Mike Huckabee on Homeland Security
Republican AR Governor
A: I think it is important to have very thorough surveillance capabilities, but they also need to be monitored by Congress. With technology being what it is today, we have new tools that have never been available before, things that our founding fathers never envisioned when the Bill of Rights was crafted. And so it is uncharted territory. Two things we need to remember--one, the first job of the president is to keep this country safe. He should use everything at his disposal to do so. But it is also the job of Congress to make sure that the executive branch does not overstep its boundaries in terms of power. That is why we have the balance of power. And I think there is a healthy tension that was designed into our system.
Although we cannot export democracy as if it were Coca-Cola or KFC, we can nurture moderate forces in places where al Qaeda is seeking to replace modern evil with medieval evil. Such moderation may not look or function like our system--it may be a benevolent oligarchy or more tribal than individualistic--but both for us and for the peoples of those countries, it will be better than the dictatorships they have now or the theocracy they would have under radical Islamists.
Right now, we spend about 3.9% of our GDP on defense, compared with about 6% in 1986, under President Ronald Reagan. We need to return to that 6% level. And we must stop using active-duty forces for nation building and return to our policy of using other government agencies to build schools, hospitals, roads, sewage treatment plants, water filtration systems, electrical facilities, and legal and banking systems.
A: When we start destroying documents, what are we destroying them for? Are we doing it for security purposes or to cover somebodyís rear end? If weíre covering somebodyís rear end, we need to expose their rear end and kick their rear end for doing something thatís against the best interest of the US and the responsibility and the respectability of this country.
A: Well, I wouldnít let foreign opinion determine our policies, wouldnít let it dictate it. But we do have to make sure that we live in such a way as Americans that we have friends, not enemies, across the world. And over the past several years, it seems as weíve made even our friends our enemies. Weíve got to change that. There is an important role that the United States has as the most powerful nation on earth militarily and economically, to act in such a way that people respect us and that people also realize that we are a great nation, not one that wants to push ourselves on others.
A: One of the tragedies is that our military veterans have kept their promises to us; we have not kept all of our promises to them. Many of them have come back to be told to wait in line for their health care, to be told that mental health would be something that might be rationed out. Thatís not acceptable. And, if I were president, Iíd like to see us have a very plainly written, simple-to-understand veteransí bill of rights that would make sure that every single thing that these veterans have been promised is delivered. And itís delivered as the first fruits of the federal Treasury before anyone else gets their nose in the trough, the veterans get their benefits paid--not on the basis of a limited budget, but on the basis of making sure that we keep promises to the people who have kept us free. That, I believe, will help people want to be a part of the military
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL: If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. Every morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds. And so essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in Americaís justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open.Q: Do you agree with Secretary Powell?
A: I know itís become a symbol of whatís wrong. Itís more symbolic than it is a substantive issue, because people perceive of mistreatment when, in fact, there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given, really, every consideration.
A: I know itís become a symbol of whatís wrong. Itís more symbolic than it is a substantive issue, because people perceive of mistreatment when, in fact, there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given, really, every consideration. Most of our [Arkansas] prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo and less like the state prisons that people are in.
Q: But the argument isnít so much the physical condition as to the legal system that they face. These suspected terrorists, these detainees are being held, by and large, without charges, without any evidence. Theyíre just being kept there indefinitely.
A: I understand that. Thereís not a perfect solution. The perfect solution is to get people to quit being terrorists. If weíre going to make a mistake right now, letís make it on the side of protecting the American people
I would never want to sacrifice one particle of Americaís power. Ronald Reagan had it right when he led this country to unprecedented military strength. Our best defense is a military so well equipped and so well trained that no one wants to challenge it. Strength is a far more effective deterrent to war than is weakness, and the US should never be apologetic for the development of the strongest military forces on the face of the earth. But with the development of strength and unprecedented power there must also be unprecedented restraint.
HUCKABEE: I felt we should keep Guantanamo open until the court case had come down indicating that there was no real substantive difference in whether they were in Guantanamo or Leavenworth. The fact is, I donít care what the rest of the world thinks. I care what America thinks. And itís become a divisive issue. I visited Guantanamo, & I visited every prison in my state. The truth is, Guantanamo was too darn good. The conditions down there were amazingly hospitable. I thought a little bit too much for my taste, considering what these people had done. So itís a matter of a policy that brings this country together and not tears it apart. I donít think where we keep these people is as important as it is that we keep them and we donít let them go.
THOMPSON: Who have we invaded before 9/11?
PAUL: We had an air base in Saudi Arabia. And how many governments have we propped up?
HUCKABEE: The fact is when there is a serious threa to this country, it is not a threat because we happen to be peace-loving people. Itís a threat because in the heart of the radical Islamic faith--not all Islam. This isnít an Islamic problem. This is a jihadist problem. This is an Islamo-fascism problem. There is nothing about our attacking them that prompts this. They are prompted by the fact they believe that they must establish a worldwide caliphate that has nothing to do with us other than we live and breathe and their intention is to destroy us.
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