Rick Perry Wades Into Foreign Policy with Speech to Veterans

Aug 29, 2011 11:14am

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz (@arlettesaenz) reports:

Texas Governor Rick Perry delved into foreign policy this morning as he addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in San Antonio, warning that the United States “cannot concede the moral authority of our nation to multi-lateral debating societies.”

“I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism. We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened and we should always look to build coalitions among the nations to protect the mutual interests of freedom loving people,” Perry told thousands of veterans today.

“It’s not our interest to go it alone. We respect our allies, and we must always seek to engage them in military missions. At the same time, we must be willing to act when it is time to act.  We cannot concede the moral authority of our nation to multi-lateral debating societies, and when our interests are threatened American soldiers should be led by American commanders.”

Perry pointed to the lessons learned from the Vietnam War as helping leaders make more cautious decisions when engaging in combat.

“A president should never send our sons and daughters into war without a plan to win and the resources to make that possible,” Perry said. ”It’s a dangerous world that we live in today.  Our enemies often don’t wear uniforms or swear allegiance to a particular flag but instead to an ideology of hatred. As the 10th anniversary of the attacks of 911 approach, we must renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are before they strike at home.”

Two weeks ago, Perry, who flew C-130s in the Air Force from 1972 to 1977, stated that one of his greatest motivations to run for president was to ensure “every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this nation respects highly the president of the United States.”

“I think the military men and women respect the commander in chief regardless of who it is. I think they really like to see a person who’s worn the uniform in that office and, you know, I think that’s just a true statement and I wouldn’t back up off of it an inch,” Perry told a group of reporters at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month.  “Go ask your veterans if they’d rather see somebody who’s never served as the commander in chief.”

Perry never served in a war but highlighted the dedication and service of his father, who was a tail gunner in World War II, flying 35 missions over Germany in 1944 and 1945.

“He helped liberate millions from tyranny. When he came home he didn’t seek acclaim or credit, he just wanted to live in peace and freedom,” Perry recounted.  “His story is not unique.  Indeed his story was if anything very representative of our entire generation, the greatest generation who know all about placing country and community ahead of self.”

“I know the credo of survivors of war that only the heroes are the ones who never make it home, but in my eyes you all are heroes every one of you.”

In his speech, Perry announced a new Texas initiative called Housing4TexasHeroes, a three million dollar grant program which will help veterans buy, build, rehabilitate, or rent homes.

“A great nation cannot turn its eye away from wounded warriors. We should honor them with the best healthcare possible, with help transitioning back to civilian life and with jobs,” Perry said. “It anguishes me to see young men and women come home scarred, feeling isolated, unable to cope with what they’ve experienced. these are our precious sons and daughters.  They are our nations’ newest generation of heroes. They are our own flesh and blood. We must take care of them, everyone of them.”

In the month leading up to his official announcement, Perry attempted to sharpen his foreign policy acumen, meeting with national security experts Doug Feith and William Luti in a foreign policy and national security briefing coordinated in part by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mitt Romney is slated to speak to the VFW convention tomorrow.

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