Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jerry McNerney: Tough On Terrorism

Earlier this week, Jerry McNerney attended a national security forum held at University of the Pacific in Stockton. The event was sponsored by the School of International Studies and featured Rep. Jane Harman (CA-36), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Yesterday, Rep. Harman wrote an account of her meeting with McNerney and posted it on both MyDD and DailyKos. Congresswoman Harman was glowing in her remarks on McNerney’s national security positions:
[O]n this extremely complex topic, Jerry can more than hold his own. Even though he hasn't yet been elected to Congress, he is more informed on security issues than many of my House colleagues.

I think part of Jerry's understanding comes from his first-hand experience with terrorism. In 1971, Jerry was a passenger on a jet hijacked to Cuba. He says looking down the barrels of guns held by men with no respect for human life convinced him that America must do everything necessary to defeat terrorists. But he rightly criticizes Republicans for talking tough without acting smart.

I was struck by the backbone of this mild-mannered engineer whose son received a commission in the Air Force after 9/11. […]

For too long, Republicans have persuaded the American public that they are the more capable party on national security. That is changing, though, as more and more people become convinced that the Bush administration has politicized the threat of terrorism for election year purposes. And now, even some Republicans are starting to see that tough talk alone is not a credible strategy. Simply telling people we must "stay the course" is not an option, especially when it has been a course to disaster.

On Monday, Jerry and I were asked about the North Korea situation. One day after reports that Kim Jong Il's government had successfully tested a nuclear weapon, the issue was on the minds of a lot of people. We responded that the situation we face with North Korea is directly related to the President's failed Iraq policy.

Iraq was a war of choice; not a war of necessity. By choosing to go into Iraq, the President neglected the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the threats posed by North Korea and Iran. Richard Pombo has said little about the war besides offering his full support for the President's failed policy. Jerry has learned these issues and supports transferring responsibility to the Iraqis; reducing the American military footprint, including a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq; getting Sunni-buy in; and disarming the militias.

Yes, the world is dangerous and the threats are real. Jerry and I take a backseat to nobody in wanting to go after the terrorists. But Richard Pombo and the Bush Team are not making us safer. They have fumbled badly in Iraq. The terrorist threat has grown. The multiple deployments have broken our military, and broken our promises to the Guard and Reserves. We desperately need a new direction.

Democrats are reclaiming our legacy as the Party that won the major wars of the 20th Century - and won the peace. We are the party of Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton. Their victories came without sacrificing our principles. Republicans like Richard Pombo are sacrificing our principles and failing to protect our security.

We can - and must - do better. And with Jerry McNerney in Congress, I believe we will do better.
It sounds like Jane Harman was both inspired and impressed by her meeting with Jerry McNerney. Reading her report about McNerney’s stance on national security only exposes the depravity of Richard Pombo’s lies and the desperation of a Pombo campaign that would stoop to claim Jerry McNerney "thinks the war on terror is a joke."

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