By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry told veterans on Monday that the United States should "renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy before they strike at home" as the nation approaches the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Perry, running for the Republican presidential nomination, also told the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention that troops should be prepared and able to win before they go into war.
A Perry rival for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, is scheduled to speak to the convention on Tuesday. The VFW, hosting its 112th annual convention, has criticized President Barack Obama's administration for not naming a top-level representative to speak as of Monday.
The administration has scheduled the assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs to give a speech.
The VFW advocates for benefits and other support systems for veterans, and has about 1.2 million members.
Perry, who has attacked Obama's foreign policy in the past, did not mention the president or criticize U.S. government policy during his short speech.
But he said that the United States should engage its allies in military operations and not make mistakes the government made during the Vietnam war, when soldiers "were called to a war our leaders were not prepared to win."
"I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism," he said.
"We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened. 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.
He also unveiled a new state program in Texas to improve housing for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Housing4TexasHeroes program will build and rehabilitate housing to accommodate the special physical needs of vets.
Perry was a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 to 1977.
(Edited by Karen Brooks and Jerry Norton)