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Mike Rogers: 'A Strong America is a Source of Pride and a Force for Good in the World'

2:33 PM, Sep 16, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Congressman Mike Rogers delivered this coherent, Reaganesque defense of defense this morning at the American Enterprise Institute:


The Evolution of American Intelligence and National Security in the Decade since 9/11
A Keynote Address by Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Thank you all very much; thank you to AEI for inviting me to speak today, and to Dany for that kind introduction.  I am honored to be here today.

Today, I want to talk about America’s role in the world and where we, as conservatives, should stand on issues of national security. 

We have just passed the 10-year anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, a day that Americans should never forget.  In the years since that horrible day, our country brought renewed focus to the threats we face.  We altered our methods to approach these threats.  We transformed our national security and intelligence institutions to help ensure that we would not face another similar attack. 

For the past 10 years, much of our national energy has been focused on counterterrorism and the fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Our military and intelligence professionals, and their families, have carried a heavy load for all of us, and let me take the time to thank them now.  They have devoted themselves to our country, some of them have paid the ultimate price, and for that we all owe them our deepest, eternal thanks.

At the ten-year anniversary of that dreadful day, it is appropriate that we reflect on the changes we’ve made and discuss how we should approach the future.  This conversation is especially important given the events unfolding in the world and the disagreements that play out domestically about how to respond to those events.  Whether it’s our troop numbers in Afghanistan, our actions in response to the changes across the Middle East and North Africa, or the costs of maintaining a strong defense in a time of intense budgetary concerns, the American people expect and deserve a principled, coherent national-security strategy to answer these questions.  Especially when the current Administration has not provided us a coherent approach to national security and foreign policy, it is up to conservatives to provide a strong and viable alternative. 

We have achieved remarkable progress on the counterterrorism front in the last 10 years.

We broke down barriers and established new systems to respond to that threat.  Despite the change in administrations, most of the counterterrorism structures put in place after 9/11 have endured.  They have continued because they worked and because they were consistent with our principles and values.  From the expertise of our intelligence analysts to the skill and cooperation of our elite military units, we have spent the last decade honing and perfecting our counterterrorism capabilities.  We must not lose that capability, we must continue this fight, and we must provide the resources necessary to continue it successfully.

Some believe that after the last 10 years, Americans are tired of the burdens of defending America, that the decade has drained our energy for further engagements in the world.  I believe, however, that now is not the time to walk away from the rest of the world.  We must remember – and we must consistently remind the country -- that America will not remain safe, America cannot remain a force for democracy and freedom in the world, if we refuse to engage around the world.  

Some assert that there is a growing sentiment within conservative circles for a minimized role for America in the world.  They argue that the future should be focused on the problems only within our borders.  I believe this argument is wrong.  It ignores the core of the conservative movement.   And conservatives believe, above all else, that America is a force for good in the world.  Now is the time to remind ourselves of the successful principles at the heart of who we are; the principles that made Americans confident in the leadership of the Republican Party. 

We must remind the country of the principles that brought us out of the malaise of the 70s and into the strong posture of the 80s.  It was morning in America then and it can be morning in America again.  The country turned away from apologetic and confidence-shattering policies, and chose instead to be guided by the strength and principles of President Ronald Reagan. 

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