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Topics in the News: Arab Spring


Beto O`Rourke on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2019
Deal with conflicts diplomatically or fight wars for years

I'm going to make sure that we end the wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Syria, and Somalia, and Yemen and Libya. We've got to find a way to peacefully, diplomatically convene other players and stakeholders in these regions to resolve otherwise intractable problems or else let's expect to find ourselves at war 10, 15, 20 years from now. I will not put the life of an American service member on the line unless that is the option of last resort. There are other options available to us.
Click for Beto O`Rourke on other issues.   Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments"

Tulsi Gabbard on Foreign Policy : Apr 22, 2019
Met with Syrian president; for "extreme vetting" of Syrians

Key criticisms of Gabbard:
Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: Axios.com on 2020 Democratic primary

Marianne Williamson on Foreign Policy : Apr 14, 2019
Return moral principles to our foreign policy

I want the moral leadership of our State Department back. When you're willing to -- for the sake of a $100 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, go along with support for a genocidal war that we know has starved tens of thousands of Yemenis, when Mike Pompeo says, "well, sometimes you can have strategic partnerships with people who do not share your values," no, you can't. It means you have sacrificed your values. I want the moral principles that should be central to American foreign policy back.
Click for Marianne Williamson on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : Mar 27, 2019
No regime change in Iran; no war in Yemen

Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Amy Klobuchar on War & Peace : Mar 27, 2019
Supported regime change in Libya; supports Israeli military

Click for Amy Klobuchar on other issues.   Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Cory Booker on War & Peace : Mar 27, 2019
End intervention in Yemen & Iran, but not Israel

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Kirsten Gillibrand on War & Peace : Mar 27, 2019
Withdraw from Yemen; Withdraw from Afghanistan

Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Elizabeth Warren on War & Peace : Mar 27, 2019
No intervention in Yemen; but intervention in Gaza OK

Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Feb 19, 2019
End Syrian conflict; pull out U.S. troops

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Feb 5, 2019
Our Saudi allies give US-made weapons to Al Qaeda in Yemen

As important as it is to respond to what President Trump said [in the State of the Union speech], it is even more important to discuss what Trump refused to talk about --which happens to include some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can the President say nothing about Yemen, where the worst humanitarian crisis in the world is currently taking place, brought on by a Saudi-led war that the United States is supporting? Just yesterday, a CNN report detailed how our Saudi and Emirati allies have been giving U.S.-made weapons to Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Yemen, and have also fallen into the hands of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. This war is a disaster, which is why the Senate passed my resolution last December calling on the president to end our support for it, and why colleagues in both the House and Senate re-introduced that legislation last week. Yet the president did not even mention it.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech

John Delaney on War & Peace : Feb 4, 2019
Withdraw military aid from Saudi forces fighting in Yemen

Click for John Delaney on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Cory Booker on Foreign Policy : Feb 1, 2019
Re-examine relationship with Saudi Arabia

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Kirsten Gillibrand on War & Peace : Jan 16, 2019
End military aid to Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen

Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Nov 25, 2018
Withdraw US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

Q: You back a resolution for pulling back any kind of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Do you see, given the scrutiny in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi new support for this bill?

SANDERS: I do. When we brought this up in March we ended up with 44 votes--only 5 Republicans. I think we now have a chance to get a majority of the Senate. I think people are looking at the horrific humanitarian disaster now taking place in Yemen. There was a recent report that over the last number of years some 75,000 children have died of starvation. This is a country dealing with cholera, with a terrible level of famine. This war was never authorized by the US Congress in violation of our constitution. And you got the Khashoggi incident which says that we have a Saudi government led by a despotic ruler who killed a political opponent in cold blood. Add that all together. I think the American people & Congress are now saying let us end our support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Sep 21, 2017
1991: We give $7B to feudalistic dictatorships in Mideast

As a freshman congressman in 1991, I voted against the first Persian Gulf War, which laid the groundwork for our future involvement in the Gulf. In one of my earliest speeches in Congress, I went to the house floor and said, "Despite the fact that we are now aligned with such Middle Eastern governments such as Syria, a terrorist dictatorship, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, a feudalistic dictatorships, and Egypt, a one-party state that receives $7 Billion in debt forgiveness to wage this war with us, I believe that, in the long run, the action unleashed last night will go strongly against our interests in the Middle East. Clearly, the United States and its allies will win this war, but the death and destruction caused will, in my opinion, not be forgotten by the poor people of the Third World and the people of the Middle East in particular... I fear that one day we will regret that decision and that we are in fact laying the groundwork for more and more wars in that region for years to come."
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.88-9

Tulsi Gabbard on Foreign Policy : May 27, 2017
Supports Egyptian dictator in fight against terrorism

In November 2015, she traveled to Egypt as part of a congressional delegation and met Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. "President el-Sisi has shown great courage and leadership in taking on this extreme Islamist ideology, while also fighting against ISIS militarily to keep them from gaining a foothold in Egypt," Gabbard said, urging US political leaders to "recognize President el-Sisi and his leadership" and "stand with him in this fight against Islamic extremists."
Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on Immigration : Mar 6, 2017
Protect America by banning refugees from terrorist countries

The Trump administration today announced a new Muslim ban executive order entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry". [The original Jan. 2017 order reduces to 50,000 the annual number of refugees allowed from 7 Muslim countries, and sets the number allowed from Syria to zero. After a court found that unconstitutional, the March 2017 order replaced the list of 7 countries with Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, for 90 days]. The director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project had this reaction:

"The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible. Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws. The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban. Instead, Pres. Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination. The changes the Trump administration has made completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: ACLU Fact-Check of Trump Administration promises & actions

Mike Pence on Immigration : Feb 5, 2017
Obama certified 7 Muslim countries compromised by terrorism

Q: Is it time to say about the controversial travel ban from 7 Muslim countries, "Rescind the order. Go through Congress"?

PENCE: Pres. Trump has made it clear he's going to put the safety and security of the American people first. And using a list of countries that the Obama administration and the Congress have certified were compromised by terrorist influence, seven different countries, is consistent with the President's commitment to do just that.

Q: But on this travel ban, no Egypt, no Saudi Arabia. No Pakistan, no Afghanistan. Why weren't those countries included? Because you wanted that Obama talking point.

PENCE: Well, no. It was done because both the Congress and the prior administration identified seven countries, one in Syria, torn asunder by civil war, and the other six--these are countries that do not have the internal systems in place so that we can be confident today that, when people present themselves for access to the United States, that they are who they say they are.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2017 interview by Chuck Todd

Bill Weld on War & Peace : Oct 3, 2016
Supports libertarian "restraint" on military action

Weld has always been fiscally conservative and socially liberal, he says: "I've self-identified as a small-l libertarian since I was in law school." On military matters, he was once a typical GOP hawk, but events in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have made him reconsider and he now supports Johnson's more "restrained" posture.
Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: Molly Ball in The Atlantic: 2020 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2016
Libya war, with full coalition, prevented massacre

TRUMP: [Going to war] is the most difficult decision you can possibly ever make. I would be very, very cautious. I think I'd be a lot slower. She has a happy trigger. She votes for the wars, she goes in Libya.

CLINTON: With respect to Libya, there's no difference between my opponent and myself. He's on record extensively supporting intervention in Libya, when Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives. We did not lose a single American in that action. And I think taking that action was the right decision. Not taking it, and permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya, would have been as dangerous and threatening as what we are now seeing in Syria.

TRUMP: She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed the you-know-what out of Gadhafi.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2016
2011: Knock out Ghadafi; 2016: Libya war was a mistake

CLINTON: With respect to Libya, there's no difference between my opponent and myself. He's on record extensively supporting intervention in Libya, when Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives.

TRUMP: She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed the you-know-what out of Gadhafi.

USA TODAY Fact-Check: This isn't the first time Trump has ignored his past support for the U.S. intervention in Libya. During the 10th GOP debate, Trump said he had "never discussed that subject" when Sen. Ted Cruz called him out on supporting U.S. action in the country. But Trump said in a February 2011 YouTube video that the U.S. should go into Libya "on a humanitarian basis" and "knock [Gadhafi] out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: USA Today Fact-check on 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2016
I would be slower to go to war than Hillary

I would be very, very cautious. I think I'd be a lot slower. She has a happy trigger. You look, she votes for the wars, she goes in Libya. I think it's a tremendous burden. I think there is no greater burden that anybody could have.

I am totally prepared. But remember this. I found this subject and these subjects of interest all of my life. This hasn't been over the last 14 months. I've found these substantiates of tremendous interest. That's why they were asking me about Iraq 14 years ago. They were asking me these questions. They don't ask businesspeople those questions.

Right here is a list that was just printed today of 88 admirals and generals that I meet with and I talk to. I'm doing a lot of different things. I am studying. You see General Flynn and you see some of the folks that we have, and they're scattered throughout the audience. So we have admirals, we have generals, we have colonels. We have a lot of people that I respect.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer

John Kasich on War & Peace : Mar 3, 2016
We need more than Special Forces in Libya

Sen. Marco RUBIO: ISIS needs to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. It will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes.

Q [to Kasich]: Would you put ground troops in Libya?

KASICH: We absolutely have to be -- and not just with special forces. I mean, that's not going to work. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that. And we have to be in the air. It should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you've got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq. And at some point, we will have to deal with Libya. I am very concerned about ISIS getting their hands on the oilfields in Libya & being able to fund their operations. The fact is cool, calm, deliberate, effective, take care of the job, and then come home. That's what we need to do with our military foreign policy.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2016 Fox News GOP debate in Detroit Michigan

John Kasich on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2016
Arm the Ukrainians and fight ISIS in Syria, Libya

Libya didn't go down because there was a people's revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and they have created a cesspool in Libya. We have ISIS in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong foreign policy, one of us is going to inherit a mess and we're going to have to work our way out of it, including the need to arm the Ukrainians.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2016
We would be better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now

Sen. Ted CRUZ: Both Donald and Senator Rubio have agreed with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: in Libya, they agreed with the Obama/Clinton policy of toppling the government in Libya. That was a disaster.

TRUMP: I was in favor of Libya? I never discussed that subject. We would be so much better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now. If these politicians went to the beach and didn't do a thing, and we had Saddam Hussein and if we had Gadhafi in charge, instead of having terrorism all over the place, at least they killed terrorists, all right? And I'm not saying they were good--because they were bad, they were really bad--but we don't know what we're getting. You look at Libya right now, ISIS, as we speak, is taking over their oil. As we speak, it's a total mess. We would have been better off if the politicians took a day off instead of going into war.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Feb 23, 2016
Post-Gadhafi Libya replaced dictator with democracy

Q: You are for a regime change in Syria. But as we have learned in Libya, getting rid of longtime dictators can lead to problems?.

CLINTON: Libya is a little different [than Syria]. Libya actually held elections. They elected moderates. They have tried to piece together a government against a lot of really serious challenges internally coming from the outside with terrorist groups and other bad actors. Let's remember what was going on at the time. This was at the height of the Arab spring. The people in Libya were expressing themselves, were demanding their freedom, and Gadhafi responded brutally. Now, they had an election, and it was a fair election, it met international standards. That was an amazing accomplishment for a nation that had been so deprived for so long. This doesn't happen overnight. And, yes, it's been a couple of years. I think it's worth European support, Arab support, American support to try to help the Libyan people realize the dream that they had when they went after Gadhafi.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN Town Hall on eve of South Carolina primary

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Feb 23, 2016
Continue anti-ISIS actions in Libya, with Europe & Arabs

Q: Is Libya an example for people to say, "See what happens when we take somebody out?" You don't know what's going to replace it; maybe we shouldn't have done it that way?

CLINTON: [After the Arab Spring revolution in 2011], we formed the first coalition between NATO and Arab nations. Arab nations actually ran a lot of the air campaign and other support systems. It made sense for us to bring our special assets to the table to help the people of Libya. [Now in 2016] they're working to try to unify the different factions inside Libya so that they can take united action against the terrorists and try to get the east and the west of the country working together. I know the United States has taken some actions against terrorists inside Libya, particularly ISIS training camps, and I support that, because I want to give the people of Libya a chance to actually form a government and realize the promise of getting rid of Gadhafi, who had so oppressed the country for more than 40 years.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN Town Hall on eve of South Carolina primary

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Feb 11, 2016
Need to look at consequences of removing dictators

CLINTON: Senator Sanders voted in 1998 on what I think is fair to call a regime change resolution with respect to Iraq, calling for the end of Saddam Hussein's regime. He voted in favor of regime change with Libya, voted in favor of the Security Council being an active participate in setting the parameters for what we would do, which of course we followed through on.

SANDERS: Where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change. We can overthrow dictators all over the world. The point about foreign policy is not just to overthrow a dictator, it's to understand what happens the day after. In Libya, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is ISIS came in and now occupies significant territory in Libya. But this is nothing new. This has gone on 50 or 60 years where the United States has been involved in overthrowing governments.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Feb 11, 2016
My 2002 vote for Iraq war does not impact ISIS plan today

SANDERS: Secretary Clinton has enormous experience in foreign affairs. But judgment matters as well. And she and I looked at the same evidence coming from the Bush administration regarding Iraq. I led the opposition against it. She voted for it. But more importantly, in terms of this Libya resolution that you have noted before, this was a virtually unanimous consent. Everybody voted for it wanting to see Libya move toward democracy, of course we all wanted to do that.

CLINTON: I do not believe a vote in 2002 [for the Iraq war] is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It's important we focus on the threats we face today. When people vote, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. It's important that people look at who is best prepared for dealing with them. Senator Obama, when he ran against me, was against the war in Iraq. Yet he turned to me, trusting my judgment, my experience, to become secretary of state.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin

John Kasich on Foreign Policy : Jan 14, 2016
We need coalition of Arab countries, like Bush-41 did

If we're going to have a coalition, we're going to have to have a coalition not just of people in the western part of the world, our European allies, but we need the Saudis, we need the Egyptians, we need the Jordanians, we need the Gulf states. We need Jordan. We need all of them to be part of exactly what the first George Bush put together in the first Gulf War. It was a coalition made up of Arabs and Americans and westerners and we're going to need it again.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Dec 19, 2015
Libyans refused much of what US offered as help

The president decided we would protect civilians on the ground and that led to the overthrow of Gadhafi. What Libya did by having a free election was an indication of their desire to get on the right path. The whole region has been rendered unstable, in part because of the Arab Spring, in part because of the propagandizing that ISIS and other terrorist groups do. This is not easy work. We did as much as we could because the Libyans had strong feelings about what they wished to accept.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

John Kasich on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
Work with allies like Israel, Egypt, Jordan

In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north, and a no-fly zone on the Jordanian border. Jordan, we want the king to reign for years. Egypt, they have been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East. In Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
Assad is a bad guy, but his replacement could be worse

Gov. Jeb BUSH: We should have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels--nobody even knows who they are.

Carly FIORINA: Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: So, I don't like Assad. Who's going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they're going to be, and what they're going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place--we have nothing. And, I said, keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And, you know what? We should have given big chunks of the oil to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters, because right now, you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran, and ISIS.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Sep 5, 2015
Begrudgingly supports NATO, but no eastward expansion

Although Bernie is generally anti-war, he begrudgingly supported NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999. He voiced concerns, but did not vigorously oppose NATO's 2011 military intervention in Libya.

Bernie is against the expansion of NATO because it provokes unnecessary aggression from Russia. Moreover, he believes European nations should fund more of the costs of an alliance primarily intended to protect their continent.

Q: What is Bernie's opinion on NATO expansion?

A: He's against it, claiming it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and not geo-politically sound. In 1997, Bernie said: "After four decades of the cold war and trillions of taxpayer dollars allocated to compete in the arms race, it is not the time to continue wasting billions helping to defend Europe, let alone assuming any costs associated with expanding NATO eastward." Bernie opposes eastward expansion because he's not interested in revisiting the Cold War era when Russia and the US were constantly pitted against each other.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"

John Kasich on Foreign Policy : Jan 15, 2015
Criticizes Saudis for extremism in Sunni-Shia split

During the Fox Business Network debate in Charleston, the moderator asked John Kasich about Saudi Arabia's recent execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. The Ohio governor is nearly alone in discussing Saudi Arabian support to Sunni extremist groups in such a public forum.

As Saudi Arabia has courted international controversy--by launching a bloody war in Yemen last year and embarking on a steep increase in executions for minor or political crimes-- the country has also ramped up its efforts to influence the American policy debate. Still, one of the main goals of Saudi outreach is to promote the idea that the country serves as a strong ally to U.S. efforts in Syria, a point referenced by Kasich. The truth, however, is that Saudi shifted much of its military from striking ISIS targets in Syria to focus on the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Lee Fang in The Intercept on 2016 Presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jun 17, 2014
2011: we abandoned Egypt's Mubarak too readily

Mrs. Clinton argues the White House moved too quickly to pull U.S. support for former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011:

"Like many other young people around the world, some of President Obama's aides in the White House were swept up in the drama and idealism of the moment as they watched the pictures from Tahrir Square on television. I shared the feeling. It was a thrilling moment. But along with Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, I was concerned that we not be seen as pushing a longtime partner out the door, leaving Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the region to an uncertain, dangerous future. (Pages 339-340)

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jun 7, 2014
Arab Spring: Egyptian uprising had destabilizing impact

Clinton writes that one of her envoys who she sent to deal with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak displeased the White House when he said publicly that Mubarak should remain in power to "oversee a transition." Clinton was not among Obama advisers who wanted to side with the uprising instantly, and saw a potentially destabilizing impact if Mubarak left immediately.

"The President called me to express his unhappiness about the 'mixed messages' we were sending," she writes. "That's a diplomatic way of saying he took me to the woodshed."

There are some other instances throughout the book in which Clinton was in a different place than Obama, but this is the one of the only times in which she describes the president as genuinely unhappy with something that the State Department did.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Politico.com on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : May 30, 2014
Dozens of Benghazi attackers had dozens of motives

On the Benghazi attack: "There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives. It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well."

On the President's actions during the Benghazi attack: Obama "gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. It was imperative that all possible resources be mobilized immediately. When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the Commander in Chief has to give twice. Our military does everything humanly possible to save American lives--and would do more if they could. That anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand."

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jan 28, 2014
Double access to electricity in Africa

Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country's future. Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people.

We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the Union address

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 28, 2014
Support rebels in Syria who oppose terrorism

While we have put al Qaeda's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks.

American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve--a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the Union address

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Sep 22, 2013
Benghazi: Figure out what happened to prevent repeating

The NATO intervention in Libya was the most important foreign intervention of her tenure, and a seemingly successful one, but the lack of security in Benghazi and the confusion over how the incident occurred set off a heated Republican attack on Clinton's handling of the disaster, and she was roasted on the cable-news spit for weeks. In January, she took responsibility for the deaths of the four Americans before Congress--while also questioning her inquisition, snapping at a Republican congressman, "What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."

Benghazi will be the go-to bludgeon for Republicans if and when Clinton tries using her experience at State to run for president. Republicans are liable to use Benghazi as a wedge to pry back her stately exterior, goading her into an outburst, once again revealing the polarizing figure who saw vast right-wing conspiracies.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: New York Magazine interview, "Hillary in Midair"

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : Mar 4, 2013
Arab Spring changed Mideast; commitment to Israel unchanged

The Arab Spring, at once full of both hope and uncertainty, has required Israel--and the United States--to reassess old and settled relationships. Iran's dangerous nuclear weapons program, and its continued support of terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah and Hamas, not only endanger Israel, but endanger the world.

All these pressures put enormous pressure on the State of Israel. We understand that. And we especially understand that if we make a mistake, it's not a threat to our existence. But if Israel makes a mistake, it could be a threat to its very existence. And that's why, from the moment the President took office, he has acted swiftly and decisively to make clear to the whole world and to Israel that even as circumstances have changed, one thing has not: our deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel. That has not changed. That will not change as long as I and he are President and Vice President. It's in our naked self-interest, beyond the moral imperative.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jan 29, 2013
Work toward Arab Spring not being hijacked by extremists

Q: What about the Arab Spring?

A: I think that post the Arab revolutions that took place in Egypt and Libya and Tunisia, and elsewhere in the region, there was always going to be a period of adjustment. What we have to work for, along with the international community, is not to see these revolutions hijacked by extremists, not to see the return of dictatorial rule. It's hard going from decades under one party or one man rule, as somebody said, "waking up from a political coma and understanding democracy."

Q: Is President Morsi with us or not? He's said that the Holocaust didn't exist.

A: You have to look at the fact that the people now in power in these countries have never been in government, never had a chance to really learn how to run agencies or to make decisions. We don't condone what a lot of these leaders are doing, or failing to do. But we also know how important it is that we try to avoid even more extreme elements taking control of territory, even threatening a regime.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Obama Cabinet:Fox News On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
We responded to Benghazi immediately, and for the long run

Let me share some of the lessons we learned [about Benghazi]. Let's start on the night of Sept. 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department, stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. No delays in decision making, no denials of support from Washington or from our military. The Review Board said the response saved American lives in real time and it did.

The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound. I vowed to bring them to justice, and I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.

It's also important to recall that in that same period, we were seeing violent attacks in our embassies, as well as large protests outside many other posts where our thousands of our diplomats serve. So, I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world with particularly scrutiny for high threat posts.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Obama Cabinet: Senate Hearing Testimony on Benghazi attack

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Worked with Libya before Benghazi, but they had no capacity

Sen. RUBIO: Were there any interagency meetings--before this attack--with regard to deteriorating security situation in Libya?

CLINTON: I had no knowledge of specific security requests. With regard to the situation in Libya, there were a number of meetings about this transition to elections.

RUBIO: At the Oct. 2011 & March 2012 meetings, did this issue come up with regards to the inability of the Libyan government to protect our diplomatic institutions?

CLINTON: We talked a great deal about th deteriorating threat environment in Libya.

RUBIO: Was there a specific conversation with regards to the inability of Libya to meet their obligations to provide security?

CLINTON: Oh, absolutely--a constant conversation. And what I found with the Libyans was willingness, but not capacity.

RUBIO: Before the attack, what had we done to help them build their security capacity?

CLINTON: Well, there's a long list, filled with training, with equipment, with planning that they had not done before.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Testimony at Senate Hearing on 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
Libyans marching FOR America means we've been successful

Q: Your opinion on the Benghazi attack?

ROMNEY: With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation. But instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events.

OBAMA: With respect to Libya, [I said that] we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice. But I think it's important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to--without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq--liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans. And as a consequence, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying, "America's our friend. We stand with them." Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
I stand by "time for Mubarak to go" in Egyptian Revolution

Q: During the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go. Some in your administration thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. Do you have any regrets about that?

OBAMA: No, I don't because I think that America has to stand with democracy. But now that you have a democratically elected government in Egypt, they have to make sure that they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities--and we have put significant pressure on them to make sure they're doing that--to recognize the rights of women, which is critical throughout the region. These countries can't develop if young women are not given the kind of education that they need. They have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us.

Q: [to Romney]: Would you have stuck with Mubarak?

ROMNEY: No, I supported the president's action there. I wish we'd have had a better vision of the future.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Supported "Iron Dome" defense shield for Israel

ROMNEY: The reason I call it an "apology tour" is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations, and they noticed that you skipped Israel.

OBAMA: When I went to Israel as a candidate, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles. So that's how I've used my travels when I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
Syria not like Libya; intervention would ignite the region

Q: In March of last year, President Obama explained the military action taken in Libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. So why doesn't the same logic apply in Syria?

BIDEN: It's a different country. It's a different country. It is five times as large geographically. It has 1/5 the population that is Libya. It's in a part of the world where you're not going to see whatever would come from that war. If it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars. And all this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. But we would not be going through the UN.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Sep 19, 2012
Partner with Arab Spring countries to work toward democracy

[After the riots attacking American embassies], there is a larger issue, and that is what's going to be happening in the Arab Spring as these countries transition from dictatorship to democracy. And we cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob. And so my message to the Presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries is, we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you, and we stand on the side of democracy, but democracy is not just an election; it's also, are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly.

All these issues are ones that the region is going to wrestle with. The one thing we can't do is withdraw from the region, because the US continues to be the one indispensable nation. And even countries where the US is criticized, they still want our leadership. And so we're going to continue to work in these regions.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Sep 19, 2012
Remain vigilant & focus forcefully on groups like al Qaeda

Q: The White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Was Iran, or al Qaeda behind organizing the protests [which led to the American embassy attacks]?

A: Well, we're still doing an investigation. The natural protests that arose were used as an excuse by extremists to harm US interests. We have to remain vigilant. Look, when I came into office I said I would end the war in Iraq--and I did. I said that we would begin transitioning in Afghanistan. But what I also said was we're going to have to focus narrowly and forcefully on groups like al Qaeda. Those forces have not gone away. We've decimated al Qaeda's top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan, but in Yemen, in Libya--increasingly in places like Syria-- what you see is these elements that don't have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we've got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Sep 19, 2012
Libyan people appreciate that America liberated them

Q: [After the release of a movie preview perceived as mocking Muhammad], we have seen anti-American protests by thousands of Muslims in many countries. Why weren't our embassies better prepared with more security on September 11?

A: We mourn the loss of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi. But that's not representative of the attitudes of the Libyan people towards America, because they understand because of the incredible work that our diplomats did as well as our men and women in uniform, we liberated that country from a dictator who had terrorized them for 40 years. We've seen this in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is used as an excuse to carry out inexcusable violent acts. We told the [Libyan & other] leaders, that although we had nothing to do with the video, we find it offensive, it's not representative of America's views, but we will not tolerate violence, and we will bring those who carried out these events to justice.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Hillary Clinton on Technology : Jun 14, 2012
Condemned China's use of Internet to monitor dissidents

Hillary Clinton had already demonstrated that she was willing to confront China. In 2010, she delivered a speech on the increasingly important and contentious issue of Internet freedom around the world. She criticized various countries' barriers to the free flow of information and their detention of bloggers. In particular, she condemned the use of the Internet to monitor and silence the activities of political and religious dissidents.

She singled out Tunisia and Egypt, but the country to which Clinton devoted the most attention in her speech was China. Later, Google publicly threatened to pull out of China because of cyberattacks on its email system and the targeting of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists. Clinton's response was swift and pointed: She called on the Chinese government to investigate the attacks on Google. Countries that engage in such attacks "should face consequences and international condemnation," she said.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.245

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
We shared responsibility to bring democracy to Libya

The Iraq War really spiraled out of control pretty quickly. One of the lessons we`ve learned is that you can go into any dictatorship and try to impose democracy, but it`s going to take you $1 trillion, a decade, and you`re going to have to make a judgment whether or not you`d better spend your time and effort doing something else to make the world safer.

I would give Libya as an example. It was clear that Moammar Gadhafi was really not a good guy at all. But what did the president do? We spent several billion dollars, but we didn`t lose one American life. We didn`t put one boot on the ground. And we had a shared responsibility with the rest of the world, including Arab nations as well as NATO to deal with that issue.

And now, there`s a shared responsibility to the world to help them establish a democracy. That`s very different than going it alone. I hope we`ve learned the lesson that, unless our immediate vital national interest is at stake, going it alone should be the last option.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on 2012 election

Donald Trump on Energy & Oil : Dec 5, 2011
Libya: No oil, no support; no exceptions

Qadaffi is dead and gone. So what? We have spent more than $1 billion on the Libya operation. And what are we getting in return? A huge bill, that's what. It's incredible how foolish the Obama administration is. Libya has enormous oil reserves. When the so-called "rebels" came to NATO (which is really the U.S.) and asked for help to defeat Qadaffi, we should have said, "Sure, we don't like the guy either. We will help you take out Qadaffi. But in exchange, you give us 50 percent of your oil for the next twenty-five years to pay for our military support and to say thank you for the United States doing what you could never have done on your own." The "rebels" would have jumped at the offer and said yes.

Imagine the amount of oil we could have secured for America. Our policy should be: no oil, no military support.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p.102

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Jun 8, 2011
OpEd: Failed promise to close Guantanamo loses left votes

Obama won a lot of the Left votes by promising to close Guantanamo and by claiming to be the anti-war candidate. But Guantanamo still operates and the American involvement in wars has escalated in Afghanistan and Libya. Some on the Left are so upset that they want someone with Left credibility to run against Obama in the primaries. If many on the Left abandon Obama, he will lose a lot of fundraising sources. And he might lose enough votes in the swing states and lose the general election.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 17

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 8, 2011
Intervene in Libya for humanitarian reasons

Obama does have some political cover for Afghanistan and Iraq because the US was already involved in those countries when he became President. But Libya is entirely Obama's war.

Michele Bachmann's position on Libya distinctly contrasts with Obama's position. Bachmann is against American involvement in the civil war in Libya. Her view is that no one really knows who the rebels in Libya are, nor how they intend to change Libya. She further explains that there are terrorist groups assisting the rebels. Obama's position is that the US must be involved in Libya for "humanitarian" reasons. As the Libya situation drags on, people will realize that if NATO and the U.S. had never intervened in Libya, the civil war would have been over in a few weeks. The rebels would have been driven out long ago, and thousands of deaths would have been prevented. Americans will demand that Obama answer "Why Libya?" just like they demanded that Bush answer "Why Iraq?"

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 24

Mike Gravel on Homeland Security : May 2, 2008
Foreign arms sales funnel money back to defense industry

In May 1978 there was a controversial vote to sell F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and F-5s to Egypt. The vote caused an outcry in the American Jewish community. But Congress approved the deal to support Carter’s more even-handed approach to the Middle East quandary. I supported the idea that in the long run it would be better for Israel’s security. But Barney saw it as a betrayal. Just four months later, on September 17, 1978, the Camp David Accords were reached, and Egypt made peace with Israel the following year: Carter’s greatest achievement. Arms sales to foreign governments were increased in these days to make up for Carter’s initial defense spending at home. Since many of these foreign sales were purchased with US military aid, it was a way of funneling taxpayers’ money through foreign capitals and back into the US defense industry pockets--the point of the exercise.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p.202

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Feb 11, 2008
Humanitarian aid now for displaced Iraqis

Q: Will you use every tool in our country’s arsenal to prevent civil war in Iraq after troops are pulled out?

A: If we are doing this right, if we have a phased redeployment where we’re as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, then there’ not reason why we shouldn’t be able to prevent the wholesale slaughter some people have suggested might occur. And part of that means we are engaging in the diplomatic efforts that are required within Iraq, among friends, like Egypt, and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but also enemies like Iran and Syria. They have to have buy-in into that process. We have to have humanitarian aid now. We also have two-and-a-half million displaced people inside of Iraq and several million more outside of Iraq. We should be ramping up assistance to them right now. But I always reserve the right, in conjunction with a broader international effort, to prevent genocide or any wholesale slaughter than might happen inside of Iraq or anyplace else.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Nov 1, 2003
I despise terrorism and the nihilism it represents

On Oct. 11, the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists in Yemen. The explosion killed 17 US sailors and ripped a hole in the destroyer’s hull. This attack, like the embassy bombings, was later traced to al Qaeda.

I despise terrorism and the nihilism it represents, and I was incredulous when the NY Republican Party and Lazio campaign insinuated that I was somehow involved with the terrorists who blew up the Cole. They made this charge in a TV ad and an automatic telephone message directed to NY voters 12 days before the election. The story they concocted was that I had received a donation from somebody who belonged to a group that they said supported terrorists--“the same kind of terrorism that killed our sailors on the USS Cole.” The phone script told people to call me and tell me to “stop supporting terrorism.” This last-minute desperation tactic blew up, however, thanks to a vigorous response by my campaign and with help from former NYC mayor Ed Koch, who cut a TV commercial scolding Lazio.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Living History, by Hillary Clinton, p.521-522

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