Washington, DC – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following speech on the Democratic plan to protect America: Real Security.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Today is an important moment for this country. America faces the greatest national security challenges of our generation. Great challenges call for real leadership, and that is why we are here today.
Before we begin, I understand President Bush is giving an Iraq speech right now. The president can give all the speeches he wants, but nothing will change the fact that his Iraq policy is wrong.
Two weeks ago, he told Americans that Iraqis would control their country by the end of the year. Last week, he told us our troops would be there until at least 2009. These mixed messages from President Bush are taking America in the wrong direction and jeopardizing Iraq’s chances for success.
Democrats believe America must never waver in our message to the Iraqi people. The President must make it clear to the Iraqis that we will not be there indefinitely. Last year, united Democrats led a bipartisan majority in Congress that directed President Bush to make 2006 a year of significant transition in Iraq.
That is what the American people expect…
That is what we owe our troops…
That is what our national security demands…
That is what our generals tell us…
That is what the Iraqis need to hear if they are going to get their political house in order and have a real chance of securing their country…
And that is what all Democrats believe.
As Senate Democratic leader, I’m proud to stand here today with a team of men and women who understand what it takes to keep America safe.
There’s four-star General Wesley Clark, who has successfully led our troops into battle. And former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who understands that America needs friends and allies to keep our people safe.
There’s Harold Schaitberger, from the International Firefighters, who represents thousands of men and women on the front lines of the War on Terror. And Joe Wynn, from the National Association for Black Veterans, who knows how important it is that America keeps its promises to those who serve.
And finally, there are my Congressional colleagues.
All of us understand that nothing we do is more important than protecting this country. That is why we are uniting behind a national security agenda that is tough and smart, an agenda that will provide the real security President Bush has promised, but failed to deliver.
Over the last five years, Democrats have watched with the American people as President Bush and Republicans have moved America in the wrong direction. We’ve seen their dangerous incompetence. It’s on display everywhere you look.
It’s on our Gulf Coast, where four years after 9/11, our homeland was dangerously unprepared for disaster. It’s at our Borders, where this week we were all shocked to learn how easy it is to smuggle nuclear material into our country. It’s in Congress, where Bush Republicans have rubberstamped this White House’s failures.
And it’s in Iraq, where our troops are bravely doing their job, but President Bush and his administration are not doing theirs.
The Bush Republicans’ dangerous incompetence has made America less safe. It has taken a great toll on our military – active and retired, and it must come to an end.
The Democratic real security agenda will take America in a new direction, one that is tough and smart. We are offering this agenda on behalf of all Americans. Republicans don’t own this issue, nor do Democrats. The American people do – because there is nothing more important than protecting the safety of our families. We must get it right.
It’s now my privilege to introduce a man who knows how to protect this country, General Wesley Clark.