I had some technical problems during my livebloggery this morning and our content-management system erased my capture of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
I had some technical problems during my livebloggery this morning and our content-management system erased my capture of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s endorsement of the administration’s big missile defense decision. Luckily my Olympus DS-330 digital recorder doesn’t sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death, and so this is what she said:
Let me begin, though, by echoing the president’s statement yesterday concerning his approval of the recommendations not only of the Pentagon but of his entire national security team to deploy a stronger and more comprehensive missile defense system in Europe. This decision came after a lengthy and in-depth assessment of the threats posed, and particularly the threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the technology we have today and what might be available in the future to confront it. We believe this is a decision that will leave America stronger and more capable of defending our troops, our interests and our allies.
Let me be clear about what this new system will do, relative to the previous program which was many years from being deployed. With the president’s decision, we will deploy missile defense sooner than the previous program. We will be able to swiftly counter the threat posed by Iran’s short and medium-range ballistic missiles. We will deploy missile defense that is more comprehensive than the previous program, with more interceptors in more places, and with a better capacity to protect all our friends and allies in the region. We will deploy technology that is actually proven, so that we do not waste time or taxpayer money, and we will preserve the flexibility to adjust to the threat as the threat evolves.
So make no mistake: if you support missile defense — which I did, as a senator, for eight years — then this is a stronger and smarter approach than the previous program. It does what missile defense is actually supposed to do: it defends America and our allies. Now, I know we’ve heard criticism of this plan from some quarters. But much of that criticism is not yet connected to the facts. We are not, quote, shelving missile defense. We are deploying missile defense sooner than the Bush administration planned to do so. And we are deploying a more comprehensive system. We are not reducing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies from Iran. By contrast, we are increasing that capacity, and focusing it on our best understanding of Iran’s current capabilities.
And most of all, we would never — never — walk away from our allies. We have recommitted ourselves to our Article V [of the NATO Charter] obligations under NATO. We have sent that message in bilateral and multilateral settings, from the president’s and my trips, to every other encounter and venue that we have been in over the past many months. We are deploying a system that enhances the security of our NATO allies. It actually advances the cooperation with NATO, and it actually places more resources in more countries. Two of our allies, Poland and the Czech Republic, were very willing to host parts of the previous planned system, and we deeply appreciate that. We will continue to cooperate closely with both nations, for instance through the rotation of a Patriot battery in Poland and close missile-defense research and development with Czech companies. As we explore land-based interceptors going forward, we have made it clear that those two countries will be at the top of the list. And let me underscore that we are bound together by our common commitment as NATO allies and also by deep historical, economic and cultural ties that will never be broken.
Finally, let me reiterate what the president said yesterday. This decision was not about Russia. It was about Iran, and the threat that its ballistic missile program poses. And because of this position, we believe we will be in a far stronger position to deal with that threat, and to do so with technology that works and a higher degree of confidence that what we pledge to do we can actually deliver.
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