Tom Campbell, the front-running candidate for the GOP nomination to contest Barbara Boxer’s vulnerable Senate seat, has come under intense fire on national security issues.
Critics have seized upon stray remarks and acknowledged mistakes from an election cycle a decade ago to construct an image of Campbell entirely at variance with his own emphatically expressed views.
Campbell has responded to those criticisms directly, apologizing where warranted, correcting the record otherwise, at a press conference last week and on his website, here.
Now he’s taken another step: Today, Campbell will deliver a major address on national security issues to the World Affairs Council of San Francisco. FrumForum has obtained an advance copy of the speech. The speech endorses the war in Afghanistan, indefinite detention of illegal enemy combatants, support for Israel in the event Israel decides it must attack Iranian nuclear facilities, and an emphatic statement of commitment to Israel as a NATO-equivalent U.S. ally.
With the latest Field poll showing Barbara Boxer suddenly vulnerable, California Republicans would make a horrible mistake if they deprived themselves of their strongest candidate because of wild distortions of views that have now been restated clearly and emphatically.
CAMPBELL ON AFGHANISTAN WAR:
The President has approved his own “surge” in Afghanistan, and he is right to do it. As a member of the US Senate, I will vote to ensure that the President and our forces in Afghanistan have all the resources they require to accomplish their mission.
CAMPBELL ON TERROR DETAINEES:
We have a new category of individuals: enemy combatants. This category was not in our vocabulary when I was in Congress. Enemy combatants have allied themselves with Al Qaeda, or other similar groups who have made war on the United States. For them, the appropriate treatment is to be tried under military tribunals, with incarceration in Guantanamo, or, where appropriate, the death penalty carried out by military authority. The precedent for this comes from World War II, where we did not try Nazi saboteurs in civilian courts, nor hold them for deportation, but where we used military tribunals, culminating, in some cases, with the death penalty. For today’s enemy combatants, incarceration is entirely appropriate, pending the time when the organization with which they freely chose to affiliate themselves, no longer poses a threat to the United States. If that is a long time, so be it – that’s the course they chose. …The harm from applying civilian court principles to the enemy combatants in the war on terror has already been seen. Out of fear of violating Constitutional principles developed in the civilian context, our country has already released many from Guantanamo; two of whom are now battle commanders in Afghanistan again fighting our troops. It is almost absurd that we allowed that result to occur.
CAMPBELL ON ISRAEL:
The lasting elements of alliance are a common commitment to democratic principles and human rights. We have such shared commitments with the countries of NATO, with our Pacific Ocean allies like Australia and Japan, and with Israel. We are not free of faults, nor are they. Yet we recognize that Israel like these other allies is a functioning democracy that tolerates a wide breadth of opinion, not permitted in any of the nations arrayed against her. We call this out, we refuse to be intimidated into silence, or into compliance.If a country or group of countries requires that America boycott another country as a condition of normal relations with them, we will refuse. On that basis, America has passed and rightly enforces the anti-boycott legislation, making it unlawful for American companies to comply with the demand of certain Arab states that companies boycott Israel if they wished to do business with them. In a similar vein, the United States’ response to the sometimes on sometimes off insistence by China that Taiwan not be permitted to participate in international organizations should not be tolerated. We recognize that basic human rights flourish in Taiwan that are still not permitted in China.
CAMPBELL ON IRAN’S THREAT TO ISRAEL
What’s uncertain is not whether Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon. It’s all too certain that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon. No pragmatist can deny that.The uncertainty, rather, is whether the US will stand with Israel if Israel takes the step with regard to Iran that it took with Syria in September of 2008, and Iraq in 1981, and strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability before it becomes operational. The Administration’s message is that the US wishes to restrain Israel from taking this step. I believe that is exactly the wrong message to send. Iran’s rulers need to hear a very different message. Iran’s rulers need to hear that if they do not stop their nuclear program, they are inviting an Israeli attack. They need to hear that the US will not try to restrain Israel. If Iran wants to avoid attack, Iran must stop building its weapons of annihilation. Uncertainty about what America will do if Israel acts should be removed, and removed now.