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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-04 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. These defenses

The Massachusetts senator has stood by his vote last fall for the Iraq resolution in the face of criticism from anti-war Democrats and rival Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor who opposed the U.S.-led war. Kerry qualified his support Monday, saying it was the correct vote "based on the information that we were given."

"The president promised to build the international coalition, to do this as a matter of last resort, to go through the United Nations process and respect it," he said. "And in the end, it is clear now that he didn't do that sufficiently. And I think in that regard, the American people were let down."

Kerry said he voted for the resolution with the understanding that the administration would build an international coalition before attacking Saddam Hussein's forces.

"It seems quite clear to me that the president circumvented that process, shortchanged it and did not give full meaning to the words 'last resort,"' Kerry said in a 20-minute conference call with reporters.

"He talked about keeping Americans safe, but has too often practiced a blustering unilateralism that is wrong, and even dangerous, for our country. He talked about holding Saddam Hussein accountable, but has too often ignored opportunities to unify the world against this brutal dictator." 01/28/2003 Response to President Bush's State of the Union

"I firmly believe that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator who must be disarmed. But I also believe that a heavy-handed approach will leave us to carry the burden almost alone. That's why I was one of the first Democrats to speak up and urge President Bush to go to the United Nations - because even a country as great as the United States needs some friends in this world.

The President says that war should be a last resort. He says it; I mean it -- because I know the cost of war. I have seen it with my own eyes. If I am commander in chief, I won't just have the perspective that comes from sitting in the Situation Room. I'll have the perspective that comes from serving on the front lines. And I tell you this: the United States should never go to war because it wants to; it should go to war only because it has to."

I am here today to reject the narrow vision of those who would build walls to keep the world out, or who would prefer to strike out on our own instead of forging coalitions and step by step creating a new world of law and mutual security.

I believe the Bush Administration's blustering unilateralism is wrong, and even dangerous, for our country. In practice, it has meant alienating our long-time friends and allies, alarming potential foes and spreading anti-Americanism around the world.

Too often they've forgotten that energetic global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries. Leading the world's most advanced democracies isn't mushy multilateralismit amplifies America's voice and extends our reach. Working through global institutions doesn't tie our handsit invests US aims with greater legitimacy and dampens the fear and resentment that our preponderant power sometimes inspires in others.

In a world growing more, not less interdependent, unilateralism is a formula for isolation and shrinking influence. As much as some in the White House may desire it, America can't opt out of a networked world. We can do better than we are doing today. And those who seek to lead have a duty to offer a clear vision of how we make Americans safer and make America more trusted and respected in the world. 01/23/2003

"I find myself angered, saddened and dismayed by the situation in which this nation finds itself tonight. As the world's sole superpower in an increasingly hostile and dangerous world, our government's obligation to protect the security of the United States and the law abiding nations of the world could not be more clear, particularly in the aftermath of September 11.

Yet the Administration's handling of the run up to war with Iraq could not possibly have been more inept or self-defeating. President Bush has clumsily and arrogantly squandered the post 9/11 support and goodwill of the entire civilized world in a manner that will make the jobs ahead of us -- both the military defeat and the rebuilding of Iraq -- decidedly more expensive in every sense of that word.

Even having botched the diplomacy, it is the duty of any President, in the final analysis, to defend this nation and dispel the security threats - threats both immediate and longer term - against it. Saddam Hussein has brought military action upon himself by refusing for twelve years to comply with the mandates of the United Nations. The brave and capable men and women of our armed forces and those who are with us will quickly, I know, remove him once and for all as a threat to his neighbors, to the world, and to his own people, and I support their doing so.

My strong personal preference would have been for the Administration -- like the Administration of George Bush, Sr. -- to have given diplomacy more time, more commitment, a real chance of success. In my estimation, giving the world thirty additional days for additional real multilateral coalition building -- a real summit, not a five hour flyby with most of the world's powers excluded -- would have been prudent and no impediment to our military situation, an assessment with which our top military brass apparently agree. Unfortunately, that is an option that has been disregarded by President Bush." Statement of Senator John Kerry Regarding President Bush's Announcement on Iraq 03/18/2003

In back-to-back speeches, the senators, John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said they had come to their decisions after the administration agreed to pursue diplomatic solutions and work with the United Nations to forestall a possible invasion.

"I will vote yes," said Mr. Kerry, a possible presidential candidate in 2004, "because on the question of how best to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, the administration, including the president, recognizes that war must be our last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we should be acting in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein."

Mr. Hagel said the administration should not interpret his support or that of others as an endorsement of the use of pre-emptive force to press ideological disagreements.

"Because the stakes are so high, America must be careful with her rhetoric and mindful of how others perceive her intentions," Mr. Hagel said. "Actions in Iraq must come in the context of an American-led, multilateral approach to disarmament, not as the first case for a new American doctrine involving the pre-emptive use of force."

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