July 2007

Top Stories
• GOP Slams Study
• Jewish Ed. Econ. 101
• Fighting Words
• Letters to the Editor

In Their Own Words
• Sen. Chris Dodd
•  Sen. Hillary Clinton
• Sen. Barak Obama
• Gov. Bill Richardson

Networking Central
• Star of David Bikers

Raising A Mensch
• Hospitality

• Cong. Beth Hamedrosh
• Interfaith Walk

Living Judaism
• The Big Picture

The Kosher Table
• Kosher Ice Cream

Free Subscription

Past Issues
2008 J


    Email This     About     Subscription     Donate     Contact     Links     Archives  

Senator Chris Dodd.

Special Dossier: Presidential Primaries

Remarks by Senator Chris Dodd

Sen. Chris Dodd was elected in the House of Representatives in 1974. Six years later, he was elected as a United States Senator where he has represent Connecticut for the last 26 years. He is the chairman for the Senate Banking Committee, for the Foreign Relations Subcommittee, and for the Subcommittee of Education and of Early Childhood Development. Dodd announced his Candidacy for the Presidency for the 2008 election on January 11, 2007.

On April 24th, Yom Hazikaron 2007, Dodd spoke to the National Jewish Democratic Council's Washington Policy Conference. Micah Green introduced him as a person "who embodies the ideals, not just of the democratic party, but the ideals of helping the unfortunate and helping those in need." Adler felt "that leadership, that commitment to the values of the Democratic Party, and I would add, Jewish values is what makes me so proud to introduce my friend."

Israel: An island of hopefulness in a sea of despair.

I am glad to be before you this morning to share some thoughts on national policy and on issues affecting all of us in our country and in the world in which we live.

Today, Israel remains an island of openness in a sea of despair, obviously, as all of us know painfully. The success belongs to all of the Israeli people and is more lasting than anything that has happened on the battlefields, as many there had been over the years. Israel continues to show its goodness to the world. That its politics are open and vibrant, that its markets are free and fair, and that its laws hold for weak and strong, and that its might is only for its self-defense.

We also know how much of the world prefers ideology to fact, of course. How many choose to make themselves blind to Israel’s virtues because they prefer to identify someone as a "scapegoat" to advance their own political causes.

For six decades, America has been a good friend to Israel and I’m here today to claim my part in that friendship over the years, and deeply proud of it, 32 years in the United States Congress, 26 in the United States Senate.

I can not promise you easy answers on the dangers that Israel and the United States faces today, but I can promise one small and vital thing: I am a man who believes his own eyes. No one will ever have to persuade me of Israel’s goodness, of its deep meaning, its necessity that I already know, and I learned young in a very significant ways.

Chris Dodd's father Sen. Thomas J. Chris Dodd, executive trial counsel for the Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality at Nuremberg, Germany (1945-1946).

Father's commitment to the rule of law in Nuremberg

My connection with the State of Israel starts with my father, Thomas Dodd, who served in the United States Senate, but at the age of 38, became an interrogator at the Nuremberg Trials in the summer of 1945; I was a year old at the time, one of five children. My father went off for a couple of weeks just to be an interrogator in the early stages of that effort, but over a period of days and weeks, his abilities and his talents were recognized by Robert Jackson and others, and he became, by the end of 1945, the executive trial council at Nuremberg, basically ran the prosecution for the United States for the next year at those hearings for the 22 defendants of Nuremberg.

It was that experience that galvanized my father, his epiphany, if you will, in his political life. His life changed dramatically from that experience and those of his children were affected directly by it growing up. I knew far more about the Holocaust and the events in the 1950's and early 1960's than friends of mine who came from Jewish families. My father talked and taught his children, the six of us growing up, of what had happened and what should never happen again. It was that rule of law, his deep commitment to that, his determination to see to it that human rights and the issues of free peoples everywhere would be embraced and talked about as a member of Congress, and as a member of the Senate. He made it a hallmark of his career.

Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice, to appear September 11, 2007.

My father wrote my mother every single day from Nuremberg, but I did not discover these letters until about ten years ago. First of all, I wondered who was this guy talking about my mother this way, then I realized it was my father was writing these letters. It is nice to know parents. Today, of course, you will never know these things with all the technical equipment we have today; everyone e-mailing one another. You do not keep these letters that show up years and years later, but it is the first draft of history. He would be doing an interrogation of Gen. Heidle at two in the afternoon and writing my mother at five, so you were getting these very raw feelings about what he saw. In fact, I have edited these letters, and they will be coming out this fall, as a way for people to go back and get a first draft of history from someone who was there at the beginning of this in 1945 through the 300 letters.

Give to these defendants that which they never gave to their own victims.

My father and Robert Jackson and a few others, Secretary of War Stimpson, were the ones who advocated for a trial. There were many who thought, and understandably so, why would you give these people a trial? Winston Churchill wanted to summarily execute every defendant at Nuremberg, the Soviets wanted a show-trial of a week or so and then just shoot them, but Secretary Stimpson argued, Roosevelt supported, Harry Truman, a bit more so, that generation that believed in the rule of law. They thought that this was an important event and that there ought to be a demonstration of the difference between people, that we will give to these defendants that which they never gave to their own victims.

As a result, the Nuremberg trials laid out a body of evidence, most of which were produced by the defendants themselves, of their horrific acts that had taken place during the Nazi Regime. And the world is better of today because of that example and from that structure and architecture, created by those people at Nuremberg and thereafter, we built institutions, certainly far from perfect in many ways, but institutions that gave us the opportunity to manage events.

Isolationism contributed to the rise of Tojo, Mussolini and Hitler.

I can not tell you how many times I heard my father talk about the difference between the generations. That assumed the responsibility of leadership in World War I, and those who took the responsibility at the end of World War II. Putting aside whether or not you believed in the Treaty of Versailles and whether the League of Nations was something we should have been involved in and supported, the idea that we walked away, shut our doors, turn down immigration, became isolated, failed to step forward and reorganize economic conditions around the world in many ways, my father believed, and I believed, contributing to the rise of the Tojos and Mussolinis and Hitlers.

The generation that came after World War II thought differently, and as a result, built these structures as a step forward, so we ended up with economic structures and orders at least contributed in the stability in the world economically. And while the IMF, NATO, the World Bank, and the United Nations have been anything but perfect over the years, they gave us a framework by which we could begin to deal with these issues.

The challenge for us in many ways is whether or not confronted by a similar choice, which direction will we move in as a people? Which direction will our leaders take in this country to determine what kind of century your children and your grandchildren are going to have?

Bold engagement in foreign policy.

I believe we must have a bold engagement in foreign policy. We have got to step forward and not retreat, as tempting as that will be, and we are only a fraction away, for those who would appeal to the worst instincts in us, from retreating and closing the doors because of all the fears and all the problems that all of us know exist with allies like Israel and friends around the world who wonder today whether or not the United States can lead or not.

It is going to take leadership that’s going to know how to bring these experiences together here. This is not the time for on-the-job training when it comes to the Presidency of the United States. This is going to be a time when people who had been through the experience knows what needs to be done, and knows the individuals and people you bring together. So we do not miss any opportunity, as Democrats here, to get back on track both at home and abroad. To deal with policies that are manageable and sort of isolated instances, such as energy and foreign policy, but understand that these issues move back and forth with each other.

We have got to rebuild those institutions, reform them. We have got our people to assume the responsibilities of seeing if they can actually engage and what needs to be done, to move us in that direction. So it is important for us to begin to understand how important our relationship is.

Israel cannot afford to lose one conflict.

As I have stated over the years, I am proud of the fact over my career, I have supported the aid programs that assist Israel to get on its feet, to stay on its feet, to be supportive of the financial and military support over the years. Knowing how threatened Israel is, I believe Israel cannot afford to lose one conflict to it, or they will not be a second for them. In a sense, they have to sustain and defend themselves at every single instance, surrounding by growing nations of hostilities who are determined to destroy them. We only have to read the charters and the language of various organizations and how they feel to recognize what can happen.

And so it is going to be important to stay engaged and to be committed, and to understand at times we’re going to have to work closely to see if those opportunities presenting themselves are not lost on us, to try and reconstruct the possibility of a lasting relationship and a lasting peace.

Iran went before the world and denied the work my father was engaged in Nuremberg.

None of us can forget what is going on with these.

  • How could you when you realize you are looking at an organization like Hezbollah that has a private army that is dedicated to Israel’s destruction?
  • In Iran, you have mad theocracy whose president went before the world and denied the work my father was engaged in Nuremberg.
  • You have an organization like Hamas that kidnaps Israeli soldiers, whose founding charter declares, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam obliterates it."
  • How could I forget when the Arab League has been boycotting Jewish goods since 1945?
  • How could I forget the ideological attacks on Israel’s right to exist reverberate from national parliaments and international assemblies?
  • And how can I forget Israeli college professors are being shunned over the fact of being Israeli and Jewish in European Nations today?

How sad indeed it is, to see that kind of activity.

I would never think in my lifetime that I would ever see that activity by allies of ours that have claimed to have raised the same moral values and principles that we do. That allow in their own countries, policies which discriminate against people and the seeking of jobs.

Existential threat to Israel.

Make no mistake about it. These attacks on Israel: military, economic, and ideological, show an existential threat that is serious.

  • That is why I supported Israel financial aid.
  • That is why I co-sponsored the Syrian Accountability Act.
  • That is why I am a strong supporter of the Iranian Sanctions Act.

As the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, after 26 years of sitting in that committee, I will see to it that we pass the Iranian Sanctions Bill.

I was stunned to learn, as we have hearings on the Iranian Sanctions Bill a few weeks ago, that Iran had received over $26 billion in contracts from nations and companies around the world, and the United States has failed under the Bush Administration, on a single occasion, to object to those contracts. We have got to do everything we can to bolster our allies’ commitments and cooperation to implementing meaningful sanctions against Iran. Some have talked about dealing with terrorism accounts, in a sense, to be able to look worldwide on industries, businesses, and countries that support growth activities in these nations that have been identified as supporting terrorist activities. I support and endorse that idea: the idea of having some possibility of reminding people that this is not a process that we are going to tolerate to go on indefinitely, and we will be able to step up and hold those accountable.

Pentagon burning after September 11, 2001.

The Pentagon Burning.

I come before you today as a father and as a U.S. state Senator to candidate the president. I actually have very young children, a five-year-old and a two-year-old, and I am the only candidate at the age of 62 that gets mail from AARP and diaper services. I am proud to tell you they are doing well, although I’m learning, painfully and early, that daughters pose some difficulties for their fathers along the way.

My daughter Grace was born two days after 9/11 in Arlington, Virginia. From the hospital, you could see the Pentagon burning on September 13. So she is a special child for going through that roller coaster ride of emotions, watching the first one arrive in this world and knowing that maybe the world she is going to be growing up in is far less secure than you would like to see.

Anyway, these challenges are going to be difficult for us. America, Israel, and the world are not as secure as they ought to be and not as prosperous as we could be, in terms of the opportunities that are offered here. Never in my lifetime has there ever been an election we are about to enter into where there is more at stake for our country, and for the world, and indeed for all the common values of all humanity.

For all the uncertainties in the world today, what is clear is that six years of the Bush Administration has made the world far less secure, not more secure, and our place in the world far less certain. Today we face the immediate and unfolding civil war in Iraq, the growing threat of civil stateless terrorist organizations across the globe, a dangerously confident Iran, an a reinstated Taliban. We face a continuing crisis of HIV AIDS, malaria, and other diseases uplifting whole continents, the rising economic disparities in the United States and around the globe, and a clear and present danger of our planet in the form of global warming. We face this and more and we do so with fewer allies today than ever before. With the hour late, it is time to put our country on a far more secure path. How can we do that without bold engagement abroad and with an energy policy here at home that addresses our challenges with honesty and courage?

I believe the 21st century can be a century of optimism in confidence of our country. Indeed, positive, bold engagement, that restores America’s reputation, has a secure, reliable, and responsible leader, who would form the bedrock a national security doctrine in my presidency. A national security policy rooted will strengthen national alliances, and policies that would strengthen America’s security to the very long term. In a way, that was the America George Bush inherited on January 1, 2001: a strong America to look to for leadership.

Bush divided our allies by taking America to war with Iraq.

We all recall the immediate aftermath of 9/11, our allies standing with America’s decisions to destroy the Al Qaeda network and topple the Taliban, the papers in Latin America saying "All American across the globe." We had a wonderful opportunity at that moment. America was poised to lead in the 21st century as we had the latter part of the last, but instead of uniting the world against global terrorism, President Bush divided our allies by taking America to war with Iraq.

Of the UN, NATO, and the Geneva Conventions that killed the protocols: no agreement, no framework, was too significant to belittle, irregardless of how important America’s security is in the role we must play in reforming and making them stronger and more compliant to the challenges we face in the 21st century.

Today, we are less prepared to face growing threats. In the Middle East, our involvement in Iraq is inflamed with region-wide war breaking out between Shia and Sunni, elevating the dangerous nuclear posture in Iran, and the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah. This strengthens the course of Israel’s security on a daily, now hourly, basis, and in Latin America, where we are losing a public relations battle of Hugo Chavez. That is why in the interconnected world of the 21st century, restored American leadership is absolutely critical, but let me be clear, hope is not going to wash away the damage to America’s moral authority lost these last six years.

Hope alone will not bring our allies back to our side.

Hope alone is not going to restore America’s leadership.

Like never before, I believe we need national leadership that is actually ready to lead from day one.

Restoring our leadership begins with getting our Iraq policy right. Not with a military build-up there, but with drawing down our forces. Iraq must assume the responsibility of policing and governing itself. I am the only candidate I know of that is supporting the Feingold-Reed Legislation calling for affirmed timetable to end the war by March 31, 2008, and I call on other candidates to do the same. After more than 3,200 lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, $400 billion being spent, $2 billion a week, $8 billion a month, it is time to bring an end to a war that at every turn has failed to make America safer.

I say this respectfully to you, and every audience I speak to, I ask you, whatever you feel about Iraqi policy, to express our gratitude to the gentlemen and women who everyday who have to face a difficult set of circumstances. Everyone needs to understand what they go through. I spent time with troops from Connecticut and young soldiers and what they are going through. My views on this are not isolated views; these are the views of those who paid a great deal of time and attention to what needs to be done in Iraq, from Baker and Hamilton, to major military leaders, to Casey and Dempsey, to junior officers and non-coms that I met and talked with over significant visits to the region.

I also think it is important for us to remember it is not just our own losses and too often when we talk about this we neglect to talk about what has happened with the Iraqi people themselves in all of this. That literally, millions have been displaced, two million have left their country, a million more have lost their homes within their own country, and thousands have lost their lives.

To suggest that diplomacy is a sign of weakness is frightening.

A new strategy is necessary here.

I have never taken military options off the table, but I also believe we should use the tools we been given by as great nation, and to suggest that diplomacy is a sign of weakness is frightening to me. In all the years I have served in public life, Democratic and Republic Administrations, I have never seen an Administration that treats diplomacy and the ability to treat results for those vehicles, treated so poorly than this Administration has. The idea that we consider diplomacy to be a gift to your opponents are ones we do not engage in because we don not talk to people we do not like is a frightening prospect.

  • Even Ronald Regan, in his most difficult days, understood. Even calling the Soviet Union "the Evil Empire," Reagan sat down in Reykjavik to work on arms control agreements.
  • American President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung, February 21, 1972 (China News Agency).
    Richard Nixon, who was as strident an anti-communists as anyone ever knew in our lifetime, would open a door to Mao Tse-tung in the People’s Republic of China.

They did this not because they liked them, not because they wanted to have dinner with them, but because they understood that leadership required that you had to reach out and begin to find some means that which you could achieve the stability and security that we all desire.

That does not eliminate the possibility of responding to those threats through other means, but you do not draw that arrow out of your quiver until you have exhausted at least the opportunities to achieve your results by other means. That is what leadership requires in the 21st century. Those are the kind of institutions and relationships we are going to have to build. We cannot achieve the success we all desire by doing this alone. Terrorism is a tactic; it is not a philosophy. It requires cooperation; it requires building relationships and associations that would allow us to achieve that success. I believe if we continue much longer on the path we are following here, that job, no matter who assumes whose responsibility, will become almost impossible. The window is closing; the door of opportunity for us to build those relationships is available to us. It is not going to be there permanently.

There is a generation coming along that does not remember the good things that we used to be associated with. And if that generation assumes the leadership’s responsibilities without having an opportunity to understand what we can do constructively, the job will be far more difficult for us to build those relationships. We need a change of policy in Iraq and there is an opportunity for stability and a far-more secure future by following a very different path than the one we are on.

As President, I would immediately begin to deploy our combat troops within and out of Iraq, urban areas, and into bases in Kuwait and Qatar. To all our forces in Afghanistan, I would double our efforts to capture Bin-Laden, dismantle Al-Qaeda, and neutralize the Taliban. I would strengthen national alliances to better fight terrorism.

Saudi Arabia and Russia continue to oppress freedom and democracy.

The fact is the real challenges in these areas lie not alone with our enemies, we know who they are. Our challenges also lie with those we call our friends, or strategic allies. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, who continue to oppress freedom and democracy and to permit conditions that allow terrorism and hate to thrive. What America needs is a president who understands that the choice between coddling tyrannical leaders or going to war with them is a false choice that America is no longer acting alone. When America is once again leading, a strong moral voice in the world, it will be the terrorists and tyrants who will be isolated, not the United States of America.

Making America more secure and less captive to the unstable parts in the world is one of the reasons why last week I introduced energy policies to layout what we ought to do in this area. I believe energy is an issue with so many implications that with the right leadership has the potential to create a new generation of middle-class prosperity and transform on the world on which we live.

Our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels is one of our biggest problems.

I do not need to convince anyone that global warming is real and a great consequence to our planet and to our people. When everyone from Al Gore to President Bush is acknowledging its effects, when ten of the ten warmest years on record where the 1990's, I believe the debate has been put to rest. I do not need to convince anyone in this room, either, that America’s security is at risk because of our dependence on Middle East oil, now that we’re fighting terrorist organizations on the one hand, and financing their supporters on the other, importing our oil for $200 to $300 billion a year. But I am here to tell you what is possible to act on these challenges.

Our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels is one of our biggest problems. A problem that impacts our national security, our health, our planet, and our competitiveness, but breaking that competitiveness is one of the greatest opportunities for a brighter, greener, more prosperous, and more secure future.

And that is why I think we need an energy plan that sets the ambitious goals that say it will reduce 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, liberate ourselves from Middle East oil by 2015, and has a leader who has the courage to tell the people how we are going to get there.

Eliminate the last incentive to pollute... because it is cheap.

Some say America can’t do it, I could not disagree more. In addition to mandating tough cap and trade rules, I would enact a corporate carbon tax that eliminates the last incentives to pollute, and that is that it is cheaper. When America taxes big polluters, we will have less pollution, more motivation, more freedom. It is that simple.

In the Dodd Administration, if the price for dirty energy increases slightly, the cost of clean efficient energy will decrease dramatically. That is because in my administration every penny of this corporate carbon tax, over $50 billion at least annually, will help us to solve our energy problems funding renewable energy research and development, bringing new technologies to market, from lighting to appliance to automobiles, and deploying them as quickly as possible.

As president, I will do what we should have done a long time ago: I’ll increase car mileage standards to fifty miles per gallon and increase the number of hybrids on the market, not to punish the auto industry, but possibly to save them from themselves. That starts with providing tax breaks and rebates so that if you can afford a car, you can afford a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid or any other fuel-efficient vehicle. In my administration, being wealthy will not be a prerequisite to being green by insisting on sharing the same renewable energy technologies that will make America energy independent. Never again will nations have to be dependent on the oil bribes of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. That is why in 2008, some say we need experience; others say we need hope. I say we need both in our country.

Saving Grace.

Recently, my daughter Grace was getting ready for school. She turned to me and asked me two questions. The first was, "Daddy, What sort of a day do you think I’m going to have?" I gave her a wonderful answer about her day. The second question she asked me was "What sort of a life do you think I am going to have?" Since the day she was born, I have been asking myself the same question as I am sure all of you have of your own families. "What kind of lives are they going to have?" That is our collective responsibility: yours and mine.

It is not just the person at this podium; all of us bare this responsibility to do everything we possibly can to get this right for this generation coming along.

To create the opportunities here at home as well as create possibilities around the globe. I know all of you feel as strongly as I do that we can do this. It is going to take collective efforts. It is going to take real leadership, and it takes experience of knowing how to bring people together to resolve these issues. Nothing less than the very success of our nation and the safety of the world lies in the choices we’ll make in the coming weeks and months. This is a difficult job to get out there and do this, but I feel very strongly on how important it is.

I did not harbor the ambition, for many years, of seeking this office. I am 62 years of age; this is not a warm up for some future run. I know what I believe, I know what my convictions are, and I know what I have stood for. Most of you in this room will know them as well, over 26 years in the Senate and working on these issues. And so I look forward into working with you these coming months to ask for your help and support.

Question and Answer Session

Q. Do you have a website people can go to sign up?

A. Absolutely, it is chrisdodd.com. It is not complicated at all, and we welcome your participation.

Q. If you were to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, what would you say to him?

A. Well, first of all, I am not sure I would necessarily meet with him. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the only power in Iran. We made more of him in some ways. His redirect is frightening, but there are other power centers in Iran which we ought to be exploring far more aggressively than we are.

It is one of the few countries in the world that the population, at least on the recent surveys, has a favorable opinion of who we are, which is an unique occurrence in that part of the world. And I would want to find other means on which to establish those relationships and examine the possibilities of finding other ways to deal with this than relying on someone who, frankly, I think is unstable in many ways.

So I am not sure how much is going to be accomplished through that vehicle, but this requires more than an Iranian connection, I think that is an important one, and there all going to be issues on the table because there are going to be interests they have. Negotiations and diplomacy always involve give and take. Despite the fact we have our own agendas and what we want to achieve, there are other issues I am sure they’re seeking here that they would like to have considered, and we are opened to that as well. So it is not just going to be our agenda that we have to sit down and talk about, but rather a complex one to put on the table to achieve the desired results to the threats that Iran poses with its nuclear programs.

Going back to the energy comments I made earlier, I think they are very important in the long run, and I realize the taking on the responsibility of talking about carbon tax here. My view is that everyone has the same goal with energy policy. We all agree what we’d like to achieve here, but candor about how you get there from here is going to be critically important. And given the elasticity of the price of a barrel of oil until we deal with the price issue here, you’re going to face the constant difficulty of making renewable resources of energy competitive economically. At $70 a barrel of oil, there are certain technologies that are competitive. At $30 and $40, they are not competitive. We need to deal with the reality if this if we are going to achieve those results, provide the resources that would allow people to buy this technology and then move forward. But one of the elements that I think is critical in this plan is the idea of offering not dependency on the issue, but the opportunity to achieve energy independence to other nations around the world now having to be dependent on the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads and the Hugo Chavezes for energy, and building those relationships around so that you leave them less isolated. Today, one of the problems is this and many parts of the world; Ahmadinejad seems to be in better shape internationally than we are in terms of building the kind of pressures necessary to cause a change in direction in their policies.

We need to reestablish those relationships so that when you have the capture of British soldiers in Iraqi waters, you will not get this kind of silence that occurs from other parts of the world with that kind of terrorist action as was the case here that we saw day after day during that period of time.

So it takes more than just more than sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and try to negotiate something out here, but utilizing the full resources of the presidency to recreate those relationships that are important for energy independence as well as filling those relationships to allow you to exercise the kinds of pressures and influence that minimize his influence in that part of the world.

So I appreciate the question, it is a very complicated one, but one that requires a lot of engagement, far more than we are giving it. I get very nervous about the fact that we are disengaging in a time where we ought to be more forcefully engaging in these activities.

Q. Pakistan and nuclear power seems to be a tinder box of political collapse these days. What do we do about Pakistan?

A. Pakistan and General Musharraf poses both opportunities and problems and he has already faced several attempts on his life to eliminate him. There is not enough pressure on him to make sure that reaching into those western regions, those highly inaccessible regions in Pakistan where more of an effort is made to go after, which many of us believe is where Osama Bin Laden is and his forces are gathering today along there to get more aggressive action that is necessary here.

I would like to see us develop as well because, we cannot have our entire policy rely eternally on the survivability of Musharraf, but by the way we are able to build relationships in that country beyond Musharraf. A couple of years ago there were those who wanted to cut off all assistance and all relationships with the Pakistanis, including the invitations of Junior Officers in Pakistan to come to the United States, I resisted that. I think it is important that we build within the structures of these organizations. Those relationships that allow us some contact the ability to gain some influence when  these policies emerge and the personalities change and power positions change. I am very worried where Pakistan is going. What I am worried about is that we have very few people emerging in that leadership structure on whom we can rely should we need a friend over there if we end up having a country that emerges to become, in effect, what Afghanistan was with far more tools at its disposal, that we are going to be in a far greater danger and threat here. I would love to see a Jeffersonian democracy emerge in Pakistan. The reality for that is not likely, as you and I both know, and so we need to be developing theses relationships in ways that allow us to have some sustainability of policy as we develop the opportunities that were being raised by the first question.

I am a great advocate as always; I walk around everyday of my life for 25 years with a copy of the United States Constitution given to me by Robert C. Byrd when I arrived at the Senate, and I have great reverence for it, I talk about it all the time, and I would love nothing more than to see democratic countries and institutions flourish in the Middle East, but the reality is this does not happen overnight and be careful what you wish for too quickly.

As you can see, you can have democratic elections in certain areas producing results that can be very hostile to your interests here, and in my view, if you have completely free democratic elections in Jordan and in Egypt today, I think you might see the Islamic Jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood win some pretty overwhelming elections. That is not my opinion alone, other people have analyzed this would tell you so. I want to see us move in that direction, and anyway I do not want to be associated with those who would suggest somehow that there is no future and no possibility in the democracy of these countries. They recognize how long it has taken us to achieve the full ideals, or not even close to the ideals, incorporated in our Constitution. The idea that you can achieve these things overnight for these countries is naive in many ways. And moving in that direction and building those relationships are critically important, but democratic societies do not just emerge miraculously. They grow and they develop over years through societies, and it is going to be important that we work at that. My great fear is that we will lose that opportunity.

Q. How do you explain to the American voter that it is okay to have a compassionate immigration policy while still maintaining the security that is required?

A. Immigration has been a great source of strength for our country and I think it is important that we recognize that. We have gone through periods in our history when we have taken a different course and paid a price for it. We almost elected a president back in the 19th century from the Know Nothing parties that where prepared to shut the doors. The 1920's was another period in time. We have been a strong nation because we have been an open society. With the exception of African-Americans and Native Americans, all of us in this country are products of people who sought a better opportunity in life for their families. When my great-grandparents, Catherine and Thomas Murphy, arrived at age 15 and 16, they could not read and write their own names. In Connecticut, they produced nine children, my grandfather being the ninth. When my mother graduating in college for Latin and Greek, the story was heard a million times over, people coming from nations and parts of the world that they had to leave because of religious, economic, or political strife, so we would always begin a conversation to remind ourselves how important immigration and openness in our country is meant to our strength and our vitality as a people.

Obviously, the 400,000 people a year are coming in here as undocumented workers are more than we can accommodate. Twelve million people here without legal status require we have a response. I am for making our borders more secure. I think steps could be taken, but that security requires cooperation. I have chaired the inter-parliamentary meeting with Mexico for 26 years, I have been the co-sponsor for that meeting, and this is a major subject matter. Pointing an accusing finger at Mexico everyday as if they are sorely responsible for this is naive and not going to help us achieve the result of getting a more secure border. We need to do things on our side of the border, but we need cooperation on the other side as well. I think that penalties that are meaningful and significant for those who hire undocumented workers need to be increased if we are going to have an impact on discouraging the flow coming in. As long as people know there is a job out there for you, then the people are not going to worry about the price of violating the law of the land and we are going to have a growing problem.

I am in favor of taking a pathway; I am not for amnesty and people who suggest to you that amnesty is the answer here. We are talking about a pathway to people achieving legal status. What people fail to understand is that in the same family unit there can be people who are legal citizens, green card holders, holding visas, and undocumented workers. Talking about rounding up 12 million people and shipping them out of the country is unrealistic and going to cause more disruption than you can imagine.

Creating that pathway, insisting upon it where you pay the prices of back taxes and other criteria in order to achieve that status, is the way to go. With the Guest Worker Program, I am for it. In certain areas, it makes sense, but I also believe we are not genetically indisposed of doing certain work, provided you pay people a decent wage and salary for doing it.

If you raise the minimum wage more frequently than once every ten years for people, you may find plenty of people in this country willing to do the job and not worrying about hiring people off-shore to do it, but it needs to be seen in a larger context as well. I gave the commencement address a few years ago at the University of North Dakota, and I was there a day early and there was a meeting in the mayor’s office in the community, which is about twenty miles from the Canadian border, and they were talking about immigration policy and border security. There are some twenty roads between Canada and North Dakota and on all but one of them, the border security consists of these cones at 9 p.m. and picking them up at 9 a.m. There was a fellow that got up and said, "I am an employer here in North Dakota and I employ Canadians. My plant opens at 8 a.m., the border opens at 9 a.m. and no one is ever late for work."

Mexico faces its own set of issues in the southern states of Mexico where people from Central America are seeking better opportunities for themselves. This requires international cooperation as well. The worst instincts can be appealed to on this issue. We are a country that has strong isolationist trends. I have often said I can give a speech to any community in Connecticut and stand up and say, "If you reelect me I promise to never spend a nickel of your tax money on foreign aid" and get a standing ovation. Understand that is much of the mood in our nation. It takes leadership’s constructive good educators that can talk about this issue in a way that appeals to the better sides of us as a people, that can teach people to understand the complexity of the issue, come up with some good answers to it, but also offer some positive constructive ideas on how we can deal with this issue without turning our nation into a society the treats the people, who have come here to make us a stronger more secure place, feel like outcasts.

Q. Now that we finally have a Democratic Congress and a Democratic Senate, is there anything being done to restore habeas corpus?

A. A lot of votes that get cast, the one last fall was deeply troubling to me. We all try to walk and be careful of these issues, I am not so naive about this, but I hate to give terrorists larger victories. They have achieved ones already that are unimaginable, and the idea that we would be utilizing those arguments in a way of denigrating and demeaning the very institutions all of us take pride in. Last fall when we passed the Military Commissions Act, it was rather breathtaking to me that we would eliminate habeas corpus and then again condone, at least under certain circumstances, the use of torture and the acquiring information and walk away from the Geneva Conventions. It was a dark day in my life in many ways.

I have offered legislation to restore that. My strongest advocates in the senior military people at the Judge Advocate General’s court were horrified and had the courage to stand up in public hearing to say so about walking away from these very principles that are critical to us. The Nuremberg Trials, in a sense, is where my Genesis comes from on the rule of law. There has been a great hallmark for us, we are able to construct throughout the world institutions in countries that follow the idea of the rule of law and how important it is. When we demean that, when we step away from it, it has been suggested we have to make a choice between being secure and walking away from constitutional principles, which have been so important to us in a country and a development as a nation, than that is a false choice.

You can be secure and you can protect your constitution.

And habeas corpus ought to be one of these items, that if you are held by the United States that you have an opportunity to know what your charged for and have an opportunity to be tried, that is the difference. At Nuremberg we did not assemble a team of executioners; we assembled a team of lawyers. We gave every defendant a lawyer to present evidence in the case. It was a great moment for the United States, we were almost alone in insisting upon it and I think the world has recognized our contribution to it.

I want to see us once again get that high ground, once again lead in the world and be that constructive nation of change and opportunity. That is really what we need right now.

Previous Interviews

Did you enjoy this article?

If so,

  • share it with your friends so they do not miss out on this article,
  • subscribe (free), so you do not miss out on the next issue,
  • donate (not quite free but greatly appreciated) to enable us to continue providing this free service.

If not,