At a press conference in New York City on Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said that he believes that America needs a shift away from the Bush Global War on Terror doctrine. “For six years, George Bush has used the language of terrorism to force through an ideological agenda that undermines our values and does nothing to undercut terrorism,” said Edwards. “By the Bush Administration’s own admission, we are less safe today. We need a smart national security strategy to shut down terrorists, not a cynical political strategy to shut down debate. As president, I will strengthen our military to better address the threat posed by terrorist groups, and launch a sweeping global effort to ensure that terrorism does not take root in weak and failing states.”

Edwards announced a six point plan that he says will terrorism at it effects and root causes. The first point in his plan involves rebalancing the military so that is restructured to match the mission of combating terrorism. He said his second point will, “Ensure our intelligence strategy adheres to proven and effective methods and avoids actions that will give terrorists or even other nations an excuse to abandon international law.” The third point of his plan is to hold regular meetings with top military leaders. Edwards wants to give, “military professionals will have primary responsibility in matters of tactics and operations, while civilian leadership will have authority in all matters of broad strategy and political decisions.” He would also create a special corps of 10,000 professionals called the Marshall Corps which would be used to stabilize weak and failing states.

The fifth point in his plan is to reinvest in the maintenance of military equipment. Point six is the most interesting. Edwards would implement a National Security Budget that would encompass all security activities in Pentagon and the Department of Energy, and our homeland security, intelligence, and foreign affairs agencies. This plan isn’t bad, but it is fairly vanilla and nothing new. I would like to know how the military will be restructured. His second point is that he will end practices like GITMO and secret detention centers, which any Democratic candidate would do.

I also think that any Democratic president would implement point three. The Marshall Corps sounds good in theory, but how will it work, and what will it actually do? Point five is basic, any president would do it. Point six is interesting, but we need more than budgeting, we need strategic planning among agencies. I give Edwards credit for offering something, but his plan doesn’t really address the root causes of terrorism does it?

Edwards policy fact sheet

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at  blog radio 

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