Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iowa Caucus 2012

Today is the day that Iowans use their voices and are the first in the nation to cast a formal opinion for the 2012 Presidential Election. The news media has spent quite a bit of time talking about the issues and we thought that we might and show you what each candidate says about national security and the military on his or her campaign 2012 website.

All of this information is freely available and links are provided for each candidate website. All current Republican candidates are included as well as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

Note: Information provided within this post is not an endorsement or commentary on any specific candidate. Iowa Troop Pantry maintains no political opinions or party affiliations. This post is merely for informational purposes.

Rep. Michelle Bachman

Beyond the basic task of defending our borders and our homeland, it doesn’t take a Nobel Peace Prize to recognize that preserving our security comes down to one simple maxim: stand up for our friends … stand up to our foes … and know the difference.

Understanding those tenets is especially important at a time of unprecedented flux and instability in the Middle East and the rise of powerful competitors including China and Russia.

Instead, we have a President who devalues the special relationship with our most trusted ally, Britain, even as he bows to kings, bends to dictators, bumbles with reset buttons, and babies radical Islamists. We have a President who tells our true friend, Israel, that it must surrender its right to defensible borders to appease forces that have never recognized that nation’s right to exist.

We have a President who stumbles into Libya, without a clear mission or exit strategy, to protect its population, but can’t or won’t devise a strategy to secure our borders. We have a President who has taken his eye off the ball when it comes to the true threat in the Middle East: a potentially nuclear-armed Iran.

We have a President who – in unprecedented fashion – is ravaging our military strength and structure at a time of war, while elevating political correctness over readiness in its ranks. And we have a President who is declaring a premature end to the war on terror against the advice of his own generals.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will do whatever it takes to fulfill the federal government’s foremost responsibility under the Constitution: to keep you safe in an increasingly dangerous world. I will uphold America’s values by standing shoulder-to shoulder with those who share those values and our interests and standing tall against those who don’t. I will devote the resources necessary to maintain our fighting forces as second-to-none, while being judicious in the use of our power. I will ensure our borders are fully secured. And I will not rest until the war on terror is won.


Speaker Newt Gingrich

Keeping Americans safe is the most important duty of government. That is why the confusion and incoherence of the Obama Administration’s response to the threats facing America is so troubling. Newt advocates sound policies to keep Americans safe based on timeless American principles.

Sound policies to keep Americans safe

1. Understand our enemies and tell the truth about them. We are engaged in a long war against radical Islamism, a belief system adhered to by a small minority of Muslims but nonetheless a powerful and organized ideology within Islamic thought that is totally incompatible with the modern world.

2. Think big. America currently lacks a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism. The result is that we currently view Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other danger spots of the globe as if they are isolated, independent situations. Only a grand strategy for marginalizing, isolating, and defeating radical Islamists across the world will lead to victory.

3. Know our values. America’s foreign policy must begin by understanding who we are as a country. We are, as Ronald Reagan said, the world’s “abiding alternative to tyranny.” Therefore, America’s foreign policy must be to ensure our own survival and protect those who share our values.

4. Military force must be used judiciously and with clear, obtainable objectives understood by Congress.

5. Implement an American Energy Plan to reduce the world’s dependence on oil from dangerous and unstable countries, especially in the Middle East.

6. Secure the border to prevent terrorist organizations from sneaking agents and weapons into the United States.

7. Incentivize math and science education in America to ensure the men and women of our Armed Forces always have the most advanced and powerful weapons in the world at their disposal.


Gov. Jon Huntsman

Key Priorities:

Afghanistan: Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, the United States invaded Afghanistan to prevent Al-Qaeda terrorists from continuing to train freely and plot attacks against our country. Our brave men and women in the U.S. military and intelligence community can be proud of their accomplishments: Al-Qaeda has been largely driven from Afghanistan, the Taliban has been removed from governing power, and Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Yet, our mission has evolved into an ill-advised counterinsurgency campaign which continues to carry heavy costs in terms of blood and treasure.

Rebuilding Our Core: The world needs American leadership now more than ever yet we are struggling to provide it. Too many Americans are out of work. We have a debt crisis affecting our national strength and we have an outdated tax and regulatory system that is strangling our economy. It is time to compete. Rebuilding our core requires a sober-minded assessment of our global commitments. The great men and women of our armed forces should be proud of what has been accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan. We still live in a dangerous world, and events may be thrust upon us where we must act to protect our vital national interests.

Counterterrorism: Al-Qaeda and other groups have evolved since 9-11 in response to our efforts against them, and we must adapt accordingly. Terrorist networks have become more diffuse, their modes of operation have become more difficult to detect, and the sophistication of their potential means of attack is growing. They are being creative in considering new ways to target our economy, our security, and indeed our daily psyche. Whether employing technical means such as cyber attacks and the targeting of critical infrastructure, or crude one-man shooting sprees in crowded public venues, we must be as flexible in our prevention as they are in their execution. Above all, we cannot allow these groups to acquire and employ weapons of mass destruction.

Force Transformation: Sustaining America's leadership position in the world requires we continue to maintain the world's most capable military. But being the best will not simply be a function of spending the most. Staying on top will increasingly depend on our willingness to adapt to the realities of the security environment in the 21st century, and prioritizing the right way with respect to the future of our armed forces.

Taking Care of our Veterans: Maintaining the best military will not simply be a function of spending the most. Staying on top will increasingly depend on our willingness to adapt to the realities of the security environment in the 21st century, and prioritizing correctly to structure our armed forces to meet current and future threats – including asymmetrical threats. Transformation of our forces is required to be prepared for future wars, and to better orient for a Pacific-centric century.


President Barack Obama

President Obama is committed to keeping the sacred trust we hold with members of our nation’s military. The President has fought to expand and improve benefits for veterans and their families—from access to health care they need to the education and job opportunities they deserve when they return home. President Obama will always stand up for those who have served.

President Obama is committed to keeping the sacred trust we hold with members of our nation’s military. The President has fought to expand and improve benefits for veterans and their families—from access to health care they need to the education and job opportunities they deserve when they return home. President Obama will always stand up for those who have served.


· President Obama has announced the war in Iraq is coming to an end and has started to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, beginning the transition to Afghan security and leadership. At the same time, the President has made significant progress towards defeating al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks around the world.

· The Obama Administration has ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Our military is stronger and safer now that patriotic gay men and women no longer have to live a lie in order to defend the country they love.

· President Obama has boosted the Veterans Affairs budget to ensure that veterans receive timely access to the highest quality benefits and services, which they earned through their service to our nation.

· By 2013, over 500,000 veterans previously denied care will now be eligible for VA health care.


Rep. Ron Paul

As an Air Force veteran, Ron Paul believes national defense is the single most important responsibility the Constitution entrusts to the federal government.

In Congress, Ron Paul voted to authorize military force to hunt down Osama bin Laden and authored legislation to specifically target terrorist leaders and bring them to justice.

Today, however, hundreds of thousands of our fighting men and women have been stretched thin all across the globe in over 135 countries – often without a clear mission, any sense of what defines victory, or the knowledge of when they’ll be permanently reunited with their families.

Acting as the world’s policeman and nation-building weakens our country, puts our troops in harm’s way, and sends precious resources to other nations in the midst of an historic economic crisis.

Taxpayers are forced to spend billions of dollars each year to protect the borders of other countries, while Washington refuses to deal with our own border security needs.

Congress has been rendered virtually irrelevant in foreign policy decisions and regularly cedes authority to an executive branch that refuses to be held accountable for its actions.

Far from defeating the enemy, our current policies provide incentive for more to take up arms against us.

That’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Paul will lead the fight to:

* Make securing our borders the top national security priority.

* Avoid long and expensive land wars that bankrupt our country by using constitutional means to capture or kill terrorist leaders who helped attack the U.S. and continue to plot further attacks.

* Guarantee our intelligence community’s efforts are directed toward legitimate threats and not spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.

* End the nation-building that is draining troop morale, increasing our debt, and sacrificing lives with no end in sight.

* Follow the Constitution by asking Congress to declare war before one is waged.

* Only send our military into conflict with a clear mission and all the tools they need to complete the job – and then bring them home.

* Ensure our veterans receive the care, benefits, and honors they have earned when they return.

* Revitalize the military for the 21st century by eliminating waste in a trillion-dollar military budget.

* Prevent the TSA from forcing Americans to either be groped or ogled just to travel on an airplane and ultimately abolish the unconstitutional agency.

* Stop taking money from the middle class and the poor to give to rich dictators through foreign aid.

As President, Ron Paul’s national defense policy will ensure that the greatest nation in human history is strong, secure, and respected.


Gov. Rick Perry

Rick Perry believes that our nation is most secure when we have the strongest economy in the world. His first priority will be to get America’s economic engine running at full speed to restore our global economic leadership, and to ensure America has the resources needed to maintain a strong, modern defense. By the same token, we need to maintain our strong presence to defend our interests around the globe while we rebuild our economy at home.

Perry believes in American exceptionalism and rejects the notion our president should apologize for our country. He believes allies and adversaries alike must know that America seeks peace from a position of strength. We must strengthen our diplomatic relationships, and stand firm with our allies against our common enemies.

While advancing our interests abroad, Perry believes it is equally important to defend our interests at home by securing our border.

As president, Perry will substantially increase manpower, technology and fencing along the border to protect the American homeland and stop illegal immigration. This strategy has proven effective in Texas, where Gov. Perry has directed nearly $400 million in state tax dollars to do the federal government’s job of securing the border.

Perry will deploy thousands of National Guardsmen to the border until a sufficient number of border patrol agents can be hired and trained. He will order federal officials to expedite construction of strategic fencing, especially in high traffic areas where manpower alone is insufficient to do the job. And he will make greater use of unmanned aerial assets to gather reliable, real-time intelligence that law enforcement can immediately act upon.


Gov. Mitt Romney

Strong Military: American military power is vital to the preservation of our own security and peace around the world. But President Obama has put us on course toward a "hollow" force. He has already cut the projected defense budget by $350 billion over the next ten years, sought further cuts over the same period, and agreed to a budget process that may cut another $600 billion. To reverse this trend, Mitt Romney will:

  • Reverse Obama-era defense spending cuts and set a core defense spending floor of 4% of GDP.
  • Find efficiencies in the Department of Defense procurement process and non-force staff to reinvest in the force.
  • In his first 100 days, put our Navy on the path to increase its shipbuilding rate from nine per year to approximately fifteen per year.
  • Modernize and replace the aging inventories of the Air Force, Army, and Marines, and selectively strengthen our force structure.
  • In his first 100 days, begin reversing Obama-era cuts to missile defense and commit to a robust multi-layered national ballistic-missile defense system to deter and defend against nuclear attacks on our homeland and our allies.


Sen. Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum understands that the events of September 11, 2001 brought to our front door the uncomfortable truth that attacks on our soil are not merely a distant possibility, but a harsh reality.

To combat this threat, Rick refused to back down from those who wish to destroy America. Rick Santorum understands that those who wish to destroy America do so because they hate everything we are – a land of freedom, a land of prosperity, a land of equality. Rick knows that backing down to the Jihadists means that we are only putting our foundational principles at greater risk. As an elected representative, Rick knew that his greatest responsibility was to protect the freedoms we enjoy – and we should not apologize for holding true to these principles.

That is why Rick refuses to call this a War on Terror, because, like Blitzkrieg, terror is a tactic. Rick believes our nation’s leaders must be honest with the American people and call this war what it is, a War with Radical Islam. Rick saw firsthand during the Bush Administration that without clearly defining who we are fighting and why we are fighting, the American people will never understand the great threat posed by our enemies.

Rick did not simply use his position in the United States Senate to fight rhetorical battles, he used every legislative tool at his disposal to combat rogue regimes that wish our nation harm. Rick spent 8 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he fought to strengthen America’s military in the face of the Clinton Administration’s attempt to downsize our fighting capabilities.

In 2003, Rick authored and successfully fought for the passage of the “Syria Accountability Act” to combat the terrorist threat posed by Syria. By 2005, Rick was one of our nation’s first leaders to understand the threat posed by Iran, so he authored and passed the “Iran Freedom and Support Act” in the face of Democratic and Bush State Department opposition, which authorized Federal monies to support pro-democracy movements in Iran and keep the tyrannical dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Though the war in Iraq was unpopular in 2006, Rick refused to shy away from his belief that we need to confront our enemies. Though ridiculed by many in the mainstream media as a chicken little for talking about the threat posed by Ahmadinejad and Iran, Rick spent much of his campaign focused on the gathering storm that our enemies pose. In an election that was a referendum on the war, Rick was defeated.

Though he lost at the ballot box, Rick has not stopped fighting for the defense our nation. Since leaving the Senate in 2007, Rick created the “Program to Protect America’s Freedom” at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he worked to identify, study, and heighten awareness of the threats posed to America. Through his work, Rick spoke at dozens of university campuses and to thousands of college students about the threats to our nation and how it is critical that the next generation of leaders not back down, but defend our nation.


Don't forget to exercise your civic responsibilities and caucus tonight (no matter what your political affiliation).

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