A Secure America
By State Rep. Angie Paccione
As I travel the Fourth Congressional District and listen to the concerns of the citizens, one concern that continually comes up is security—and rightfully so.
The government of Pakistan has just signed a peace agreement with northern tribes allied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, creating a new sanctuary near the Afghan border for Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. As Colorado families sit down to dinner tonight, Pakistan is returning weapons to terrorists and releasing prisoners, while at the same time promising not to dismantle the terrorist training camps in Al Qaeda’s new safe haven.
This agreement is a huge setback to the global fight against terrorism, and it shows us that there is a massive failure of leadership. It clearly highlights the total failure of the Bush administration’s terrorism policy. For five years, U.S. citizens have been listening to tough talk from this administration about how bin Laden is “on the run” and is wanted “dead or alive.”
The reality is that he remains free today and is still the acknowledged leader of terrorists worldwide. At the same time, America is less secure than it was before September 11, 2001.
Osama bin Laden has found a growing audience for his hate-filled rants, but the Bush administration has no strategy to bring him to justice or to defeat his global network. There are more terrorists now than ever before. Our fighting men and women are daily battling the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but it has become America’s forgotten war.
By any measure, it is clear that America is now weaker abroad and more exposed at home. Our airports remain vulnerable, our ports and borders are exposed, and our country is dotted with unguarded nuclear and chemical plants that put millions of Americans at risk by attack. This is the post-9/11 reality.
Here’s what it should be: getting results, rejecting excuses, safeguarding our homeland and making families secure.
Getting results requires setting sensible priorities. Like many Coloradans, I am frustrated when the President tells me that “people don’t need to worry about security.” That is simply untrue and unacceptable. I am even more frustrated when a congresswoman like Marilyn Musgrave votes against screening containers coming into our ports, against grants that would help state and local governments improve chemical plant security, and against funding document security. She has voted against allowing states to prepare for a bioterrorism attack, and she has voted three times against more funding to keep nuclear materials away from terrorists and out of our ports. Musgrave votes against commonsense security solutions, and these special-interest votes leave our nation vulnerable.
America does not doubt the necessity of fighting Al Qaeda and Islamist extremism, but there are grave doubts in an incompetent leadership that cannot finish what it starts, that defends failure, and attacks any patriotic American who demands accountability. Every citizen has a vested interest in our nation’s security, yet our grossly incompetent leadership works to divide us. Americans want to come together to change things. It will take principled leadership to do so.
Colorado families should expect certain things from their government. Our leaders should protect us from terrorism, and simultaneously they must protect the precious freedoms set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Generations past and present have fought to protect and expand both our liberty and our security. As your next congresswoman, I promise that I will continue to do so.
State Rep. Angie Paccione represents House District 53. She is a candidate for Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District. Her website is www.angie2006.com.