Gilmore said he would support pursuing the war in Iraq to completion. Warner said he would not set a timeline for troops to come home from Iraq. But Gilmore accused Warner of changing his stance from last year, when he said troops should start to leave i
January 2009. Gilmore said the troops should stay as long as needed. “Any kind of timetable is not responsible,” he said. “This is not the way to be conducting foreign policy in Iraq.”
Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in Washington Post
Sep 19, 2008
No timeline for withdrawal from Iraq
The two men differed on foreign policy: Warner said he favors the withdrawal of troops from Iraq but not on an “arbitrary timeline.” He said he has not completely agreed with either Obama or
McCain on the issue, but clarified that he previously stated troop withdrawal should begin in January. Gilmore said there should be no timeline for troop withdrawal.
Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate in The Washington Times
Sep 19, 2008
Senators should have read NIE before war vote
Q: Did you read the National Intelligence Estimate, which included all the caveats, on whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, before the war vote?
BROWNBACK: I don’t remember that report. I had a number of briefings. And I held
a number of committee hearings. I was chairing the Middle East Subcommittee and we held hearings on this topic and what was taking place and what Saddam was doing.
McCAIN: I did not read that particular document. I received hundreds of briefings and
background and information on it.
Q: Gov. Gilmore, you chaired the commission on Iraq. Do you think it was appropriate that members of Congress would authorize the president to go to war without reading that NIE?
GILMORE: I think the people who are
in Congress who are responsible for sending this country to war, with the enormous dangers that it has geopolitically and strategically, ought to read at least that kind of material. I know they get a lot of stuff and they can’t read everything.
Mandatory sanctions against nuclear Iran & possible strike
Q: Will you launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran if they were close to achieving a nuclear weapon?
A: I think Iran is one of the real emerging problems. And you have to look at this Middle East issue beyond just the Iraq issue. You have to look at
all the complexities of Israel & Palestine & Iran & Iraq and the entire issue of the Middle East. With respect to Iran, I think that there is no choice at this point other than to join up with people across the world in order to put on serious
mandatory sanctions against Iran and to do everything that is going to be necessary to try to bring them to the notion that it is better for them to give up this sort of plan rather than to proceed the way we are. We have to ask ourselves: Are we
prepared to have Iran have a nuclear weapon? [What about implications for] Saudi Arabia & Egypt? The American people have to at some point come to a real serious conclusion about the tough decision that has to be made when we may have to in fact strike.
President was wrong to stand pat as long as he did
Q: Do you approve of the way Bush has waged this war?
A: I think that he’s trying to bring some sense of civil order over there.
Q: Has he done a good job over these four years?
A: We have to look where we are and where we are going forward.
I think that Democrats are wrong when they say that we need to pull out now on some type of timetable. I think that is a recipe for a very dangerous situation. We’re going to have to find the correct way forward now. And the Democratic proposal and any
Republicans that side with them on this immediate pullout are not doing the right thing in the American interest.
Q: But do you agree with Sen. McCain who says that the way this war was conducted over these four years has been awful?
I have not been entirely comfortable with the way this thing has developed either. But the fact is that we’ve got to move forward now, not looking back. I have said numerous times that I think the president was wrong to stand pat as long as he did.
Fight war on terror like Cold War: on moral high ground
Q: When speaking about Osama bin Laden last week, Gov. Romney said, “It’s not worth moving heaven & Earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Sen. McCain called that naive. Who’s right?
GILMORE: We have to do everything that
we can do to get this guy, because he is a symbol to the people who believe, as a matter of faith, that they have a right and a duty to destroy Americans and Western civilization. The bigger issue, however, is this: The Americans have to lead against the
sea of hostility. This is a serious challenge.
Q: Is Pres. Bush partly responsible for that?
GILMORE: What I think we have to do is to use all of our abilities, diplomatic & economic & military, above all things, put ourselves on the moral high
ground, and let people across the world know that we are in the same shoes that we were in during the Cold War. During the Cold War, we represented the aspirations of people everywhere in the world in good faith. And that now must be our policy.
We have to support these troops. You can’t have a policy like the Democrats are saying, where we pull out on a date certain. How do you send men & women into combat and say on the other hand “we’re only kidding, we’re gonna get out at a particular time?”
You can’t have that. We have to stand behind our men and women. We cannot stand pat -- we have to move ahead in this area. The president is attempting to do that and I stand behind the surge
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC
Mar 14, 2007
No troop increase without mission; but no timetable
Gilmore said he had always been what he described as an unvarying Ronald Reagan conservative. He said: “I didn’t run some place and pretend I was a liberal and run someplace else as a conservative. I just didn’t do that.” He was critical of what he
described as excessive spending by Republicans over the past eight years, and said that is what led to the party’s defeat in the Nov. 7 midterm elections. He was less direct in discussing his views on Iraq. He declined to say whether the he believed the
original decision to invade was correct. He did say he would not support an increase in troop strength there unless a specific mission was spelled out, and that he would not support a timetable for withdrawing troops.
“I think we should not keep doing the same thing we have been doing,” he said. “We need to assess new approaches and I am open to considering all of those.”
Source: By Adam Nagourney, New York Times blog
Dec 19, 2006
Bush’s steadfastness in Iraq is leadership in crisis
Q: After we got into Iraq and we realized there was no WMD, the president’s people all apologized for the fact that the president had said in his State of the Union address that there was evidence of an Iraqi deal to buy uranium from Africa. Now the
president is coming out and saying, “Well, we didn’t make a mistake. It wasn’t our fault.” What’s his point?
A: This is no longer just about the president or his popularity or his standing; this is about what is in the best interests of the nation that
he is leading. And I think what he’s really trying to say is, “Look, we’re all in this together. Those who supported us ought to remember that we’re all in the same boat and still stick with us.” And second, I think he’s issuing a message of
steadfastness. I think he’s trying to let the people of the world know that Americans stand by their principles and stand by their commitments. And I think he’s beginning to once again lead the nation at a time of crisis.
Source: Interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
Nov 11, 2005
UN supported US before war; let’s move beyond pre-war debate
Q: When Bush asked the Congress for [the Iraq War] authority, he said, “I will go to the UN and make a concerted effort.” The UN for him was window dressing. He said, “I will give the inspectors time.” He didn’t give the inspectors time.
A: That’s not
Q: It is absolutely true. It’s the reason that Mohamed ElBaradei has just been given the Nobel Peace Prize.
A: That’s false. The UN voted repeatedly to put pressure on Saddam Hussein in order to come forward and allow the inspectors to go
everywhere in order to clear up all those things and they repeatedly voted over and over again to support the US’ position in this. It’s a little slippery to say that, gee willikers, now that we know more after the fact, only one side is to blame here.
Besides, you’ve got to get beyond all this. This is about what’s in the best interest of not only our fighting soldiers and not even just the US, but the future of the world here.
Source: Interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
Nov 11, 2005
Iraq does not deplete localities of responders
Q: So many police and fire personnel are also military reservists, and many are being called to service in Iraq. How depleted are our resources on the state and local level as a result?
Some local law enforcement and fire personnel are being called up. It is still believed that our law enforcement organizations are capable. In any case there are agreements between localities to reinforce each other at the point of attack and response.
Source: Washington Post interview, “Confronting Iraq”
Mar 24, 2003
Deal with terrorism as a joint federal-state responsibility.
Gilmore adopted the National Governors Association policy:
Handling Information Needs. Many of the operational, programmatic, and funding activities associated with terrorism consequence management preparedness are classified because of national security. Thus, the sharing of critical information is hampered. State governments must be viewed as strong partners in the US’ national security efforts, particularly as related to terrorism.
Managing Consequences. Managing the short- and long-term consequences of terrorism is among the responsibilities of state and local government supplemented by the resources of the federal government, coordinated by FEMA.
Supporting Public-Private Cooperation. Terrorism preparedness efforts should be inclusive of key private sector entities such as defining the appropriate roles and responsibilities for public and private health and medical communities.
Clarifying the Role of the National Guard. The role of the National Guard in terrorism
response activities is to support federal, state, and local response agencies with equipment, facilities, and personnel. Any assignment of responsibility should enhance the nation’s terrorism consequence management capability and provide for the contingency of the National Guard being called to assist active and reserve components in dealing with a major military conflict.
Federal Responsibility Governors recognize the need to coordinate programs among federal agencies to address domestic terrorism and appreciate the efforts of the National Domestic Preparedness Office. However, they encourage greater clarification of the currently fragmented structure of federal responsibilities and support increased cooperation among federal agencies to better enable states to plan for domestic terrorism responses. Governors urge appropriate funding, maximum coordination of program components, and coordinated service delivery within states and localities.
Source: NGA policy HR-10: Domestic Terrorism 01-NGA5 on Feb 15, 2001
Include states in anti-terrorism planning.
Gilmore adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The issue of terrorism will be of major focus for the 107th Congress. Governors have a critical interest in controlling domestic terrorism because they are responsible for ensuring that state and local authorities have the ability to deal with natural disasters and other types of major emergencies, including terrorist incidents.
NGA believes that any national strategy for dealing with terrorist incidents should include planning and training by state and local forces. The unique nature of terrorism coupled with national security implications requires the support and expertise of the federal government in working with state and local government in developing capabilities. A clear national strategy developed through a partnership among federal agencies and key state, local, and private sector stakeholders is essential to drive operational and programmatic planning, training, and service delivery in combating terrorism.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA7 on Sep 14, 2001