Issue Position: National Defense/Military
There are many threats to America's security; most prevalent is the threat of radical Islam. As our country continues to face the growing threat of terrorism by Muslim extremists, the United States must proactively protect its citizens and their freedom at home and abroad. I firmly believe that a strong national defense is essential to securing our homeland. As a freedom loving country, that means the United States has a duty to spread democracy around the world and to remain engaged in the war on terrorism.
My assignment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee uniquely enables me to engage in dialogue with leaders from all over the world, including foreign Ambassadors, Secretaries of State, Heads of State, and counter-terrorism officials, on matters that relate to national security.
As a member of the subcommittees on Terrorism and Europe, I have had the opportunity to make several trips to Europe to learn more about counter-terrorism efforts abroad in countries that have been fighting terrorism longer than we have. Most recently I traveled to the United Kingdom and met with homeland security officials there to discuss the efforts and progress they are making to address the problem of homegrown terrorism. This issue is of great concern to me because as citizens of European nations, these individuals are free to travel to the United States without a visa, making it more difficult on our border agents to determine if they are coming to do us harm. The war on terror is a global war. If we are to win this war, democratic societies must work together to overcome Muslim extremism.
In addition to my work with the Foreign Affairs Committee, I was also recently appointed by the President to serve as one of two Congressional Delegates to the United Nations. As a delegate, my role is to represent the interests of the United States to foreign Ambassadors from all over the world on matters with global consequences including terrorism.
There is no doubt that significant progress has been made in Iraq since 2003. First and foremost, a tyrannical dictator has been successfully removed from power. With Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime toppled, the people of Iraq finally have power over their own destiny. Obviously, there is more progress to be made. As the Iraqi people continue to take steps in the right direction we must be patient to ensure that this reborn nation does not fall prey to terrorists and murderous insurgents. I firmly believe that it is in our national interest that we stay committed to victory in Iraq. American safety and the spread of liberty are at stake. Terrorists who wish to do our nation harm, coupled with the general instability of Iraq directly threaten our national security.
I had the opportunity to visit Iraq during the historic January 2005 election and to speak with many members of our Armed Forces, and they are proud of what has been accomplished in Iraq. These men and women have risked their lives to bring freedom to those that had none, and I applaud their efforts. While I join all Americans in anticipating the day that our troops are able to return to the United States, we must ensure that their efforts are not in vain by persevering in Iraq until these newly freed people can stand on their own. On November 18, 2007, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting against a bill that called for the immediate removal of our troops from Iraq.
Since 2003, twenty-four brave men and women from my district have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope you will take a moment to view my "In Memoriam" page where you will find a picture and the story of each hero who laid down their life in order to protect ours. I am very proud of the call to service shown by Texans in our armed forces. When our nation finds difficult times, brave Texans are always the first to volunteer. Just like during the battle for Texas independence, it is this fighting spirit and love of country that will enable us to prevail in this contest as well.