JEANE KIRKPATRICK: As a long time supporter of Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, a close personal and family friend, I am especially pleased to be here tonight and share some thoughts.
A few days after the unfortunate elections of 1992, we remember those, a friend asked me, did I think a Clinton administration could seriously damage our country - in just one term.
Probably not, I said. Twelve years of Reagan/Bush support for American defenses had created forces so strong, so well-equipped and well-trained, that four years of less than adequate support didn't seem too damaging.
The Cold War had ended. Our forces had scored a brilliant victory in Desert Storm. And for the first time since World War II, neither the United States nor any of its allies faced a major military threat.
Moreover, during the presidential campaign of 1992, candidate Bill Clinton gave us no reason to suppose that he would put United States forces under United Nations command and control. He gave us no reason to believe he would send them on dangerous missions which were not vital to our national interests, or expect them to operate with inadequate armor, inadequate fire power, and on the basis of inadequate intelligence.
Yet, soon after the inauguration, Bill Clinton did all these things. They did not use force only when it was required. They did put American troops under United Nations command, and under United Nations rules of engagement, and send them into dangerous situations in Somalia, Macedonia, Haiti.
And again and again the Clinton administration underestimated the danger our forces would face and failed to provide adequate support.
In Mogadishu, Americans were ambushed on a mission to capture Gen. Aideed, then they were pinned down for eight hours before reinforcements finally arrived. Eighteen rangers died. Another 78 were wounded. Better intelligence, stronger armor, greater firepower - better plans, better judgment - would have made all the difference.
In Daharan, Saudi Arabia, 19 young Americans died because once again our government underestimated the danger. Secretary of Defense William Perry acknowledged as much when he told the Congress it was a much bigger bomb in Daharan than he had expected.
The Clinton administration underestimated the danger to F-16s and to pilots like Scott O'Grady when they sent O'Grady on a potentially dangerous mission without the electronic equipment that could have easily protected him against just the kind of surface-to-air missile that blew him out of the sky.
Now, despite the proliferation of missiles, missile technology and weapons of mass destruction, despite the vulnerability of our allies, despite our own utter vulnerability, despite our knowledge that the world's outlaw nations, states like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, are working overtime to buy, beg, steal, develop weapons of mass destruction, despite all of that, the Clinton administration opposes serious efforts to develop and deploy missile defenses that could protect South Korea or Taiwan, or Israel or any other American ally from a hostile neighbor.
And most serious of all, President Clinton opposes the development and deployment of a national missile defense that can protect Americans and the United States itself from intercontinental ballistic missile attack.
The secretary of defense does not estimate that the danger warrants the expenditure.
Americans will choose in November between men with very different views concerning the uses of American power.
Unfortunately, Bill Clinton and his administration do not understand how to protect and preserve American strength and credibility. For this reason, for this reason, they make threats they do not carry out, they accept promises on which they never collect, they acquiesce in the mistreatment of American officials.
As when the Serbs shot down an unarmed American plane on a routine flight over Serbia but paid no price.
As when Fidel Castro's MIGs blew Americans piloting unarmed Cessnas out of the sky over international waters off of Florida, and paid no price.
Or as when the president simply accepts - without protest - Syria's insulting treatment of his secretary of state or China's threats to rain missiles on Los Angeles.
Bob Dole notes with concern the spreading attacks against Americans in the World Trade Center, in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps on TWA 800.
Bob Dole observes that when the United States loses credibility, the world becomes a more dangerous place. President Bob Dole will use power very differently than Bill Clinton.
President, President Bob Dole will not put American forces into conflict under United Nations command. He will not send them into harm's way with less protection than needed to insure their safety.
He will provide what is needed for their protection, and err always on the side of their safety.
He will not deny other people's weapons with which to defend themselves against aggression, as Bosnia was denied such weapons, nor acquiesce, passively, in the slaughter of civilians, nor send 20,000 American troops to provide the defense that adequate weapons and training could have provided long before.
Bob Dole believes the first duty of the president is to provide for the common defense. For this reason, he will keep America strong. He will be a reliable and prudent ally, a wise and careful president, a strong and honorable leader, of whom all Americans can and will be proud.