Mary FallinLeaders throughout our nation's history have had a deep respect and understanding of the obligation they had to future generations. Today, that obligation is more important than ever.

It's why we must take extraordinary precautions to protect our nation from those who would do us harm.

Border Security

We must make border security a top priority to ensure that terrorists like the 9/11 attackers cannot simply walk into the country. That's why I joined members of both parties to try and secure our borders, cosponsoring legislation to provide our Border Patrol with 8,000 more agents.

Supporting Our Intelligence Agencies

We must also be aggressive in our efforts to hunt down and eliminate the forces that are plotting our demise. Speaker Pelosi's failure to pass legislation renewing surveillance operations on foreign terrorists has left America blind to potential threats. I will continue to push her to bring that bipartisan legislation to a vote and give our intelligence agents the tools they need to keep us safe.

The War on Terror

Oklahoma knows firsthand about terrorism. That's why on 9/11, Oklahomans understood, perhaps more than most, that our way of life had changed forever.

We must remain steadfast in the War on Terror. Our nation's future depends on our resolve and determination.

I believe that both Iraq and Afghanistan can become stable allies in the fight against terrorism. The recent success of the "surge" in Iraq, a tactical shift that produced a dramatic drop in the casualty rate, suggests that we have finally charted a course towards a successful future.

Ultimately, the Iraqi people must win democracy for themselves. But as Americans, I believe we must continue to operate in a supporting role while the Iraqis make the political and military gains necessary to establish a stable nation.

I sympathize with the many Americans who want to see our troops come home now. No one wants to see the loss of any more lives. It is my firm belief, however, that either an immediate withdrawal or a firm timeline for redeployment from Iraq would have disasterous consequences. Both plans commit us to a strategy that is divorced from the facts on the ground. Each sends a signal to insurgents that we are less than fully committed to the cause. The result will be more violence, not less.

There will come a time when ending our presence in Iraq will make sense. But to drastically and immediately reduce our military presence there is to abandon our recent gains, declare defeat and do so while discarding the advice of our top military commanders. When the United States withdraws from Iraq, it should be at a time when we can ensure we leave a stable government behind us. To do any less would be to risk the kind of regional instability that would boost the power and influence of Iran and Al Qaeda at the expense of American interests.