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Transcript from Straight Talk America's Online Chat with John McCain
September 25, 2001
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Thank you for joining us tonight. Senator McCain will be with us shortly.

Good evening and thanks for joining me for another web chat. I know you have lots of questions so I will dispense with further comments.

Question from William (Nokomis, FL)
Q: Sen. McCain, Do you support military action against those nations that have been shown to support terrorism?
A: Yes I do; but I believe we need to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan first and give these countries an opportunity to rid themselves of terrorist organizations. 

Question from Pete (Accokeek, MD)
Q: Senator, what can the average citizen do to help thwart future terrorist attacks (beyond remaining vigilant)?
A: Unlike any other conflict we have entered into I think we have to return to a normal life as quickly as possible. One of the major objects of the terrorists is to disrupt our lives and, unfortunately, the attacks came at a time when the economy was in bad shape. So it's important for us to proceed with any trips, purchases or investments we had originally planned. Fly the American flag and the next time you see an American in uniform--whether it’s a firefighter, police officer or member of the armed services--tell him or her thanks for serving. 

Question from John (Peru, NY)
Q: Is there any current news that you can pass on this evening about the attack on the WTC and the military mobilization process?
A: The only item of interest is the Saudis breaking off relations with the Taliban. That is an important step and I believe it will enhance or increase Saudi assistance to us. Among other things they have a very large air base that we would like to operate out of. Finally, there is more evidence that there could be still a number of terrorists at large in the United States. I don't believe that they are prepared to do more damage, but I do believe they have to be apprehended as quickly as possible. 

Question from Christopher (Uniontown, PA)
Q: Senator, truthfully how protected are we against an attack using biological or chemical weapons? Also, should we worry about those types of attacks?
A: Yes we should be concerned. In the short term, it is not too severe a threat because of the difficulty in obtaining the materials--particularly biological. But it is a serious long-term concern and one that requires action here at home but also lends urgency to eradicating terrorists at the source. In other words, where they live and train. 

Question from Susan (Bethesda, MD)
Q: Senator McCain: I just wanted to say thanks for all your recent public appearances. They were both reassuring and informative in this time of crisis. Senator, do you think that we, as a people, had become too comfortable and complacent with our peace? That freedom always requires more alertness than we were exhibiting? 
A: I do and I believe that complacency was exaggerated by the end of the Cold War. I have often said we went from a very dangerous but predictable world to one that is still dangerous but much less predictable. 

Question from Ed (San Francisco, CA)
Q: Given the recent threat to the airline industry, do you think the federal government has a role to play in a national passenger railroad policy?
A: I think security measures may have to be taken concerning the railroads. I am told that tunnel security is a particularly urgent priority. And I would like to remind you, my friends, that all of these measures are going to be very expensive. 

Question from Jesse (Blue Springs, MO)
Q: How broad is the campaign planned to be? After Bin Laden, then what next?
A: In my opinion, it probably needs to be Iraq since there is significant evidence of his attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction as well as his support of terrorism. Remember that once we are finished with the Taliban and move to other nations, we will very likely loose the support of some nations in the Middle East. 

Question from Hugh 
Q: Senator McCain Do you believe that immigration standards should be altered in any way to better provide for security
A: I think it has to be re-examined in many ways and the first area it must be revised is the so-called temporary Visas. Apparently some of these terrorists were in the U.S. using that method. In other words, they were here legally. 

Question from Lucy (Lexington, KY)
Q: What demands, if any, do you think we should put on the airline industry in exchange for the stabilization of the industry? 
A: We need to make cockpits entry-proof. We need to put air marshals on airplanes and at least some airport security personnel may have to be federalized. 

Question from William (Nokomis, FL)
Q: How long do you think the Congress will continue to work together on a non- partisan basis? I find this very unique and encouraging.
A: I hope for a considerable period of time because many Americans have voiced their approval and I believe that can encourage us to further bi-partisanship. 

Question from Eric (Greenlawn, NY)
Q: How long do you think countries like Russia and China will support us after we move on past Afghanistan?
A: I think it is very possible that the Russians may see a benefit, particularly economically for continued cooperation with the U.S.  Also, they may feel more freedom to act in Chechnya, where you know their behavior has been bad. I am not optimistic about China and I really don't expect a great deal of assistance from them. 

Question from Deborah (Philipsburg, PA)
Q: China directly attacked our military plane, and held our soldiers hostage. Where does China stand now?
A: I believe that China presents one of our greatest challenges, as it becomes a world power. And our relations with China will be dictated by Chinese behavior. I think they might be the last country that would agree to the U.S. building a national missile defense system. 

Question from Tim (Kinderhook, NY)
Q: In the likely event members of our military are called upon by the President and the Congress to go in harms way, how can we, the civilian population, best support them? In other words, how can those such as myself best serve those who serve to protect my freedoms?
A: If there is a greater crisis, I think Americans will be called to serve in their communities and their neighborhoods. I think that contributions to organizations that are assisting in this effort and continued support of the President are important. 

I would also encourage young Americans to consider volunteering to serve their country. 

Question from Linda (Houston, TX)
Q: In light of recent events, doesn't the missile defense shield seem unnecessary/ineffective?
A: I think recent events indicate that the terrorists will seek to exploit any weakness and there is significant evidence that a number of nations, such as Iraq and Korea, are developing missile systems capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction. So I think there is a need for continued development of missile defense. 

Question from Christopher (Uniontown, PA)
Q: Don't you think that, by applying too much military force to Afghanistan, we will just make the Afghan people hate our country even more?  Creating many more Osama Bin Laden's?
A: I think the Afghan people are being oppressed by a very extremist regime. The Taliban has behaved in this fashion toward their own people. I believe we should support the northern alliance in their efforts to defeat the Taliban. No matter what happens, I'm afraid Afghanistan will be a very tragic country for many years. 

Question from Michael (Grand Canyon, AZ)
Q: Senator McCain, How do you feel about Mr. Ashcroft's proposals to Congress to tighten up security ie: National ID Cards?
A: I am fundamentally opposed to a national ID card, but at the same time I am willing to consider a broad range of proposals that will assist us in tracking down the terrorists and securing the safety of all Americans. 

I think all of us have to be willing to give up some of our freedoms, but not too much otherwise the terrorists win.

Question from Peg (burke, VA)
Q: Do neither the timeline nor costs associated with building a missile defense shield, cause some pause in their support? When can we expect the missile shield to be operational?
A: That's an excellent question. I am very disappointed at our inability so far to develop an operational system and I think the taxpayers deserve better than what they've gotten so far. I also believe we should improve our existing Patriot system as well as our sea based Aegis system. 

Question from Eric (Greenlawn, NY)
Q: How do you think this will affect our stance on Israel and it's conflict with Palestine?
A: It lends some urgency to a cease-fire. But I also think that Americans will be more sympathetic to the Israelis the next time a bomb goes off in a pizza parlor. Since the events of September 11th, Arafat seems to have changed his attitude. Let's hope it leads to something good. 

Question from Lillian (Dorado, PR)
Q: Senator McCain, Do you think that, with all of these current events happening, the finance reform can get more or less support? 
A: I'm afraid at the moment that CFR is on the back burner. But I believe we will re-visit the issue soon and I'm still optimistic of success. 

Question from Joe (Rocky River, OH)
Q: Senator McCain, What do you feel has created the significant anger that people in other countries have against Americans and what we can we do to reduce it?
A: The anger is bred by envy, beliefs that we offend their religious principles, that our culture is debasing their culture, and our support of Israel. I believe the long-term solution resides in economic development and the installation of democratic institutions. In the short term, the solution has to be the fear of U.S. retaliation. 

Question from Sue Anne (Gaithersburg, MD)
Q: How do you feel about the pilots carrying guns on the airplanes?
A: I'd like to hear the opinion of anti-terrorist experts, but it seems to me that cockpits that cannot be broken into and the presence of air marshals on airliners would take care of the situation. 

Question from Susan (Denton, TX)
Q: Do you think that, given the likelihood that we could lose support of Middle Eastern countries down the road, this could turn into something bigger than the U.S. vs. terrorists?
A: I think it is possible but don't forget that some of these Arab countries like Saudi Arabia are in danger themselves from terrorists and would like to see them eradicated. So, in the case of some moderate Arab states, it is clearly in their self-interest to assist us. 

Question from John (Peru, NY)
Q: Are medals still being considered for the people that fought off the terrorists on the plane that crashed in PA?
A: Absolutely and, as more Americans are aware that the airplane was headed for the Capitol or the White House, I think that support will increase. 

Question from Joe (Rocky River, OH)
Q: Senator McCain, as we did after WWII, should we plan to address the long-term solution by creating aid packages and assistance to foster democracy in countries where it is appropriate?
A: I think so.  A good example is Afghanistan after the Russians were defeated and the Cold War ended we lost all interests and cut off aid to Afghanistan and obviously bad things have happened in that country. 

Question from Lillian (Dorado, PR)
Q: Senator McCain we are a group of students from the University of P.R., how can we contact you or your "people" for further discussion on CFR? 
A: You can contact me through www.straighttalkamerica.com, by writing my office and calling my Straight Talk America office in Washington at 202-789-2626. Don't ever give up. 

Question from Matt (Cary, NC)
Q: Senator McCain...I have always wanted to thank you for your patriotic service and wonder about your thoughts on the use of Biological weapons against the USA...would that constitute the use of nuclear weapons against those who use biological weapons?
A: Yes, if necessary, but I'm not sure that it would be appropriate. In other words, I think the attack would come from a terrorist group, but if someone like Sadam Hussein were responsible I would do whatever is necessary. 

Sorry I have to leave to go appear on Larry King Live. I hope you will tune in. I look forward to chatting again soon. Remember, we will prevail. 

Thank you for joining us for the Straight Talk America chat. Please remember to visit the web site at http://www.straighttalkamerica.com for the latest news from Senator John McCain.


 

 

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