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Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at Yeshiva University

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

As Prepared For Delivery


"Thank you so much. It's an honor to be with you this evening. Oliver, thank you for your introduction. I want to thank you for the opportunity to address you tonight, and for letting me share in the 20th anniversary of the Syms School. Thank you to Sy Syms and his family. To the supporters, the professors, the administrators, the alumni, and all the students: congratulations on this great event.


"As you heard, I spent most of my life in the private sector, first by consulting the major corporations, and then by starting and acquiring companies. It takes chutzpah I believe to buy a company from somebody else, someone who knows the business inside out, someone who has decided that now is the best time to sell, someone who has hired an investment banker to hawk it to everybody in the world, and then to think that you, having paid more than anyone else in the entire world, you somehow think you are going to make a profit on your investment.


"It's truly an improbable way to make a living. But it worked, and far better than I ever imagined. During the fifteen years that I was the proud partner at Bain Capital, our compound rate of return on our investments exceeded 100% a year. Not bad.


"Now, what was the secret? There really wasn't a secret. What we did is done every day by you in the private sector. We started off with good people-highly intelligent, intellectually curious, driven people. We gathered extensive data and carried out rigorous analysis before we made our decisions. And then we used all that information to develop a highly focused strategy to make the enterprise more successful.


"I found that the same approach works in the public sector as well. Good people, data, analysis, focused strategy. It's not the way government usually does things, but it's the way government should do things.


"Today, America faces a number of critical challenges. In my view, at the top of the list is the threat of radical, violent Jihad and the associated threat of nuclear proliferation.


"I think many of us, including some of our leaders, fail to comprehend the extent of this threat. Take former President Jimmy Carter. President Carter thinks that Israel's security fence is the thing that keeps peace from coming to the Holy Land.


"Having just been to Israel, I came to the opposite conclusion: the security fence keeps peace in Israel - it's helping - that fence is helping prevent bloodshed and terror and violence.


"What Jimmy Carter fails to understand is what so many fail to understand. Whether it's Hamas or Hezbollah; Al Qaeda or Shia and Sunni extremists, there is an overarching goal among the violent Jihadists - and it transcends borders and boundaries. That goal is to replace all modern Islamic states with a religious caliphate, to destroy Israel, to cause the collapse of the West and the United States, and to conquer the entire world.


"Jihadism - violent, radical, fundamental Jihadism - is this century's nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century's nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism.


"The September 11th Commission reported that al-Qaeda had been trying to acquire or build nuclear weapons for well over a decade. Former CIA Director George Tenet said that Osama bin Laden sees the acquisition of WMD as a 'religious obligation.' Jihadist clerics have issued fatwas authorizing the use of nuclear weapons to... 'defeat the infidels.'


"We are faced with the horrific proposition that those who speak of genocide are developing the capability to carry it out.


"Radical, nuclear Jihad is the greatest threat that faces humanity. It cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.


"In my view, there are several steps that America has to take.


"First, we have to sharply increase our investment in national defense. I want to see at least 100,000 more troops in our military. I want to see us finally make the long overdue investment in equipment and armament, weapon systems, and strategic defense. That's going to require that we spend at least 4 percent of our GDP on defense.


"Let me show you, by the way, a little history here. Let's see if I can make this work. This shows the history as a percentage of GDP of the U.S. military. And you'll see that over time, we've made some pretty significant investments in protecting our country. In the Korean War, 11.7% of the nation's economic activity was associated with the protection of this land. During the Reagan years, it reached approximately 6% of our GDP. Today, it's down to 3.8% and I believe that we have to increase at least by 40-50 billion dollars a year our spending on military strength.


"Second, America has to become energy independent. Our economic and military strength require it. We use 25% of the world's oil. On this chart, you see where the oil comes from. The United States has approximately 1.7% of the world's crude oil reserves. We obviously have to become energy independent for strategic purposes and I'm not just talking about symbolic measures, I mean that we finally have to take the necessary steps to actually produce as much energy as we use.


"Third, we have to transform our international civilian resources, to enhance our influence for peace, and for security, and for freedom. Just as the military in our country has divided the world into common regions with a single commander for each region, our civilian agencies need to do the same thing.


"Fourth, we need to strengthen our old partnerships and old alliances, and inaugurate a new one. I agree with former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain that we should build on the NATO alliance to defeat radical Islam.


"And further, if I were fortunate enough to be elected your President, I'd call for a National Summit of Nations to create a new partnership - a Partnership for Hope and Prosperity.


"This Partnership would assemble the resources of all the nations of the world to work to assure that Islamic states that are threatened with violent jihad have public schools that are not Wahhabi madrases; that they have micro credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic healthcare, and competitive economic practices.


"And fifth, we have to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Their ambition to develop nuclear weaponry is clear: they have a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean natural gas for energy, they have refused Russia's offer to supply nuclear fuel for their power. Obviously, their nuclear ambition has nothing to do with clean energy.


"Ahmadinejad has gone beyond the boundary of outrage, beginning with his calculated desecration of history. His purpose is not only to deny the Holocaust; it is to deny Israel. He is doing what another evil man did before him: conditioning minds to acquiesce to the elimination of a people.


"In January I was at the Herzliya conference and I discussed the threat of Iran. Since then, Iran continues to operate its nuclear program in defiance of the UN Security Council. It's expanded its centrifuge operations in Natanz. It's issued a new banknote that features a red nuclear symbol superimposed on the map of Iran.


"Earlier this month, Iran boasted the production of nuclear fuel on an 'industrial level' with a goal of installing 50,000 centrifuges. On April 9th, Iran marked a new national holiday - 'Nuclear Day.' Just look at the extent of their activity. These show the nuclear sites in Iran. This is not a little narrow project. Does the world understand what's going on here? Do they recognize the threat which is posed by this nuclear-developing nation?


"Some people, of course, think that it's possible to live with a nuclear Iran. That thinking is based on the theory that Iran, once it's granted the privilege of becoming a member of the nuclear club, that it will be a responsible actor.


"Neither their words nor their actions justify that kind of thinking.


"Others believe that frankly back in the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War - that that will protect us. But for all of the Soviet Union's deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. And that assumption simply can't be made about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom like Iran.


"It's time to take Ahmadinejad at his word and act accordingly. We are going to continue to work, we'll work with the UN, we'll encourage China and Russia to work with us at the UN Security Council.


"But the U.S. and Europe can't afford to wait.


"I have proposed a strategy to combat Iran's nuclear ambition. Let me describe just a few of the elements.


"First, we should severely tighten economic sanctions. I think the Bush Administration deserves a lot of recognition for restricting access to our banking and credit services, because financial, and credit and monetary penalties are some of the most effective sanctions there are. And we must get other nations to act now to follow our lead.


"In my meetings in Israel in January it became clear to me that pension funds, such as the one here in New York City, have invested in companies like the French oil giant, Total. After New York State named its Comptroller, I wrote him, and I also wrote to Governor Spitzer, and Senators Schumer and Clinton and urged them to disinvest from companies that have significant operations in collaboration with Iranian regimes.


"Second, I think it's important for us to isolate Iran diplomatically. Their leaders should be made to feel exactly like those of Apartheid South Africa, or worse. That's why I ordered the state police of Massachusetts to refuse security details for former Iranian President Khatami when he came to Harvard.


"Of course, we can communicate and talk with Iran and I support the upcoming efforts to discuss security in Iraq with Iraq's leaders and their neighbors in the region. But until there are indications that high level engagement would do anything other than reward bad behavior, I don't believe that we should be engaging Iran in direct, bilateral negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. Iran's nuclear intransigence is repulsive to the entire world and we shouldn't let Iran try to position it as an Iran vs. a US thing.


"Now there is one place of course where I'd welcome Ahmadinejad with open arms: and that's in a court where he would stand trial for incitement to genocide, under the terms of the Genocide Convention.


"There's a third effort. Arab states need to join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do a lot more than just wring their hands and urge America to do all the work. They should support Iraq's nascent government; they can help America's focus on Iran quickly by turning down the temperature on the Arab-Israeli conflict; they can stop the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hezbollah; and they must tell their Palestinian friends to drop their campaign of terror and recognize Israel's right to exist.


"This one's a little sensitive. Listen carefully. Fourth, we have to make it clear to the Iranian people that while nuclear capabilities may be the source of pride, they can also be a source of peril. If nuclear material from Iran falls into the hands of terrorists and is used, it would provoke a devastating response from the entire civilized world to the very nation that supplied it.


"There is yet another source of Jihadist nuclear danger, beyond Iran. It's the pursuit by Jihadists of acquiring what are commonly known as 'loose nukes.' The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which was launched last year, was a good start, but we need to accelerate and expand it.


"First, I'd appoint a senior American official to serve as Ambassador-at-Large to Prevent Nuclear Terror. He or she would have the authority and resources to work across agencies and departments in the United States to ensure that our strategies are coordinated here, and abroad.


"Further, I'd promote an international initiative to develop a new body of international law that would make nuclear trafficking a crime against humanity, on a par with genocide and war crimes. And by allowing for universal jurisdiction, charges can be brought up at any court, to help prevent traffickers from hiding in complicit or weak countries. Already, people have been caught trying to smuggle nuclear materials to sell them on the black market. Their acts shouldn't be dismissed with the kind of nonchalance that sometimes accompanies routine violation of the laws.


"Countries that want to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes should convene to reaffirm their commitment to non-proliferation. For years now, we have depended on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the centerpiece. But recent technological and political developments suggest that the bargain at the center of this effort needs to be updated. We need to set a 'gold standard' for security, given the amount of highly enriched uranium that still exists in the world. Let me show you where it is. The countries in red are countries that have over ten thousand kilograms of highly enriched uranium and various research facilities around their lands. As you look at that, you recognize why it is that we don't want to break off discussions with Russia. There's a lot of cooperation that we need to keep in place with Russia, because they've got to be engaged in frank and open discussions about the serious and disturbing turn of events in their own country. But we also have to remain a partner with them on the issue of securing the vast amount of highly enriched nuclear material in their country.


"Finally, the United States in my view should take the lead in organizing an international fuel bank, which would guarantee low-cost supplies of nuclear reactor fuel to countries willing to abide by very high standards for safety and security.


"The threat from Jihad is real and it is exacerbated by the demographic crisis. Today, over half the region is under 22 years old. The combined GDP of all Arab nations, including their oil revenue, is less than Spain's. Think of that. And with the growing population and lack of jobs, the ground for radical Islam will be increasingly fertile.


"Let me show you some slides I think are pretty interesting. This shows the map of the world drawn to the scale of where the proportion of the world's wealth was in 1960. Look at the United States - extraordinary wealth, larger than any other land in the world by far. Europe is shown in the pinkish colors there - that's western Europe. The blue is eastern Europe and then you'll see Africa of course very small in terms of portion of the economy of the world. The Middle East is in the light green. You can see India there in the yellow, right next to India, to the west of India is of course Pakistan. China is the bright green and Japan is the purple. Look how that changes as projected for 2015. Look what happens to China. Look what happens to Europe. But the Middle East continues to be extraordinarily small in terms of its economic clout. And Northern Africa, where Jihad is also rampant, is a tiny portion of the world's economic vitality in the year 2015. This is as projected by the UN. Where are the babies being born?


"Let's look at the same map, but instead of drawing it based upon where the economic strength is, let's show where babies are being born. That's where population will be as of 2050. The very places that have the least income have the extraordinary growth in population. And this is the very fertile and very frightening field that we're going to have to encounter.


"And so because of this and many other reasons in the final analysis, only Muslims are going to be able to defeat radical Jihad.


"But we can and we must support moderate Muslims in rejecting the extreme and accepting modernity.


"We should remember that in the two other global confrontations with totalitarianism in the past century, it wasn't always obvious that we'd win. Indeed, in those conflicts, the balance of power was not always in our favor.


"Those were wars we could have lost, but we didn't.


"In the current conflict, defeat is not nearly as dangerously close as it was during the darkest moments of the Second World War and the Cold War. There's no comparison between the economic and diplomatic, and military resources of the civilized world and those of the terrorist networks that threaten us today.


"In those previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far from guaranteed.


"In the current conflict, there is only one way to lose, and that is if we as a civilized world decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, or our values, and our way of life.


"I will not be silent, you will not be silent.


"Today, we can lead the world. We can and we must lead the world to do what it has sought for so many centuries-to accept different people and different cultures, to respect the inalienable rights of every child of God, and to welcome a time of peace and prosperity for all the children of our Creator.


"Thank you so much."



Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks At The Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference

Tuesday, Jan 23, 2007

Herzliya, Israel


"Thank you, Ron. It's an honor to be here today. I appreciate that introduction. Thank you also Uzi Arad for all you and Ron do together to make this conference possible. It's good to be with you today at the Herzliya Conference. It's been a busy day for me today. I began with breakfast with Mel Sembler here in Jerusalem, saw the sun rise, and then along with friends, we traveled together to the border with Gaza, and then helicoptered to Alfe Menashe and then we helicoptered further to the Lebanese border. And we just made it in a few moments ago.


"I am glad to be in Israel again - in a country I love, with people I love. It's been 10 years since I was last here - then, for about 10 days or so - and the country has changed a great deal in that time. One, it's a lot greener - even more trees - more highways. I was really struck, however, by how vibrant the economy is. I must admit that as someone who spent most of his life in the private sector working with businesses, I have great respect for the ingenuity and the resilience of Israel's workers and entrepreneurs.


"But the changes are not only economic and they are not only positive.


"And it is not just that Israel that has changed - the world has changed.


"Unfortunately, many in our world have not caught up with the new strategic paradigm which we as a world face.


"In that old view, the Arab-Israeli conflict was thought of as an intractable regional conflict. One that drags on...that should be resolved...but is not part of a global threat to the world order.


"9/11 changed that. Or it should have. Contrary to the Baker-Hamilton Commission, resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict will not magically mollify the jihadists.


"What we should have realized since 9/11 is that what the world regarded as an Israeli-Arab conflict over borders represented something much larger. It was the oldest, most active front of the radical Islamist jihad against the entire world. It was not really about borders. It was about the refusal of many parts of the Muslim world to accept Israel's right to exist - within any borders.


"This distinction was brought into clear focus this summer. The war in Lebanon had little to do with the Palestinians. It had nothing to do with a two-state solution. It demonstrated that Israel is now facing a jihadist threat that runs from Tehran through Damascus to Southern Lebanon to Gaza.


"As Tony Blair quite accurately put it, Hezbollah was not fighting 'for the coming into being of a Palestinian state...but for the going out of being of an Israeli state.'


"Yet I don't think we have still not fully absorbed the magnitude of the change. I think it is critical that we understand that as far as our enemies are concerned, there is just one conflict. And in this single conflict, the goal of destroying Israel is simply a weigh station toward the real goal of subjugating the entire world.


"Jihadism - violent radical fundamentalism - has emerged as this century's nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century's nightmares: fascism and Soviet-styled communism.


"In America, the attack by Al Qaeda has led some to believe that we are threatened by a band of fanatics that live in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They imagine that if we could only get Osama Bin Laden and put him away, all this unpleasantness would simply end.


"But Jihadism is much, much greater. Jihadists are among Sunni and Shia, promoted by Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, financed by knowing and unknowing Muslim governments, and preached to hundreds of millions in many nations. Their goal is the overthrow of moderate, modern Muslim nations and their replacement by caliphate. Their strategy is the collapse of our economy, our government, and the military of our nations.


"To their eyes, this destruction is not delusional, but possible.


"In my country, as you can imagine, the focus is overwhelmingly on Iraq these days, and that's very much understandable and appropriate. We have some 140,000 men and women there, and there are more on the way, as you know. And we are suffering casualties. Indeed, as you probably saw over the weekend, this has been a particularly painful time for the United States just over the last several days. Thousands of American families continue to make the greatest sacrifice for security in Iraq. And for whatever mistakes America has made and the challenges which we now have before us, we must remain absolutely committed to making every effort for success there.


"And on that point, I would just like to make another additional thought. And that is that there are some Congressional leaders in the United States right now that are arguing that the President is not authorized to allow our forces in harm's way to pursue Iranian elements inside Iraq - which are attacking our own troops. That is simply folly.


"But today, I wish to focus on the regime that has become the heart of the Jihadist threat - Iran. I believe that Iran's leaders and ambitions represent the greatest threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany.


"Ahmadinejad has gone well beyond the boundary of outrage, beginning with his calculated desecration of history. Indeed, when he denies the Holocaust, he could care less about history - his point is about the present and the future. His purpose is not to deny the Holocaust, but to deny Israel. He is testing the waters. He wants to know who will object. And how will they register their objection.


"The Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. And that threat would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power. And just think of the signal a nuclear Iran would send to other rogue regimes with nuclear ambitions - this could be the tipping point in the development and proliferation of nuclear regimes.


"How should the civilized world respond to this challenge?


"Our first task should be to dispense with three major schools of wishful thinking:


"The first school concedes that Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear. But that's where the certainty ends. Beyond that recognition, there is only hope - hope that Iran's weakening economy and political rivalries will yield a change in the government's leadership. We're all hopeful, but that's not a strategy.


"The second assumes that it's possible to live with a nuclear Iran. That thinking is based on the theory that Iran, once granted the privilege of joining the nuclear club, will be a responsible actor.


"Neither their words nor their records justify that conclusion.


"The third school believes in the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War, and they think it will apply to Iran. But for all of the Soviets' deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. This assumption simply cannot be made about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom.


"Each of these three schools of thought represents a rationale for inaction, rather than a strategy for success.


"Each would in all likelihood yield the same result - an Iran that is nuclear, threatening the world, or worse. They should be rejected. And they should be replaced with an understanding of two fundamental realities:


1) Iran must be stopped

2) Iran can be stopped


"It's inconceivable to me that some could think otherwise. Their view has to be based upon disbelief - disbelief that Iran's regime means what it says.


"Few believed that Hitler meant what he said when he called for the destruction of the Jewish people in Mein Kampf.


"Few believed what Osama bin Laden said, and then came 9/11.


"As you know, the 9/11 Commission found numerous failures on our part - failures of intelligence, failures of coordination and communication, failures of analysis. But they found that the most critical failure was this: a 'failure of imagination.' Americans simply could not believe that people would crash airplanes full of innocent people into buildings full of innocent people.


"Since these things happened, can we really dismiss horrific threats as mere rhetoric?


"A nuclear Iran is unacceptable because, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates pointed out in his confirmation hearings, we have no way of guaranteeing that Iran will not use a nuclear weapon.


"Many people do understand that Iran must be stopped, but they just don't think it's possible. They see the modest sanctions that the UN took three years to produce. They see Russia refusing to end its cooperation with Iran's nuclear program. They conclude that the UN Security Council will never produce sanctions tough enough - and soon enough - to stop Iran.


"What is less appreciated, however, is what the US and Europe can do. Yes, we should continue to encourage China and Russia to work with us at the UN Security Council. And from my meetings in Israel over the past few days, and in China a couple of months ago, I have reason to be more optimistic about the role China can play.


"But we can't sit idle while we wait for more cooperation: The US and Europe can do much more to exploit the vulnerabilities of Iran's regime.


"In considering a strategy, I think we have to remember that the government and the clerics in Iran are not the sole center of power there. The people of Iran also represent a major source of power. By and large, they have not been as radicalized by their government and clerics. They fear economic stagnation and they fear political repression. Most are not seeking a military confrontation with the West. Indeed, most want greater engagement with the West - there's a reason, for example, why there are more than 75,000 bloggers active in Iran today. A successful strategy on our part has to consider and encompass the people of Iran, as well as their leaders.


"That being said, let me just talk for a moment about a strategy which I think should be pursued. It includes five major dimensions:


"First, we should continue to tighten the economic sanctions. Our model should be at least as severe as the sanctions we imposed on Apartheid South Africa. We should demand no less from the international community today than we gave then.


"The Bush Administration, I believe, deserves credit for the efforts it's made on the economic track so far. The Administration's campaign to deny Iran access to the international banking system is crucial. The US and Europe should ensure that Iran finds it very difficult to obtain credit - very difficult to make purchases in foreign currencies.


"We also have to be imaginative in the way we pressure Iran economically and send a message to its leaders and its people that the world is not happy. In my meetings in Israel this week, I have become aware of a potential US pension system to further isolate the Iranian economy. We should explore a selective disinvestment policy. After a series of briefings here, I actually contacted the Treasurer of my own state of Massachusetts and the Governors of some of the neighboring states to begin this process. They are going to begin meeting today with senior Israeli leaders that are in Boston today.


"Second, we need to impose diplomatic isolation of Iran's Government. Ahmadinejad should not be provided the trappings, and respect, and recognition of a responsible head of state as he travels. In fact, when former Iranian President Khatami traveled to Boston last year to lecture at Harvard University, I denied him state police security for his visit. Of course, the real question is: why did Harvard invite him in the first place? I was in another foreign capital traveling and I saw a 707 I believe it was and flags draped along the passageway from the doorway all the way to the terminal, flags a red carpet, and I asked, 'Who's that?' And they said, 'Oh President Ahmadinejad is here visiting.' And I thought 'Is that the kind of welcome for a man who says what he said?' I don't believe that's what should happen in this country, in this world. Ahmadinejad, of course, is even more strident and violent spokesman than Khatami was. He should neither be invited to foreign capitals nor feted by foreign leaders. This would have an important symbolic significance, not just to Ahmadinejad, but to the people of Iran. The message must be heard loud and clear.


"Diplomatic isolation should also include an indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide under the Geneva Convention, excuse me the Genocide Convention. The United States should lead this effort.


"The full title of the Genocide Convention is the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Remember that word: Prevention.


"Article III of the treaty establishes 'public incitement to commit genocide' is a punishable crime. Every signatory to this treaty shares an obligation to enforce it. So do human rights groups that care about international humanitarian law.


"Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, and human rights advocate and former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler have spoken out on this issue.


"In addition, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has been a forceful advocate for this effort, and he's joined by Alan Dershowitz. If these two can agree, there must be something to it.


"Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do much more than wring their hands and urge America to act. They should support Iraq's nascent government, they can help America's focus on Iran by quickly turning down the temperature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, stopping the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hezbollah, thawing relations with Israel, and telling the Palestinians they must drop terror and recognize Israel's right to exist.


"Fourth, we have to make it clear that while nuclearization may be a source of pride to the Iranian people, it also should be considered as a source of peril. The military option remains on the table. And further, any people should know that if nuclear material their own nation develops falls into the hands of terrorists and would be used that would surely provoke a devastating response from the civilized world to any who provided that fissile material.


"Fifth, our strategy should be integrated into a broad approach to the broader Muslim world. I agree with our friend, former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain, that a central purpose of NATO should be to defeat radical Islam. And I believe this has two critical dimensions. On the one hand, is an unquestionably capable military. That's key. That's at the heart of things. That will mean a greater investment by the United States as well as other nations. But there's a second dimension as well. It's what I'll call a partnership for progress - a global partnership which includes NATO and other allies. Its mission would be to support progressive Muslim communities and leaders in every nation where radical Islam is battling modernity and moderation. This Partnership for Prosperity should help provide the tools and funding necessary for moderates to win the debate in their own societies. They need secular public schools, not Wahhabi schools, micro credit and banking, the rule of law, adequate healthcare, human rights, and competitive economic policies. In the final analysis, only Muslims will be able to permanently defeat radical Islam. But we can and should help.


"We should remember that in the two other global confrontations with totalitarianism in the past century, it was not always obvious that the West would prevail. Indeed, in those conflicts, the balance of power was not always in the West's favor. Those were wars we could have lost, but we did not.


"In the current conflict, the balance of forces is not nearly as dangerously close as it was during the moments of World War II and the Cold War. There is no comparison between the economic, diplomatic, and military resources of the civilized world and the weak terrorist states that threaten us.


"In those previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far from guaranteed. In the current conflict, there is only one way to lose, and that is if we as a civilization decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, our values, and our way of life.


"It is time for the world to plainly speak three truths:


One, Iran must be stopped.

Two, Iran can be stopped.

And three, Iran will be stopped


"Thank you so much."



Excerpts from Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at the Conservative Members Retreat

Friday, Feb 02, 2007


Baltimore, MD - Today, Governor Mitt Romney will make remarks at The Heritage Foundation Conservative Members Retreat - a gathering of members of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC). Governor Romney will address his record of strong conservative leadership and the right strategy to deal with the threat posed by Iran.


Below are key excerpts of Governor Romney's remarks as prepared for delivery.


Governor Romney's Conservative Leadership:


"When I ran for governor, I ran as a fiscal conservative - I had a background in building businesses, and I could tell there was a better way to run our state government. Massachusetts, like a lot of states in 2002, was facing a fiscal crisis - and I wanted to help solve that crisis, without resorting to higher taxes.


"I am proud to say that we did just that - but a funny thing happened along the way. The fiscal crisis was solved, but a new set of crises began.


"Massachusetts became a center stage for the most divisive issues facing our nation today.


"The issue of gay marriage came up. In the 2002 campaign, I was asked for my view on the matter, and I gave it - I was then and remain today, opposed to gay marriages and civil unions.


"But a year later, judges decided to legalize gay marriage in the state - the voters didn't get to decide, the legislature didn't get to decide, certainly I wasn't asked for my opinion, and I guess 3,000 years of recorded history didn't matter either. By a 4 to 3 margin, the judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided to redefine the institution of marriage.


"And meanwhile, just a few T stops from the Statehouse, over at Harvard; scientists were preparing to clone human embryos - experimenting with human life itself.


"I didn't ask for these issues to be put on my plate. But as Governor I didn't have the luxury of silently sitting on the sidelines. I spent a lot of time looking at these issues, talked to a lot of people, and thought seriously about them and their implications.


"The issues of marriage and life are at the heart of a civil society. We need to be wary of those who experiment with life, who experiment with our kids, and those who toy with the building blocks of the family and society.


"The sad truth is that these experiments have been playing out for decades, and the ones who pay the price for failure are not the scientists, or the university sociologists, or the judges, or the liberal policymakers - the ones who pay the price for liberal experiments sometimes don't even have a voice. And it's time they have a voice.


"So on the issue of life, this fiscal conservative became a social conservative as well. I'm committed to defending the institution of marriage, family, and human life.


"I believe in a divine creator. And I believe every single person in the entire world is a child of God - and that as a civilized people we ought to respect life.


"I believe fundamentally that there's nothing more important to society than the family.


"And I believe in treating all people with respect and dignity and tolerance despite our differences."


Governor Romney On The Right Strategy To Prevent A Nuclear Iran:


"Someone else considering a run for the White House recently addressed the Iran issue, and you won't be surprised to find out that I don't agree with her approach.


"In a speech last night in New York City, Senator Hillary Clinton said that she needs to quote 'understand' unquote Iran better - and to help her with her education process, that we should quote 'engage Iran' unquote.


"Friends, someone who doesn't understand Iran hasn't been paying attention - at this point, we don't need a listening tour with Iran. While I support gathering intelligence about our adversaries in any way possible, engaging is not the right policy. To the contrary, economic and diplomatic isolation must be our priority.


"Indeed, she argued that our strategy of engagement with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was a model for how we could deal with Iran. Now, for all the former Soviet Union's flaws, at least they maintained a commitment to national survival. They were not suicidal. The same cannot be said about the Iranian regime. And we must stop making analogies that are disconnected from the world in which we operate.


"And someone who wants to engage Iran displays a troubling timidity towards a terrible threat."

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