State of Illinois Archives: on War & Peace


Richard Durbin: Engage China to de-escalate North Korean nukes

Q: Secy. Kerry's plan in North Korea sounds familiar: Do we really want to go down this path again, more talks, more aid to the North Koreans?

Sen. DURBIN: The last thing we want is the launch of any kind of nuclear missile or nuclear weapon on the Korean peninsula. We've got to deescalate the rhetoric and the testing that's going on in North Korea and we're turning primarily to China, to tell the North Koreans if they want to continue this kind of escalation of rhetoric, it's at the expense of the safety of this world, as well as their own economy.

Q: Sen. Cornyn, a year ago, you accused Obama of a policy of appeasement towards North Korea.

Sen. CORNYN (R-TX): Well, I'm not for paying an unhinged leader like Kim Jong Un ransom in order to have him toned down his rhetoric. None of us wants [nuclear conflict]. But I don't see that this policy of paying ransom just to get him to tone down rhetoric has been successful. It's just sort of like a bad movie. We keep seeing the reruns.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013, on 2014 Illinois Senate race Apr 14, 2013

Alexi Giannoulias: Stand firmly and unequivocally against Iranian aggression

The greatest single threat to peace in the Middle East is Iran. Iran's funding and facilitation of terror, including through its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, greatly destabilize the region. Iran's activities threaten not only Israel, but also the U.S. and the rest of the world. Alexi believes we must stand firmly and unequivocally with Israel against Iranian aggression, and recognizes the urgency of addressing the risks posed by Iran's nuclear program. Alexi supports President Obama's position that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable and believes our efforts should include using diplomatic tools, but with a concrete timetable coupled with the threat of crippling economic sanctions if Iran does not end its illicit nuclear program. As Senator, Alexi would co-sponsor the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, AlexiForIllinois.com, "Issues" Dec 25, 2009

Alexi Giannoulias: Expel al Qaeda from Afghanistan, then end commitment

The situation in Afghanistan is dire. The violence threatens to destabilize Afghanistan's nuclear-armed neighbor, Pakistan, raising the possibility of a nuclear weapon falling into rogue hands. We must not allow the region to slip further into chaos--too much is at stake. [This is the] region from which the attacks of 9/11 were launched, and where nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of fanatics and terrorists.

Alexi supports the President's decision to increase troop levels as part of a larger military and political strategy to defeat the Taliban insurgency and permanently expel al Qaeda. This is not, and should not be, an open-ended commitment. Our military presence in Afghanistan should be aimed at preventing the Taliban from establishing a base from which to destabilize Pakistan, giving the Afghanis an opportunity to develop a government that works, and training and enabling the Afghanis to secure their own borders and to keep al Qaeda and the Taliban out of the region themselves.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, AlexiForIllinois.com, "Issues" Dec 25, 2009

Alexi Giannoulias: Withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2010

Alexi believes that America's military resources in the Middle East are best spent combating the threat of al Qaeda, which is regrouping in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He supports the President's plan to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2010, with a complete withdrawal of U.S. personnel by the end of 2011. Our exit must be done responsibly and help ensure that we leave Iraq with a viable and credible democracy.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, AlexiForIllinois.com, "Issues" Dec 25, 2009

Dick Durbin: We caní afford $10B to $15B a month in Iraq

Sauerberg called for keeping American troops in Iraq. Sauerberg said it was a critical time that called for keeping U.S. troops there to help Iraqis. The United States can end up strengthening its national security and making life better for Iraqis, he said. ďWe canít afford to leave,Ē Sauerberg said.

Durbin argued the United States canít afford to keep spending $10 billion to $15 billion a month, along with soldiersí lives, to rebuild Iraq. He called for a ďsystematic, sensible withdrawal.Ē

Source: 2008 Illinois Senate Debate reported in Chicago Sun Times Oct 7, 2008

Steven Sauerberg: Critical to keep U.S. troops in Iraq to help Iraqis

Sauerberg called for keeping American troops in Iraq. Sauerberg said it was a critical time that called for keeping U.S. troops there to help Iraqis. The United States can end up strengthening its national security and making life better for Iraqis, he said. ďWe canít afford to leave,Ē Sauerberg said.

Durbin argued the United States canít afford to keep spending $10 billion to $15 billion a month, along with soldiersí lives, to rebuild Iraq. He called for a ďsystematic, sensible withdrawal.Ē

Source: 2008 Illinois Senate Debate reported in Chicago Sun Times Oct 7, 2008

Jim Oberweis: Stay the course; gradual withdrawal from the Iraq war

With shared views on issues including immigration reform, limited government, and a gradual withdrawal from the Iraq war, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain expressed his support for congressional candidate Jim Oberweis.

McCain described Oberweis as a successful businessman who shares retired Rep. Dennis Hastert's "values, his principles and his fiscal conservative ideals."

"John McCain has established a reputation, as I have, for speaking his mind even if that means taking a position that might be out of step with the so-called fashionable thinking and even if it might be politically unpopular," Oberweis said.

Foster criticized McCain for his Iraq war stance; McCain said that having US troops in Iraq for 100 years "would be fine with me." "I respect Sen. McCain and his decades of service, but when it comes to Iraq, I think Sen. McCain, Pres. Bush, and Jim Oberweis are flat wrong," Foster said. "Like George Bush, Jim Oberweis says we need to stay the course in Iraq."

Source: Daily Herald on 2014 Illinois Senate race Feb 21, 2008

Alan Keyes: Iraq War reduced probability of attack from Saddam to zero

Q: Is the Iraq War the right war at the right time?

KEYES: We either fight the war against terror or the terrorists kill us. What Pres. Bush did was take a situation where there was a probability of a terrorist attack and respond. Now what probability was there that there was going to be a biological or nuclear attack against the US? Bush did was what any responsible president would have to do: He acted to reduce that probability to zero because that is the only probability we want. So he acted to attack them before they attack us, to make it clear to enablers of terrorism like Saddam Hussein that we will retaliate. And itís worked. It was a necessary decision the president made to save our country from disaster.

OBAMA: We have not reduced the probability of a terrorist attack to zero, when we have nuclear fuel lying around in the former Soviet Union & while Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan.

KEYES: We have reduced the probability of an attack from Saddam Hussein to zero

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

Alan Keyes: Naive to think Saddam has no connections to Al Qaeda

Q: Is the Iraq War the right war at the right time?

OBAMA: There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe. Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan.

KEYES: The breathtaking naivete of the assertion that there is no connection between Al Qaeda & Saddam Hussein when Saddam was providing payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers who had ties to Al Qaeda. I worked on the National Security Council staff. Maybe thatís why I understand the situation a little better than Barack Obama. Those ties are real and we cannot afford to let them operate.

OBAMA: I donít think that Mr. Keyes knowledge of the situation is better than Donald Rumsfeldís or the other experts who have confirmed that there was no connection between those who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 and Iraq. This was an ideologically driven war. But now we do have a hotbed of terrorism to fight in Iraq.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

Barack Obama: Iraq War has made US less safe from terrorism

KEYES: What probability was there that there was going to be a biological or nuclear attack against the US [from Iraq]? Bush acted to reduce that probability to zero.

OBAMA: There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe because it betrayed a set of international rules that were in place to protect us, that could have helped us defeat terrorism. Mr. Keyes implied that by fighting this war in Iraq we have reduced the probability of a terrorist attack to zero. That cannot be the case when we have nuclear fuel lying around in the former Soviet Union. We still have ports that are insecure. We have nuclear and chemical plants that are still insecure. The notion that we have eliminated the terrorist threat while Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan is simply not the case.

KEYES: We have reduced the probability of an attack from Saddam Hussein to zero.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

Barack Obama: Saddam has no connections to Al Qaeda nor to 9/11

Q: Is the Iraq War the right war at the right time?

OBAMA: There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe. Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan.

KEYES: The breathtaking naivete of the assertion that there is no connection between Al Qaeda & Saddam Hussein when Saddam was providing payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers who had ties to Al Qaeda. I worked on the National Security Council staff. Maybe thatís why I understand the situation a little better than Barack Obama. Those ties are real and we cannot afford to let them operate.

OBAMA: I donít think that Mr. Keyes knowledge of the situation is better than Donald Rumsfeldís or the other experts who have confirmed that there was no connection between those who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 and Iraq. This was an ideologically driven war. But now we do have a hotbed of terrorism to fight in Iraq.

Source: Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes Oct 21, 2004

Alan Keyes: Troops should stay in Iraq until they get the job done

Q: How long should US armed forces stay in Iraq, and how should we get them out?

A: They stay there until they get the job done. Kerry is preoccupied with an exit strategy, but if you get into a battle and the only thing youíre thinking about is how to get out, I think we have a word for you-and itís not very complimentary. We are engaged in a war against terror that was started by the terrorists, that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, that involves a global infrastructure of insidious individuals. We have seen the work they do against innocent lives in the most bestial fashion possible. To fight that war, it is not sufficient to have rhetoric, it is not sufficient to react after the fact. You have got to preemptively move against their bases, against their sources of supply, against their training camps, against the states the provide them with safe haven and infrastructure. If you do not, then they will simply prepare for further attacks.

Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Alan Keyes: Preemptive strike in Iraq is a right decision

In a world where we have WMD, itís not good enough to say that, ďIf thereís a 50% chance that they could use them, I will actĒ-once one such attack succeeds, we could end up losing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. Bush has done the correct thing. He moved preemptively in Afghanistan, he moved preemptively in Iraq to make sure the American people will not again suffer even worse damage from this kind of insidious attack. We ought to stay there until our national security purposes are served. We ought to understand the national security objective is different than the political objective. It is up to the people of Iraq, and we can work with other countries, internationally, to help them establish a regime that will be more respectful of human rights, that will never again become a base for terror or involved in the infrastructure of terror. But our main objective in which we have to act, whether we have cooperation or not, is to defend the security and lives of our people.
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Alan Keyes: There is no distinction between Afghanistan and Iraq

Q: Isnít there a distinction between Afghanistan and Iraq and our military incursions into both places?

A: There is not. One of the problems with folks who havenít really had much experience in dealing with terror is that they donít understand that we are in fact faced with a global infrastructure. Saddam was providing, for instance, payments to the families of suicide bombers who were moving against the Israelis. Bin Laden made it very clear he was doing so on behalf of, he said, the Palestinians and their cause. All of this suggests is the reality that we are not dealing with discrete elements here. We are dealing with a single war that has a front in Afghanistan, a front in Iraq that has a covert series of fronts that we donít hear much about, but in which our people are presumably going after the cadre of terror, that has a financial front & other fronts. To deal with this as if weíre dealing with discrete little episodes is to show that you have no real understanding of the danger that we face.

Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Alan Keyes: Bush didnít have the wisdom of hindsight in the Iraqi War

OBAMA: The Bush administration could not find a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. WMD are not found in Iraq. And so, it is absolutely true that we have a network of terrorists, but it takes a huge leap of logic to suddenly suggest that that means that we invade Iraq. Saudi Arabia has a whole bunch of terrorists, so have Syria and Iran, and all across the globe. To mount full-scale invasions as a consequence is a bad strategy. It makes more sense for us to focus on those terrorists who are active to try to roll them up where we have evidence that in fact these countries are being used as staging grounds that would potentially cause us eminent harm, and then we go in. The US has to reserve all military options in facing such an imminent threat- but we have to do it wisely.

KEYES: Thatís the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bushís hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.

Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Barack Obama: Terrorists are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran

OBAMA: The Bush administration could not find a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. WMD are not found in Iraq. And so, it is absolutely true that we have a network of terrorists, but it takes a huge leap of logic to suddenly suggest that that means that we invade Iraq. Saudi Arabia has a whole bunch of terrorists, so have Syria and Iran, and all across the globe. To mount full-scale invasions as a consequence is a bad strategy. It makes more sense for us to focus on those terrorists who are active to try to roll them up where we have evidence that in fact these countries are being used as staging grounds that would potentially cause us eminent harm, and then we go in. The US has to reserve all military options in facing such an imminent threat- but we have to do it wisely.

KEYES: Thatís the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bushís hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.

Source: [Xref Obama] IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Barack Obama: Invading Iraq was a bad strategic blunder

If a driver of a car, your car, drives it into a ditch, there are only so many ways to pull it out. And so, Kerry is going to be doing many similar things to what Bush is doing in terms of making sure that we do the best we can in Iraq. That doesnít mean we donít fire the driver, and it doesnít mean that we donít examine carefully what lead us to be in this ditch in the first place. It was a bad strategic blunder-and thatís not simply my estimation. Thatís the estimation of a number of Republicans.
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Barack Obama: We must make sure that Iraq is stable having gone in there

Q: Youíre in favor of keeping troops in Iraq. How long?

A: The War on Terror has to be vigorously fought. Where we part company is how to fight it, because Afghanistan in fact was not a preemptive war, it was a war launched directly against those who were responsible for 9/11. Iraq was a preemptive war based on faulty evidence-and I say that not in hindsight, or Monday-morning quarterbacking. Six months before the war was launched, I questioned the evidence that would lead to us being there. Now, us having gone in there, we have a deep national security interest in making certain that Iraq is stable. If not, not only are we going to have a humanitarian crisis, we are also going to have a huge national security problem on our hands-because, ironically, it has become a hotbed of terrorists as a consequence, in part, of our incursion there. In terms of timetable, Iím not somebody who can say with certainty that a year from now or six months from now weíre going to be able to pull down troops.

Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Barack Obama: Advance the training speed and get the reconstruction moving

    We have to do three things in Iraq.
  1. We have to advance the speed with which we are training Iraqi troops and security forces so that they can stabilize the country, and thatís going to require our help.
  2. But itís also going to require the help of the international community, which is why we have to internationalize this process. Iím under no illusions that the Germans and the French are going to be sending troops in any time soon, but we can get them to put more resources into the training and infrastructure required to secure the Iraqi borders and the Iraqi streets.
  3. Finally, itís important that we get our reconstruction moving. The reconstruction process that has taken place has been completely inept. And thatís not simply my estimation, thatís the estimation of the two ranking Republican Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who issued a blistering attack on the Bush administration. Highly unusual and it indicates how badly botched this job has been.
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Barack Obama: Democratizing Iraq will be more difficult than Afghanistan

Q: Afghanistan has just conducted the first elections in its 5,000-year history. They appear to have gone very well-at least, up to this point. Is that not a hopeful sign for Iraq, and for the elections that we may be seeing there in January?

A: It is an absolutely hopeful sign for the people of Afghanistan. As I have stated unequivocally, I have always thought that we did the right thing in Afghanistan. My only concerns with respect to Afghanistan was that we diverted our attention from Afghanistan in terms of moving into Iraq, and I think would could have done a better job of stabilizing that country than we have in providing assistance to the Afghani people. All of us should be rooting for the Afghani people & making sure that we are providing them the support to make things happen. With respect to Iraq, itís going to be a tougher play. I donít think any of us should be rooting for failure in Iraq at this point. This is no longer Bushís war, this is our war, and we all have a stake in it.

Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

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