The Right Priorities to Protect America

Last weekend, the Senate completed its work before the election recess after focusing for a month on national security legislation. I was pleased by what we accomplished, but there is still more we must do to keep America safe.

Passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 represents a victory for America and a failure for al-Qa'ida, allowing us to interrogate and prosecute enemy captives like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. These individuals possess vital information about the inner workings of terrorist networks, and our ability to extract that knowledge without exposing our intelligence capabilities has already prevented numerous attacks in the U.S. and abroad. Now that we've established appropriate legal proceedings with the force of law, we will be able to bringing terrorist detainees to justice.

We also approved legislation last week funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, strengthening our border defenses, enhancing security at our nation's ports and chemical plants, and revamping our nation's disaster response. In the face of a determined enemy, we must have the right priorities to keep Americans safe from attack, and the Republican Congress is meeting that challenge.

During this Congress, Democrats touted a security message of "tough and smart" polices for fighting terrorism, but their contradictory strategies for the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq are weak and wrong. Democrats fought to kill the Patriot Act, supported revealing vital national intelligence to terrorists, delayed the appointment of key officials to prosecute the war on terror, and advocated shutting down both the terrorism surveillance and terrorism financial tracking programs keeping America safe.  While I do not question anyone's patriotism, I question the judgment of those who would tie our hands in the face of an enemy bent on our destruction.

The American people will have a choice to make about whether we should give the President the tools necessary to fight and win the war on terror or abandon the mission and tie our hands - leaving behind a terror haven in Iraq and conceding victory to al-Qa'ida. I look forward to that debate.

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