MANCHESTER, N.H.---Safe? Safer? Or not safe in this 9-11 world. A sharp disagreement among the presidential front-runners emerged the day after the second Democratic debate.
Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama’s team e-mailed around a memo on Tuesday taking issue with a startling remark chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) made in Monday’s debate about safety in this era of international terrorism. At the debate, Obama took on former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) over waiting plus four years to renounce his Iraq war vote.
Obama did not engage Clinton directly. That changed on Tuesday, when the Obama campaign issued the rebuttal Obama failed to give himself when he had the opportunity.
Clinton said in Monday’s debate she knows the horrors of 9-11 "and I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.”
The unsigned memo from the Obama communications team—not mentioning Clinton by name—said "Senator Obama believes and asserted in the debate that America is less safe since 9/11 largely because the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism around the world.”
The memo cited studies by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Global Terrorism that “confirm that the war in Iraq has accelerated the spread of terrorism and increased the threat of attacks.
The Clinton campaign, asked to react to the Obama memo sent a statement from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Schumer said, “America is looking for a president who understands the threats the country faces and has the experience and strength to deal with them effectively. Despite the Bush administration's failures, America's first responders have worked tirelessly over the last six years to make the nation's cities and towns safer. As a Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton is grateful every day for their efforts. She has fought to build on the progress we've made in crucial areas like air safety and disrupting the terrorists' financial networks.
“Senator Clinton has said many times that the Iraq war has been a distraction from fighting terrorism, and if George Bush doesn't end the war, when she is President, she will.”
THIS IS WHAT CLINTON SAID
CLINTON: No, I do not. I am a senator from New York. I have
lived with the aftermath of 9/11, and I have seen firsthand the
terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band
of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using
suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda.
And I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe
enough. And I have proposed over the last year a number of policies
that I think we should following.
THIS IS THE OBAMA MEMO
To: Interested Parties
Fr: Obama Communications
Re: America is not safer since 9/11
Da: June 4, 2007
During the Democratic debate in New Hampshire last night, there was disagreement over whether or not America is safer since the 9/11 attacks on our nation. Senator Obama believes and asserted in the debate that America is less safe since 9/11 largely because the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism around the world. He opposed the war from the beginning and has a plan to end it, bringing all combat troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.
Recent studies by the U.S. State Department and the Council on Global Terrorism confirm that the war in Iraq has accelerated the spread of terrorism and increased the threat of attacks.
In a September 2006 report State of the Struggle: Report on the Battle Against Global Terrorism, the Council on Global Terrorism issued a report with the number 1 finding – “Five Year Assessment: As of Now, West is in a Worsening Position in Struggle Against Radical Islam.” The report issued a D+ for “Combating Islamic Extremist Terrorism,” saying, “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking." http://www.councilonglobalterrorism.org/research.shtml
In a speech in San Antonio in April 2006, Gen. Michael Hayden (currently the CIA director) said: "New jihadist networks and cells, sometimes united by little more than their anti-Western agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge… If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/world/middleeast/24terror.html?ei=5088&en=da252be85d1b39fa&ex=1316750400&pagewanted=print
According to the State Department's "Country Reports on Terrorism" released on April 30, 2007 - there was a 29% increase in terrorism worldwide from 2005 to 2006 (much of that gain took place in Iraq and Afghanistan). The new statistics record a rise in terrorist attacks on nonmilitary targets globally to 14,338 in 2006 from 11,153 in 2005, with an increase in deaths to 20,498 from 14,618. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/83383.pdf
According to a January 2007 CSIS report (cited in May/June Foreign Affairs), al Qaeda has trained up to 60,000 jihadists in Iraq. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070501faessay86304/bruce-riedel/al-qaeda-strikes-back.html