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Giffords Calls For Strategy to Win War on Terror

Date: Sept. 26, 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ

Giffords Calls For Strategy to Win War on Terror

In response to recent revelations that the National Intelligence Estimate concludes that the U.S. presence in Iraq has increased the overall threat from terrorism, Congressional Candidate Gabrielle Giffords has called for a new direction in our national security policy.

"By our government's own assessment, our policy in Iraq is making it harder for us to win the war on terrorism," said Giffords. "The terrorist threat is real, and the violence terrorists wish to do us cannot be ignored. Our government's first responsibility is to prevent another attack on our country. Unfortunately, what we are doing now is not working. We must not stubbornly cling to a policy that we know has failed. If our current strategy in Iraq is making us less safe, then clearly we need a new direction.

"We must pursue a responsible exit strategy from Iraq, but only after Iraq is secure. This means speaking very clearly to the Iraqi people about their responsibility to settle the political struggle taking place in their country among the various factions. We must be there to help settle it, but it is the Iraqis' responsibility to govern their country."

Two months before the war in Iraq began, the federal government completed a National Intelligence Estimate that said that a war in Iraq would increase support for terrorists. Three and half years into the war, U.S. spy agencies have completed a new report that finds that our presence in Iraq is being used as a recruiting tool by terrorists, and has made the overall terrorism threat worse. The N.I.E. is approved by John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence.

"When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging," said Giffords. "Getting bogged down in a religious war in Iraq does not make us safer. One group of independent experts wrote that ‘radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.' We need to focus our efforts on defeating Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and eliminating Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri."

"This is not a partisan issue — this is an American issue," she added.

Giffords referred to a recent report by the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of terrorism experts.

"We need to get serious about homeland security, by implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission," said Giffords. "Nothing is more important than keeping Americans safe."