leaving Afghanistan on missions of murder. The United States could not count on the support of Pakistan's military and civilian leaders – the very people we would need to help shut down al Qaeda operations in that part of the world.
- Today, the governments of the United States and Pakistan are working closely in the fight against terror. Pakistan has helped capture Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner behind the September 11 attacks, and other terrorists. Pakistani forces are rounding up terrorists along their nation's western border. Today, because we are working with Pakistani leaders, Pakistan is an ally in the War on Terror, and the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, terrorists were well-established in Saudi Arabia. Inside that country, fundraisers and other facilitators gave al Qaeda financial and logistical help with little scrutiny or opposition.
- Today, after the attacks in Riyadh and elsewhere, the Saudi government knows that al Qaeda is its enemy. Saudi Arabia is working hard to shut down the facilitators and financial supporters of terrorism. The government has captured or killed many first-tier leaders of the al Qaeda organization in Saudi Arabia. Today, because Saudi Arabia has seen the danger and has joined the War on Terror, the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America who provided safe haven for terrorists, used weapons of mass destruction, and turned his nation into a prison (...and shook the hand of Donald Rumsfeld. -ed.). Saddam Hussein was not just a dictator; he was a proven mass murderer who refused to account for weapons of mass murder. He defied the international community and seventeen United Nations resolutions over the course of twelve years, giving no indication that Iraq would ever disarm and comply with the just demands of the world. In 2002 – in Resolution 1441 – the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted that Saddam Hussein had one final chance to comply with his obligations to the international community, or there would be serious consequences. As he had for over a decade, he refused to comply. Every responsible nation recognized this threat, and knew it could not go on forever.
Today, the dictator who caused decades of death and turmoil, who twice invaded his neighbors, who harbored terrorist leaders, who used chemical weapons on innocent men, women, and children, finally stands before the bar of justice. Iraq, which once had the worst government in the Middle East, is now becoming an example of reform to the region. Iraqi security forces are fighting beside coalition troops to defeat the terrorists and foreign fighters who threaten their nation and the world. Today, because America and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we are helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, 25 million Iraqis are free and the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, the nation of Libya, a longtime supporter of terror, was spending millions to acquire chemical and nuclear weapons.
- Today, thousands of Libya's chemical munitions have been destroyed. Libya's nuclear equipment that could ultimately have threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands is stored away in the United States. Today, because the Libyan government saw the seriousness of the civilized world, and correctly judged its own interests, the American people are safer.
- Three years ago, a private weapons proliferation network was doing business around the world. This network, operated by the Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, was selling nuclear plans and equipment to the highest bidder, and found willing buyers in places like Libya, Iran, and North Korea.
- Today, the A.Q. Khan network is out of business. We have ended one of the most dangerous sources of proliferation in the world, and the American people are safer.
Consolidating Gains in the War on Terror
In Afghanistan and Iraq, our enemies have seen the results of what civilized nations can, and will, do against regimes that harbor, support, and use terrorism to achieve their political goals. Republicans believe that America and the world must keep our commitments to the people of those countries, who are building the world's newest democracies and counting on the world to help. Delivering these nations from tyranny has required sacrifice and loss. We must honor that sacrifice by finishing the great work we have begun.
Republicans appreciate the military, financial, and technical assistance provided by the dozens of nations contributing to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq. The success of free and stable governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere will further shrink the space in which terrorists can operate. As the entire region sees the promise of freedom in its midst, the terrorist ideology will become more and more irrelevant, until that day when it is viewed with contempt or ignored altogether.
The forces of many nations are working with Afghans to find and defeat Taliban remnants and eliminate al Qaeda terrorists. We applaud the work of American forces and coalition partners in helping to build the new Afghan national army and to train new Afghan police and border patrol. Together, Afghan and international forces will maintain the peace, secure Afghanistan's borders, and deny terrorists any foothold in that country.
We applaud President Bush's announcement of U.S. support for five new initiatives that will help the Afghan people achieve the peace, stability, and prosperity they deserve – through support for the development of democracy, educational assistance, cultural exchanges, enhanced bilateral economic ties, and increased economic opportunity for women.
The road ahead for Afghanistan is still long and difficult. Yet the Afghan people can know that their country will never be abandoned to terrorists and killers. The world and the United States look forward to elections this year in Afghanistan and stand with the Afghan people as partners in their quest for peace and prosperity, stability, and democracy.
As Republicans, we do not equivocate, as others have done, about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq. The best intelligence available at the time indicated that Saddam Hussein was a threat. On that point, President Bush, members of both parties in Congress, and the United Nations agreed. While the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction we expected to find in Iraq have not yet materialized, we have confirmed that Saddam Hussein had the capability to reconstitute his weapons programs and the desire to do so. Our nation did the right thing, and the American people are now safer because we and our allies ended the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, halting his decades-long pursuit of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. President Bush had a choice to make: Trust a madman or defend America. He chose defending America.
Supported by brave coalition allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Poland, and Denmark, and displaying courage, skill, and resourcefulness on the battlefield, the men and women of our Armed Forces removed the dictator of Iraq, a declared enemy of America who had the capability and intent to produce weapons of mass murder, and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on killing Americans. That was a risk we could not take.
America's men and women in uniform have been unrelenting in the performance of their duty. Our nation has asked much of our military, and there is still much hard work ahead. We are proud of the sacrifice made by all who have served and are serving, and we are immensely grateful for the sacrifices made by their families and loved ones. Further, we honor the memories of those who have died in combat serving the cause of freedom. Defending our homeland with their ultimate sacrifice on behalf of all Americans merits our prayers and our thanksgiving. We also commit to continued honor and care for our wounded veterans, and support for all who return home from service. Together, we look forward to that day when the War on Terror is won and our military can return home, no longer at risk, our world and our country safer.
We also salute our coalition allies. Their efforts with us to shape a world where freedom is honored and liberty is cherished deserves respect and admiration; their sacrifice, too, does not go without notice and appreciation.
We are ever mindful that American troops remain on the ground in Iraq, working steadfastly to help the Iraqi people achieve stability and democracy. We therefore welcome declarations from responsible political leaders of both parties that our nation will persevere in our mission there, not cut and run. The American people need to hear this message. People in Baghdad and beyond need to hear it. The enemy needs to hear it. Most importantly, American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines risking their lives in Iraq need to hear it.
We condemn inconsistent, ambiguous, and politically expedient statements on that point. To the extent such wavering encourages our adversaries to fight harder, our men and women in uniform suffer the consequences. Their mission is difficult enough. Uncertainty about America's commitment to that mission makes it immeasurably more difficult.
In Iraq, America is serving the cause of liberty, peace, and our own security. America accepted a difficult task in Iraq. We know that for all these reasons, we will finish that task.
We also know that Iraqi sovereignty is a tribute to the will of the Iraqi people and the courage of Iraqi leaders. It is a proud moral achievement for members of our coalition. We have full confidence in the plan for Iraqi self-government that is currently being implemented by Iraq's interim government. That government has gained broad international support, and has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The United States and our coalition partners are helping prepare Iraqis for the defense of their own country, including through the work of the NATO mission to train Iraqi security forces. We are helping Iraqis rebuild their country's infrastructure, and Iraq is continuing to move toward free elections, with important assistance from the United Nations.
We applaud President Bush for establishing a visionary and resolute policy – a Forward Strategy of Freedom in the Middle East – to stand with the people of that region as they seek their future in freedom. Republicans support President Bush's policy of working with every government in the Middle East dedicated to destroying the terrorist networks, while in the longer term expecting a higher standard of reform and democracy from our friends in the region. We believe that democracy and reform will make those nations stronger and more stable, and make the world more secure by undermining terrorism at its source.
As a result of President Bush's leadership, G-8 members adopted the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative at this year's Sea Island Summit. We applaud the commitment of the world's leading industrial nations to this historic initiative to support political, economic, and social reform throughout the region.
Halting the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Republicans agree with the Bush Administration that there is no greater danger to our people than the nexus of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). That judgment is shared by leading allies and friends. As President Bush and his fellow G-8 leaders declared in 2003, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism constitute "the pre-eminent threat to international security."
The risks posed by this dangerous relationship cannot be contained or deterred by traditional means. We applaud President Bush for pursuing from the beginning of his Administration a comprehensive strategy through which the United States works with its allies to:
- ensure that international agreements against the proliferation of WMD are observed and enforced;
- detect, disrupt, and block the spread of dangerous weapons and technology;
- confront emerging threats from any person or state before those threats have fully materialized; and
- improve our capabilities to respond to the use of WMD and minimize the consequences of an attack.
Over the last two years, under President Bush's leadership and working with like-minded nations, America has:
- ended Saddam Hussein's decades-long pursuit of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons;
- achieved the elimination of Libya's WMD and ballistic missile programs;
- shut down the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network;
- led the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict dangerous WMD and their means of delivery;
- strengthened efforts to secure weapons-usable materials and sensitive technologies in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere;
- insisted on confronting the threat from North Korea through Six-Party Talks involving the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, and Russia;
- supported the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency to hold the Iranian regime to its treaty obligations;
- strengthened international non-proliferation export control and treaty regimes;
- secured unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires states to enact legislation that criminalizes proliferation activities; and
- achieved agreement among the G-8 nations to refrain for one year from initiating new transfers of uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology to additional states.
Republicans applaud these achievements, as well as the successes of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, backed by the Republican Congress, here at home to make America safer from the threat of weapons of mass destruction – including:
- creating Biodefense for the 21st Century, a national strategy for meeting the full range of biological threats;
- signing into law Project BioShield, which provides new tools to improve medical countermeasures protecting Americans against a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack;
- putting in place major new biodefense capabilities;
- creating the Container Security Initiative to screen cargo destined for the United States; and
- deploying missile defenses to defend the United States and its friends and allies.
Libya's decision to disclose and dismantle its WMD programs is a product of the President's strategy that gives regimes a choice. They can choose to pursue WMD at great peril and cost, including international isolation. Or they can choose to renounce these weapons, take steps to rejoin the international community, and have its help in creating a better future for their citizens.
The Libya case also demonstrates the President's success in forging increased international cooperation to prevent the spread of WMD technology through his groundbreaking Proliferation Security Initiative, a broad international partnership to coordinate actions to interdict proliferation shipments of WMD and related materials and shut down proliferation networks and entities. Republicans applaud the support of more than 60 nations in this crucial multilateral effort to stop the trade in weapons of mass destruction and their related components.
We commend the President's leadership in expanding greatly the resources to prevent proliferation, including record-level U.S. and multilateral resources devoted to the Nunn-Lugar programs and other nonproliferation assistance, including that made available through the creation of the G-8 Global Partnership, which will provide $20 billion to this effort over 10 years. We hail the commitment of the other G-8 nations (the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Canada, Germany, France, and Russia) to this vital initiative, as well as commitments by other countries, including Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Australia.
Republicans share President Bush's understanding that in an age in which the enemies of civilization openly and actively seek the world's most destructive technologies, the United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather. We therefore believe that to forestall or prevent hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States must, if necessary, act preemptively.
Strengthening Alliances to Win the War on Terror, Promote Peace, and Build a Better World
Republicans recognize that our progress in the War on Terror has been achieved with the help of other responsible nations. We hail the strong and broad-based cooperation of America's allies in the War on Terror. We are grateful to the more than 30 nations with forces serving in Iraq, and the nearly 40 nations with forces serving in Afghanistan. In the fight against terror, America has asked our allies to do hard things. They have taken up these responsibilities in a spirit of solidarity that America should never forget.
We applaud President Bush for his success in mobilizing such international cooperation in the War on Terror, which the 9/11 Commission judges to be "on a vastly enlarged scale" and to have expanded dramatically since September 11, 2001.
We also question the credibility of our opponents, who claim to support global alliances while nominating a candidate who has insulted our allies by calling the nations fighting in Iraq "window-dressing" and referring to them as a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." Directing ugly rhetoric at America's allies in a time of war is irresponsible. It does not represent the gratitude and respect the vast majority of Americans have for the men and women from other nations who are risking their lives to make the world safer.
Republicans welcome the enlargement of NATO, which has strengthened history's most successful Alliance. The Atlantic Alliance has widened the circle of its friends, while also creating a new chapter in our relationship with Russia.
Under President Bush's leadership, the United States is working with responsible governments and international institutions to convince the leaders of North Korea and Iran that their nuclear weapons ambitions are deeply contrary to their own interests. With allies, America has launched the Broader Middle East Initiative, to encourage reform and democracy throughout the region, a project that will shape the history of our times for the better. Our nation is helping governments fight poverty and disease, so they do not become failed states and future havens for terror.
Strengthening America's National Security Institutions
The major institutions of American national security were designed in a different era to meet different requirements. All of them are being transformed to meet the challenge of defending America in a new era. In this endeavor, America will rely – as always – on the character and skill of our citizens, especially the bravery, pride, and hard work of America's men and women in the military, our first responders, our diplomats, and our law enforcement and intelligence agents.
The freedom we enjoy also makes us vulnerable to attack. Since September 11, 2001, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Congress, and governors across the nation have taken significant steps to:
- streamline the federal government to make it more effective at combating terrorism;
- tighten security at entry points like ports, airports, and borders;
- strengthen protections at critical infrastructure landmarks such as power and water plants; and
- reduce the threats of bioterrorism and cyberterrorism.
Through all their actions, President Bush and Congress have been careful to protect the rights and liberties that make America a beacon of freedom and justice. The President and Congress have also provided unprecedented resources to support local first responders.
The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, and the first responders at the state and local level with whom they have partnered, vigilantly safeguard the security of America each and every day. They have moved swiftly but thoughtfully to direct enhanced resources to counter the dangers of the new and shifting threats we face, and they have proved themselves equal to the task. The Republican Party salutes the work of the:
- Coast Guard in protecting our shores;
- Customs and Border Patrol who police our borders;
- Air marshals and baggage screeners of the Transportation Security Administration in safeguarding our airports and our skies;
- Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in ensuring that the identity of foreign citizens who enter our borders is known;
- Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection and the Secret Service for partnering with private industry to protect millions of Americans by enhancing security at chemical plants and other critical infrastructure;
- Federal Bureau of Investigation in applying enhanced law enforcement tools provided by the PATRIOT Act to track down terrorists and thwart their plots before they can be executed to murderous effect;
- Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health for their work in safeguarding the nation from biological attacks; and
- Law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, and other first responders in state and local jurisdictions throughout the country who have diligently employed increased federal resources to train and prepare for the prevention and mitigation of future terrorist attacks.
- These dedicated men and women, the nation's last line of defense and first hope in response, give their utmost every day to keep us safe.
Department of Homeland Security
Just as the Cold War prompted a massive reorganization of the federal government's foreign policy apparatus, the War on Terror demanded a thorough reorganization of America's domestic preparedness agencies. President Bush led this effort with a plan to merge 22 separate government entities into the new Department of Homeland Security, a cohesive department with the primary mission of keeping America safe. After the American people returned control of the Senate to Republicans in the 2002 mid-term elections, Congress passed legislation enacting the President's plan. Further, to ensure that America's law enforcement, intelligence, and first responders have the resources they need to protect America, President Bush and Congress have nearly tripled homeland security funding since 2001.
Waging War against Terrorists on Every Front
We endorse the efforts of President Bush and Republicans in Congress to keep our homeland safe by taking action on multiple fronts, all aimed at stopping terrorists before they strike.
- The FBI has been refocused to track down terrorists before they attack.
- The Treasury Department is now leading the effort to find and eliminate sources of terrorist financing around the world. Since September 11, 2001, the United States and our allies have designated 345 terrorist-related entities and frozen more than $139 million in terrorist assets in more than 1,400 accounts worldwide.
- The President signed into law the PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement and intelligence agents the same tools to fight terror that have long been available to fight organized crime and drug trafficking. The PATRIOT Act also made it possible for law enforcement and intelligence agents to share information and coordinate efforts to prevent terrorism. The 9/11 Commission rightly praised the PATRIOT Act's role in improving information sharing.
- Since the PATRIOT Act was passed, four terrorist cells have been broken up inside the United States and more than 189 individuals have been convicted or pled guilty to terrorism-related offenses.
President Bush knows that America's firefighters, local law enforcement, and other first responders play a critical role in protecting the homeland. Hundreds of firefighters and police officers gave their lives to help their fellow citizens on September 11, 2001, and should another attack ever come, they will be first at the scene again. They must have the tools they need to perform their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. To this end, the President and Congress have massively increased spending for our nation's first responders. They have worked with governors, mayors, and tribal and local leaders to implement an integrated and federally supported approach to protecting communities.
- States and localities have received more than $13 billion since 2001.
- Assistance to Firefighter Grants are up 400 percent since 2001.
- State Domestic Preparedness funding is up more than 2,600 percent since 2001. President Bush has taken steps to send money to the areas that are most at risk of terrorist attack, and instituted measures to speed the money to the first responders on the ground.
President Bush has overhauled and greatly enhanced security at the nation's airports. Our infrastructure to protect airplanes, passengers, crews, and cargo from terrorist acts has never been stronger than it is today. Cockpit doors have been hardened, more than 5,000 air marshals and 45,000 federal screeners have been hired, new screening technology has been developed, and 100 percent of commercial air passengers and checked bags are now screened. As tagging and tracking citizens is inconsistent with American freedom, we oppose the creation of a national identification card or system.
Proposed funding for port security in 2005 represents a 600 percent increase since President Bush came to office. In addition, the Container Security Initiative ensures that:
- all cargo is now screened by customs agents;
- screening takes place in foreign ports, well before potentially dangerous cargo ever reaches our shores; and
- all high-risk cargo is physically inspected.
Our nation has been enriched by immigrants seeking a better life. In many cases, immigrants of the past fled violence and oppression searching for peace and freedom. All suffered and sacrificed but hoped for a better future for their children in America. Our nation has been enriched by their determination, energy, and diversity.
Ensuring the integrity of our borders is vital to ensuring the safety of our citizens. We must know the identity of all visitors who enter the United States, and we must know when they leave. The US-VISIT system, which uses biometric data to better track the entry and exit of foreign travelers, has been implemented at more than 115 airports and is presently being implemented at land border crossings. Reconnaissance cameras, border patrol agents, and unmanned aerial flights have all been increased at our borders.
We must strengthen our Border Patrol to stop illegal crossings, and we will equip the Border Patrol with the tools, technologies, structures, and sufficient force necessary to secure the border. We will seek stiff penalties for those who smuggle illegal aliens into the country and for those who sell fraudulent documents. We urge continued support for state, local, and federal law enforcement to work in a cohesive manner in securing our borders to prevent illegal entry.
Most critical infrastructure is not federally owned or operated, requiring cooperation from all levels of government and private industry for effective protection. As part of a nationwide review of critical infrastructure initiated by President Bush, due to be completed by December 2004, the Department of Homeland Security has already identified the highest-risk chemical sites and partnered with industry to enhance protections at those sites. We endorse the President's request to have the Department of Homeland Security establish minimum safety requirements at chemical plants and enforce compliance when voluntary measures are deemed inadequate.
It is no secret that the enemies of the United States are determined to acquire and use biological and chemical weapons. The potential exists for terrorists to use genetically engineered bioweapons that incorporate some of the deadliest diseases known to man, such as anthrax, ebola, smallpox, sarin, or ricin. Such weapons are capable of inflicting grievous harm on any nation caught unprepared. For this reason, President George W. Bush has long made bolstering the nation's defenses against bioterrorism a central focus of his Administration. President Bush has worked with the Congress to:
- increase the federal bioterrorism budget by more than 1,600 percent, from $294 million in 2001 to $5.2 billion in 2004;
- expand bioterror research by an even greater margin, from $53 million in 2001 to $1.7 billion in 2005, an increase of more than 3,100 percent;
- increase the size of the Strategic National Stockpile of vaccines and countermeasures by 50 percent since 2001; and
- further secure more than $5.5 billion to enhance the stockpile and to encourage the development of new vaccines and countermeasures.
Although there is no such thing as perfect safety from biological attacks, President Bush's historic commitment to building up the biological defenses of the United States has made us far less vulnerable to the threat of bioterrorism than we were just three years ago. The President's continuing commitment to implement further biodefense projects holds the promise of an even more secure future.