Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Echoing Kerry: Democratic Leaders to Unveil National Security Plan

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate will be unveiling a new plan on National Security today. Their goal with the new plan, is to rebut the Republican meme, that has been echoed in some editorial columns, that Democratic party leaders and candidates have not laid out a coherent set of alternatives from the Republican plan on National Security.

"Most of the proposals are not new," the NY Times reports. Much of the plan echoes positions put forward previously by the Democrats and by their 2004 presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry. The plan will include key points from Kerry's campaign, including "a demand for more military equipment and body armor for troops and improved veterans' benefits."

In a set of policy papers titled "Real Security: Protecting America and Restoring Our Leadership in the World," Democratic leaders in the House and Senate plan to join with leading figures in the party, including former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Wesley K. Clark, the retired general and former presidential contender, in presenting the plan on Wednesday.

The policy paper's title is reminiscent of John Kerry's December 8, 2005 "Real Security in the Post 9/11 World" speech. The NT Times reports that the Democrats' policy papers assert that in "combating terrorism, party leaders want to increase financing for Special Operations forces and interdicting terrorist financing and to spend more on economic development in troubled areas like the Middle East and South Asia."

Democrats also want to give greater powers to the office of the national intelligence director and to investigate accusations of abuse and torture of detainees. They say they want increased financing for screening containers at ports and securing nuclear and chemical plants and training emergency health workers.

The Democratic leaders acknowledge that their policies lack detail in some areas, it's a start however, and they have put together a package of proposals which all members of the party can support, including "calling for more money to be spent on a broad array of items, including port security and foreign aid."

Also noted by the NY Times is that the Democratic manifesto "skirted divisive issues like whether the United States should set a timetable on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, as advocated by Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, but opposed or not endorsed by other members of his party."

The plan also echoes Kerry's Iraq plan, in calling for 2006 to be "a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces." They also call for the United States to achieve "energy independence" by 2020 by increasing production of alternative fuels, obviously derived from John Kerry's 2020 Energy Plan.


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