are seeing how, in so many ways, Washington is on the wrong track. We need
change and I know how to deliver it. The status quo is not on the ballot.
Change is coming. The question is: in what direction will we go?
president, I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a
president can: cutting taxes, giving small business owners the tools to create
new jobs and protecting your life savings. I will lead reforms to help families
keep their homes, help every citizen afford health care and lead America to reclaim its energy independence.
My plan to
cut capital gains taxes on investments will make sure that those families
forced to sell assets during this downturn aren't penalized. We will also
suspend the rules to prevent our seniors from being forced to sell off their
IRAs during a weak market. These initiatives will have a real effect on working
men and women of Missouri who look to pension and retirement
plans in the future.
economic times, higher taxes are the last thing we need as a nation. Sen.
Obama's plan will raise taxes on business that generate more than half of the
income of all small businesses in America . They are the backbone of our
economy, and will lead us to recovery. While Sen. Obama wants to control wealth
and spread it around, I want to create wealth and spread opportunity.
visited Missouri often, both Gov. Sarah Palin and I know how important
mainstream values and enjoyment of the outdoors are to you. When she visited Springfield and saw the Ozarks, Gov. Palin felt
at home with the area and the people who share our values.
and I know that there is no greater nobility than to sacrifice for a great
cause and no cause greater than protection of human dignity.
human compassion, self-sacrifice and the defense of innocent life will be the
guiding principles of a McCain-Palin administration. It's about changing the
culture of America . I am pro-life. We need to tell
young American women who are faced with this terrible decision that we will
help them have the courage to bring a baby into this world and we'll have the
compassion and help them in every way that they can address it.
and I both know what sportsmen mean to conservation efforts. Everyone who
spends time in a stand or a blind or in waders knows how much the environment
means to us. We enjoy the natural blessings God has given our country, and we
know how important it is to share it with our children.
tells us that the "tradition" of gun ownership is one which must "be
respected." It is obvious to Gov. Palin and I that he just doesn't get it. A
tradition is one thing; a constitutional right is another. Sen. Obama has a
record of not supporting the Second Amendment, including support of the D.C.
gun ban, which was ruled unconstitutional.
doesn't get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution he gets to
enforce, and I view the right to own a gun as sacred as our right to free
I have been
upholding my oath to support and defend the Constitution, putting my country
first, since I was 17 years old about to enter the United StatesNavalAcademy . I have had the great fortune of
defending her liberty in uniform and defending the rights of her citizens in
my experience will inspire a generation of Americans to serve a cause greater
than their own self-interests.
afford to spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight:
waiting for our luck to change. We have to act immediately. We have to stand
together and fight. I ask that you stand together with me on Nov. 4, so that we
can truly change to a new direction - one that puts our country first.
for Victory in Iraq
Importance of Succeeding
believes it is strategically and morally essential for the United States to support the Government of Iraq
to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people. He strongly
disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops before that has
It would be
a grave mistake to leave before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent,
trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating
effectively. We must help the Government of Iraq battle those who provoke
sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East . Iraq must not become a failed state, a
haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran . These likely consequences of America 's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either
require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war.
way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous,
and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its
neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can
safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.
Successful Counterinsurgency Strategy
has been a leading advocate of the "surge" and the counterinsurgency strategy
carried out by General David Petraeus. At the end of 2006, four years of a
badly conceived military strategy that concentrated American troops on large
bases brought us near to the point of no return. Sectarian violence in Iraq was spiraling out of control. Al
Qaeda in Iraq was on the offensive. Entire
provinces were under extremists' control and were deemed all but lost. At that
critical moment, John McCain supported sending reinforcements to Iraq to implement a classic
counterinsurgency strategy of securing the population.
strategy has paid off. From June 2007 through March 2008, sectarian and ethnic
violence in Iraq was reduced by 90 percent. Civilian
deaths and deaths of coalition forces fell by 70 percent. This has opened the
way for a return to something that approaches normal political and economic
life for the average Iraqi. Political reconciliation is occurring across Iraq at the local and provincial grassroots
level. Sunni and Shi'a chased from their homes by terrorist and sectarian
violence are returning. The "Sons of Iraq" and Awakening movements, where
former Sunni insurgents have now joined in the fight against Al Qaeda, continue
would be lost if we were to follow the policy advocated by Senator Barack Obama
to withdraw most of our troops and leave behind only a small "strike force" to
battle terrorists. That is, in essence, the same strategy of withdrawing from Iraq 's streets that failed in 2006.
John McCain advocates continuing the successful counterinsurgency strategy that
began in 2007.
Political Reconciliation and Good Government
the success of the surge, Iraq 's political order is evolving in
positive and hopeful ways. Four out of the six laws cited as benchmarks by the U.S. have been passed by the Iraqi
legislature. A law on amnesty and a law rolling back some of the harsher
restrictions against former employees of the Iraqi government have made it
possible for Iraqis to move toward genuine reconciliation. The legislature has
devolved greater power to local and provincial authorities, where much of the
real work of rebuilding Iraq is taking place.
progress is necessary. The government must improve its ability to serve all
Iraqis. A key test for the Iraqi government will be finding jobs in the
security services and the civilian sector for the "Sons of Iraq" who have
risked so much to battle terrorists.
Iraq will conduct two landmark elections
in the near future - one for provincial governments in late 2008 and the other
for the national government in 2009. John McCain believes we should welcome a
larger United Nations role in supporting the elections. The key condition for
successful elections is for American troops to continue to work with brave
Iraqis to allow the voting to take place in relative freedom and security.
Iraqis need to know that the U.S. will not abandon them, but will
continue to press their politicians to show the necessary leadership to help
develop their country.
Get Iraq 's Economy Back on its Feet
believes that economic progress is essential to sustaining security gains in Iraq . Markets that were once silent and
deserted have come back to life in many areas, but high unemployment rates
continue to fuel criminal and insurgent violence. To move young men away from
the attractions of well-funded extremists, we need a vibrant, growing Iraqi
economy. The Iraqi government can jump-start this process by using a portion of
its budget surplus to employ Iraqis in infrastructure projects and in restoring
international community should bolster proven microfinance programs to spur
local-level entrepreneurship throughout the country. Iraq 's Arab neighbors, in particular,
should promote regional stability by directly investing the fruits of their oil
exports in Iraq . As these efforts begin to take
hold in Iraq , the private sector, as always,
will create the jobs and propel the growth that will end reliance on outside
aid. Iraq 's government needs support to
better deliver basic services-clean water, garbage collection, abundant
electricity, and, above all, a basic level of security-that create a climate
where the Iraqi economy creation can flourish.
International Pressure on Syria and Iran
Syria and Iran have aided and abetted the violence
in Iraq for too long. Syria has refused to crack down on Iraqi
insurgents and foreign terrorists operating within its territory. Iran has been providing the most extreme
and violent Shia militias with training, weapons, and technology that kill
American and Iraqi troops. American military spokesmen have also said there is
evidence that Iran has provided aid to Sunni
is not unconditional dialogues with these two dictatorships from a position of
weakness. The answer is for the international community to apply real pressure
to Syria and Iran to change their behavior. The United States must also bolster its regional
military posture to make clear to Iran our determination to protect our
forces and deter Iranian intervention.
the American People
believes it is essential to be honest with the American people about the
opportunities and risks that lie ahead. The American people deserve the truth
from their leaders. They deserve a candid assessment of the progress made in
the last year, of the serious difficulties that remain, and of the grave
consequences of a reckless and irresponsible withdrawal.
Americans have given their lives so that America does not suffer the worst
consequences of failure in Iraq . Doing the right thing in the heat
of a political campaign is not always easy. But it is necessary.
on the Road Ahead
"I do not
want to keep our troops in Iraq a minute longer than necessary to
secure our interests there. Our goal is an Iraq that can stand on its own as a
democratic ally and a responsible force for peace in its neighborhood. Our goal
is an Iraq that no longer needs American
troops. And I believe we can achieve that goal, perhaps sooner than many
imagine. But I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate
for President that they cannot keep if elected. To promise a withdrawal of our
forces from Iraq , regardless of the calamitous
consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of
East , is
the height of irresponsibility. It is a failure of leadership. "
"I know the
pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this
war. And I regret sincerely the additional sacrifices imposed on the brave
Americans who defend us. But I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army
and on our country's security. By giving General Petraeus and the men and women
he has the honor to command the time and support necessary to succeed in Iraq we have before us a hard road. But
it is the right road. It is necessary and just. Those who disregard the
unmistakable progress we have made in the last year and the terrible
consequences that would ensue were we to abandon our responsibilities in Iraq have chosen another road. It may
appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one,
and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next
election." -John McCain
A Strong Military in a
In a dangerous world,
protecting America's national security requires a
strong military. Today, America has the most capable, best-trained
and best-led military force in the world. But much needs to be done to maintain
our military leadership, retain our technological advantage, and ensure that America has a modern, agile military force
able to meet the diverse security challenges of the 21st century.
John McCain is committed to
ensuring that the men and women of our military remain the best, most capable
fighting force on Earth - and that our nation honors its promises to them for
The global war on terrorism, wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and the rise of potential
strategic competitors like China and Russia mean that America requires a larger and more capable
military to protect our country's vital interests and deter challenges to our
security. America confronts a range of serious security challenges: Protecting
our homeland in an age of global terrorism and Islamist extremism; working with
friends and partners overseas, from Africa to Southeast Asia, to help them
combat terrorism and violent insurgencies in their own countries; defending
against missile and nuclear attack; maintaining the credibility of our defense
commitments to our allies; and waging difficult counterinsurgency campaigns in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
John McCain understands
national security and the threats facing our nation. He recognizes the dangers
posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, violent Islamist
extremists and their terrorist tactics, and the ever present threat of regional
conflict that can spill into broader wars that endanger allies and destabilize
areas of the world vital to American security. He knows that to protect our
homeland, our interests, and our values - and to keep the peace - America must have the best-manned,
best-equipped, and best-supported military in the world.
has been a tireless advocate of our military and ensuring that our forces are
properly postured, funded, and ready to meet the nation's obligations both at
home and abroad. He has fought to modernize our forces, to ensure that America maintains and expands its
technological edge against any potential adversary, and to see that our forces
are capable and ready to undertake the variety of missions necessary to meet
national security objectives.
As President, John McCain will
strengthen the military, shore up our alliances, and ensure that the nation is
capable of protecting the homeland, deterring potential military challenges,
responding to any crisis that endangers American security, and prevailing in
any conflict we are forced to fight.
Fighting Against Violent Islamic
Extremists and Terrorist Tactics
The attacks on September 11th
represented more than a failure of intelligence. The tragedy highlighted a
failure of national policy to respond to the development of a global terror
network hostile to the American people and our values. The 1993 WorldTradeCenter bombing, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 bombing of the USS
COLE indicated a growing global terrorist threat before the attacks on New York and Washington. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against the United States hit home with unmistakable clarity.
America faces a dedicated, focused, and
intelligent foe in the war on terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America's weaknesses and strike against
them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent
about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their
capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities.
In the aftermath of 9/11 John
McCain fought for the creation of an independent 9/11 Commission to identify
how to best address the terrorist threat and decrease our domestic
vulnerability. He fought for the establishment of the Department of Homeland
Security and the creation of the U.S. Northern Command with the specific
responsibility of protecting the U.S. homeland.
President, John McCain will ensure that America has the quality intelligence necessary
to uncover plots before they take root, the resources to protect critical
infrastructure and our borders against attack, and the capability to respond
and recover from a terrorist incident swiftly.
He will ensure that the war
against terrorists is fought intelligently, with patience and resolve, using
all instruments of national power. Moreover, he will lead this fight with the
understanding that to impinge on the rights of our own citizens or restrict the
freedoms for which our nation stands would be to give terrorists the victory
John McCain believes that just
as America must be prepared to meet and
prevail against any adversary on the field of battle, we must engage and
prevail against them on the battleground of ideas. In so doing, we can and must
deprive terrorists of the converts they seek and counter their teaching of the
doctrine of hatred and despair.
As President, John McCain will
take it as his most sacred responsibility to keep America free, safe, and strong - an abiding
beacon of freedom and hope to the world.
John McCain strongly supports
the development and deployment of theater and national missile defenses.
Effective missile defenses are critical to protect America from rogue regimes
like North Korea that possess the capability to target America with
intercontinental ballistic missiles, from outlaw states like Iran that threaten
American forces and American allies with ballistic missiles, and to hedge
against potential threats from possible strategic competitors like Russia and
China. Effective missile defenses are also necessary to allow American military
forces to operate overseas without being deterred by the threat of missile
attack from a regional adversary.
John McCain is committed to
deploying effective missile defenses to reduce the possibility of strategic
blackmail by rogue regimes and to secure our homeland from the very real
prospect of missile attack by present or future adversaries. America should never again have to live in
the shadow of missile and nuclear attack. As President, John McCain will not
trust in the "balance of terror" to protect America, but will work to deploy effective
missile defenses to safeguard our people and our homeland.
Increasing the Size of the
The most important weapons in
the U.S. arsenal are the men and women of
American armed forces. John McCain believes we must enlarge the size of our
armed forces to meet new challenges to our security. For too long, we have
asked too much of too few - with the result that many service personnel are on
their second, third and even fourth tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There can be no higher defense priority than the proper compensation, training,
and equipping of our troops.
Our existing force is
overstretched by the combination of military operations in the broader Middle East and the need to maintain our
security commitments in Europe and Asia. Recruitment and retention suffer from extended overseas
deployments that keep service personnel away from their homes and families for
long periods of time.
John McCain believes that the
answer to these challenges is not to roll back our overseas commitments. The
size and composition of our armed forces must be matched to our nation's
defense requirements. As requirements expand in the global war on terrorism so
must our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard be reconfigured to
meet these new challenges. John McCain thinks it is especially important to
increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps to defend against the threats we
knows that the most difficult and solemn decision a president must make is
sending young Americans into harm's way. Having experienced firsthand the
brutality of war, as president, John McCain would never make the decision to
use force lightly, only when the cause is just, and our nation's values and
interests absolutely demand it.
Modernizing the Armed Services
Modernizing American armed
forces involves procuring advanced weapons systems that will help rapidly and
decisively defeat any adversary and protect American lives. It also requires
addressing force protection needs to make sure that America's combat personnel have the best
safety and survivability equipment available.
Modernizing the armed forces also
means adapting our doctrine, training, and tactics for the kind of conflicts we
are most likely to face. Today, American forces are engaged in dangerous
operations throughout the world. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia and the Philippines, American forces are fighting the
battles of the 21st century against terrorists and insurgents. These asymmetric
conflicts require a very different force structure than the one we used to
fight and win the Cold War.
The missions of the 21st
century will not center on traditional territorial defense or mass armor
engagements. Instead, the men and women of the U.S. armed forces will be engaged in,
among other things, counter insurgency, counter terrorism, missile defense,
counter proliferation and information warfare. This calls not just for a larger
and more capable military, but for a new mix of military forces, including
civil affairs, special operations, and highly mobile forces capable of fighting
and prevailing in the conflicts America faces.
Smarter Defense Spending
John McCain has worked
aggressively to reform the defense budgeting process to ensure that America enjoys the best military at the
best cost. This includes reforming defense procurement to ensure the faithful
and efficient expenditure of taxpayer dollars that are made available for
defense acquisition. Too often, parochial interests - rather than the national
interest - have guided our spending decisions. John McCain supports significant
reform in our defense acquisition process to ensure that dollars spent actually
contribute to U.S. security.
John McCain also feels
strongly that our nation's military spending, except in time of genuine
emergency, must be funded by the regular appropriations process, not by "emergency"
supplementals that allow defense to be funded outside the normal budget cycle.
This process gives Congressional committees less ability to closely scrutinize
defense budget requests to ensure military funding is being budgeted wisely. It
makes possible Congressional pork-barrel spending that diverts scarce defense
resources to parochial home-state interests. And it allows the administration
to add spending above that set by budget caps, bloating the federal deficit.
Budgeting annually through emergency supplemental appropriation bills
encourages pork barrel spending. The American taxpayer has a right to expect us
to get the most out of each and every defense dollar, especially at a time when
those dollars are so critical. Throughout his career, John McCain has fought
pork-barrel defense spending that diverts scarce defense resources to
parochial, home-state projects rather than addressing the needs of service
personnel. He believes that unauthorized earmarks drain our precious defense
resources and adversely affect our national security. John McCain will continue
to fight pork-barrel spending to ensure that military funds are spent where
they are needed most - in support of our military personnel and our national
of Our Military Personnel and their Families
Our military personnel and
their families deserve the nation's unfailing gratitude, respect, and support.
As a former naval officer with a distinguished record of military service, John
McCain understands the profound sacrifices made by our men and women who serve
in the uniform of our country and their families.
He believes one of America's most solemn obligations is to
treat our military personnel with the same sense of devotion and duty as they
demonstrate in rendering their service to the nation. John McCain has fought
for improved military pay and benefits, and an improved quality of life for
America's deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan rely heavily on Reserve and
National Guard forces. John McCain has worked hard to ensure that benefits for
deployed Reservists and National Guardsmen are brought in line with our
active-duty military forces.
As president, he will make
sure that just as we are always proud of our military personnel for what they
do for the country, the country can be proud of what we do for them.
Honoring our Nation's
Commitments to Veterans and Military Retirees
John McCain has worked
tirelessly to protect increased benefits for America's veterans. He understands that our
country has a duty to care for veterans who have honorably served. John McCain
will continue to look out for the men and women who have answered our nation's
America must never leave its military
retirees in any doubt that it will keep its commitments to them for their many
years of faithful service. John McCain has been a champion of military retirees
in the Senate and believes that it is especially important to ensure retired
service personnel enjoy full health care and benefits comparable to that received
by retired federal employees. John McCain understands that a key to recruiting
and retaining a new generation of American military personnel is demonstrating
that our government keeps its promises to retired service members. He will
remain an unwavering champion for the rights of military retirees and their