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September 6, 2008


As we approach the seventh anniversary of the attacks of September 11, we must ask ourselves:

Which presidential candidate will keep us safe – Barack Obama or John McCain - and at what price? Which candidate is better poised to focus on al-Qaeda and to forge alliances that will strengthen America's standing abroad?

McCain’s team claims that the absence of a second major attack on our shores, since 9/11, is somehow proof that the Bush administration and the Republican party have done their job in providing for our security. Perhaps. But at what price? What else have we lost in the bargain? And does it really make sense to throw our full support (militarily, geopolitically, psychologically, and financially – to the tune of $3 trillion) to the second front, as McCain has so forcefully advocated, when for seven years we have needed to take the fight directly to al-Qaeda - in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

I agree with Barack Obama’s stance, instead, which he offered in his historic speech at the Democratic convention:

"[J]ust as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

"For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just ‘muddle through’ in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives. 

"And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

"That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

"You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

"We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe."

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