04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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FORT HOOD, Texas (CNN) -- Heartbreaking testimony from victims and family members of the Fort Hood shooting continued Tuesday, as the court-martial of convicted shooter Nidal Hasan moves closer to a dramatic conclusion.

"The shooting and his killing is not going to destroy my family," said Joleen Cahill, widow of Michael Cahill, the only civilian to die in the massacre. "He is not going to win," she said firmly, referring to the defendant sitting just feet away.

The 2009 killings on this sprawling U.S. Army base by a lone gunman left 13 people dead and 32 others wounded, some severely.

The sentencing phase could wrap up by mid-week, and the jury panel of 13 officers will then decide whether the Army Medical Corps officer should die for his crimes. The wild card is what Hasan will say to the court -- if anything -- when he gets his turn to speak. He serves as his own attorney and has not put up much of a defense.

He asked no questions of the prosecution witnesses who spoke separately on the stand. None directly addressed Hasan at the defense table or bothered to look at him while they testified.

Three shooting victims, six widows, five parents and an adult offspring were among those who fought tears to describe their physical and emotional suffering over the past two days.

Cahill recalled going numb when she was told about the killings. "A lot of that night was a blank."

Also testifying Tuesday was Jerri Krueger, mother of Sgt. Amy Krueger, who was 29 at the time of the incident. She recalled what her daughter said the day of the 9/11 attacks: "She said, 'Mom, I'm joining the Army.' I told her she couldn't fight bin Laden all by herself, and she said, "Watch me."

Krueger and her best friend enlisted the next day, and had aspired to be a clinical psychologist.

"When a parent loses a child," said Jerri Krueger, "it creates an irreplaceable void. I live with that every day."

Hasan was convicted Friday of all 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting rampage at a Fort Hood deployment processing center. The incident occurred about a month before Hasan was to deploy to Afghanistan.

Wounded by two gunshots was Lt. Col Randy Royer, a Reservist.

"I have mental issues, I take anxiety medication," he told the panel Tuesday. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and dealing with crowds is especially tough. Visiting the local pharmacy, where chairs line the counter, reminds him of the setup at the center where the killings occurred. "I don't do well with that," he said softly.

Hasan continued to forgo asking any questions of the witnesses.

Prosecutors will call more witnesses to describe the impact the shootings had on their lives, part of the "aggravating" evidence the prosecution will use to try to demonstrate why Hasan deserves lethal injection.

The court-martial unexpectedly recessed mid-afternoon Monday, and Hasan's standby attorney John Galligan told CNN that "health-related concerns promoted the delay."

From his wheelchair, the defendant, who was wounded by military police in the attacks and paralyzed, repeatedly asked the bench Monday to take brief breaks from the proceedings.

The American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian descent has the opportunity to offer "mitigating" evidence that could persuade the panel to spare his life.

But victims' family members had their turn Tuesday. Among them was, Philip Warman who was so distraught about losing his wife -- 55-year-old Lt. Col Juanita Warman -- that he testified that friends had to take his guns away for his own safety. And he abused alcohol almost constantly until the following June.

"I was falling apart," he testified. "It was like something was ripped from me."

Warman entered rehab and has not had a drink since. He earns Alcoholics Anonymous coins as reminders of his sobriety. He told the panel that he pushes the coins into the ground when he visits his wife's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

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