Skip to comments.John Kerry's Own Words on 9/11 -- A Selection of Research (must read)
Posted on 03/31/2004 10:19:48 AM PST by jmstein7
John Kerry's Own Words on 9/11
CNN.com, September 11, 2001, Congress vows unity, reprisals for attacks
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, called the attacks "a declaration of war" that "demands a forceful response."
Added Kerry, "I have no doubt in my mind it's Osama Bin Laden."
"It's very much in keeping with the threats he has made," Kerry said. "The intelligence community has known all summer they have building up for some kind of attack."
Kerry said a number of attempted attacks, or plans for attacks, have been"thwarted" this summer. He said he was briefed by CIA Director George Tenet on this a few weeks ago.
CNN LARRY KING LIVE 21:00 September 11, 2001 Tuesday
KING: Senator Kerry did your -- did you committee on international opertions and terrorism ever actually fear something like this?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Absolutely. Absolutely. But let me join John and I know all my colleagues in just expressing -- I think all of us here in Washington are feeling in very personal ways the loss of what's happened here. I know that I had one friend I know of already on that plane from Boston, and I dread the learning of perhaps others. But for thousands of families tonight, there is just a huge loss, and I think in every American there's a sense -- there's a fury, an intense, burning fury about this and a determination to do what is right about it.
We have always known this could happen. We've warned about it. We've talked about it. I regret to say, as -- I served on the Intelligence Committee up until last year. I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800, we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing hard work of responding.
We need to do that now and I'm confident that the size of this, the nature of this loss and the nature of this attack are going to motivate everybody to come together to do that. And I think that's imperative. And we also, I think, Larry -- I was heartened by the president's comments tonight. We need to make certain that those countries that sponsor terrorism, that support it, that harbor these fugitive are as much a part of the problem as those who engage in the terrorist acts themselves. And we need to make certain as a country we respond to that. Boldly and bravely -- not recklessly -- but boldly.
KERRY: There are three ways to pursue it, Larry. One is multi- laterally, which takes more time. That's the way George Bush, the father, did it in the Gulf War. You can do it bilaterally, you and another nation. You can you reach an agreement. You can work together. And you can do it unilaterally when the circumstances call for it.
I personally believe this is a circumstance because of the nature of it. As Dianne says, many have said today this is an act of war. The difficulty is, unlike Pearl Harbor, this is a stealth enemy.
Japan was identifiable. We knew where to find them ultimately, you know, after chasing around and we could identify. Here, we know pretty much. I mean, there's had a great certainty among many people about where the fingers point. But ultimately, we don't want to be a terrorist ourselves.
We have to do what we do with the knowledge and the certainty that we can determine, but we must be prepared, absolutely, to move unilaterally if we need to, to protect the honor and the civility that we stand for. And I think everybody in this country would support that based on the proper response with the proper information.
The Boston Herald, September 12, 2001
Kerry said he shared the feelings of bitterness and anger that so many Americans are now feeling.
"I feel so frustrated and so angry," said Kerry. "The ultimate lesson here is that no one will make Americans prisoners. We're gonna come back and find these perpetrators. I think whoever did this will find, to their great regret, that they have awakened a sleeping giant."
Hardball with Chris Matthews: Attack on America, Sept. 12, 2001
MATTHEWS: Isn't our enemy, Senator Kerry, those who want to hurt us, the particular terrorists after us, like bin Laden?
Senator JOHN KERRY (Foreign Relations Committee): Well, he's an enemy. He's been an enemy declared to us since 1989. He's under indictment by the United States of America for his role in the bombings and the terrorist activities against us already. So the answer is yes, but--but there are very few organizations with the structure and capacity to do what happened yesterday. We know who those organizations are, we know who supports them, Chris. And I think the message now from the United States is that there's no leeway, there's no cover, there's no halfway measure by these other countries. You're either going to part of the solution and you help us to uncover and root out these terrorist activities, or you're part of the problem, and--and you begin to pay part of the price. And today, what happened with the United--with the NATO vote, Article 5, where our NATO allies have joined us in saying, 'An attack on the United States is an attack on us,' is a very significant first step in moving to pull together China, Russia and others to support what we do down the road.
MATTHEWS: Speaking of our level of commitment and the level of commitment for those who are against this terrorism, if we discover that bin Laden is responsible for this attack on the World Trade tower and on the Pentagon, should we try to kill him?
Sen. KERRY: It's legitimately part of the right of the United States to defend itself. That is what we tried to do previously, and we were unsuccessful. So it fits under the international rights that we have as a matter of self defense.
MATTHEWS: To go after him?
Sen. KERRY: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: If that is the case and you accept that as a broad definition, are we, in effect, going after Afghanistan if we go after bin Laden, Senator Kerry?
Sen. KERRY: If it is--if they are unwilling to cooperate, and if it is proven they are indeed linked in a state-sponsored way, or otherwise harboring him...
MATTHEWS: And they let him live there.
Sen. KERRY: They have until this date, which is precisely why I said on the floor of the Senate today, we know who does it, we should demand of them that they turn him over, and if they have that power and don't do it, then we should proceed, under the color of law--John is absolutely correct--look, the United States, who is defending civilization here, does not want to suddenly become uncivilized in fighting those people we say are uncivilized.
We have some standards to live up to, but we should not allow a--a sort of legal cloud to get in the way of the military concept of this. That was not a hijacking yesterday that hit a--a--a target accidentally. That was a human bomb. That was a bomb, a missile, a--a weapon of war that was targeted specifically against the United States of America. And--and we can't have the rhetoric, Chris, that on the one hand says, 'Oh, everything has changed because of this. This was an act of war, and life has changed in America, and we're going to stamp out terrorism,' and the next act put--put barriers in front of our ability to defend ourselves. I believe we want to do it under the color of law.
Sen. KERRY: I think we should do everything possible to move multilaterally and to do it with certainty in a way that--that will pass muster, if you will, internationally. But we should not be hampered in our ability to defend ourselves, and we should proceed unilaterally, if in the end that is the only way we can protect the national security interests of the country.
MATTHEWS: What about if all--if we all go through this kind of scrutiny, Senator, then we all have to get to the plane earlier. Now, everybody in this--everybody--and you three know how get to the plane late because you have to run around like nuts sometimes. How do we get people to come to the airport--they always say, 'Please come two hours ahead.' Nobody comes two hours ahead. But if you did--you'd have to to go through this screening you're talking about.
Sen. KERRY: Well, it--if you have that kind of screening. But, you know, there's a much larger issue here, Chris, which Washington has not yet confronted, and that is what is it really going to take to fight a, quote, "war against terrorism"? And people are throwing the terms around right now without the full consideration. As John McCain and Max Cleland and I and others know pretty well, the first strike in war is rarely the last strike. The first bullets fired are not the last, and it's generally not the worst event. And so we need to be prepared that if we're going to do what I believe all of us think we have to do, this is a longer haul, and it's going to carry its risks. So we are going to have to be prepared for much tougher process in public places, airports, security, and people are going to have to get used to it, and some of the thing that have traditionally governed how we approach this balance of--of sort of personal access, etc., under that kind of footing is going to be subject to tests.
MATTHEWS: We have two reasons why people in the Mideast may not like us, if it turns out it is bin Laden, and everyone is saying it is. One, we're the western culture, we have different--the different attitudes toward women and their rights. We have different attitudes towards dress, towards life. Our religions are different in many cases. We're also very supportive of Israel, generally, in this country. Neither of those are going to change in our lifetimes, so we're going to have enemies in certain part--in the Mideast.
Sen. KERRY: Of course, we are.
MATTHEWS: There are a certain percentage of people who are going to say, 'We don't like your values. We don't like your friends.' How do we deal with that fact? This is a long-term problem.
Sen. KERRY: Well, they have a right--they have a right to do that, Chris, but they don't have a right to come and attack our country because we have that difference, and we don't do that to them. No country on the face of this planet has expended the kind of treasure we have in the effort to make peace, win territory back for people to be free, free to choose. And what we offer in this country is hopefully--I mean, we fight it still, we struggle in our own country to provide the full measure of civil tolerance, the full measure of civil rights.
MATTHEWS: Well, why were they dancing in the streets in the West Bank yesterday?
Sen. KERRY: Because there are people who hate us. And we have to be...
MATTHEWS: So Yasser Arafat says all the right things yesterday, but his people are dancing in the streets.
Sen. KERRY: Chris, behind the scenes they haven't changed. Their charter, their newspapers preach hatred. I've never met a two-year-old kid who hates. But these kids have been taught to hate, as John says and as we know. And the Palestinian leadership has not worked to prepare their people for the potential of peace.
Sen. McCAIN: In fact...
Sen. KERRY: That's why they were unable to move.
MATTHEWS: Let's--let's talk about America's predicament, day after, this is D-day plus whatever. One--you know, we watch Israel as third parties. We've watched the hell they go through. They--they maybe knock off a leader, a terrorist leader, and then a couple days later a suicide guy comes into a restaurant or a pizzeria in Jerusalem and blows himself up, and 30 people are dead, and it goes on and on. The dynamic is there: terrorism, retaliation, more radicalization of the people, more terrorism, more--more recruits for terrorism. How do we avoid, what you said a moment ago, avoiding the next strike, our first strike being the--the--the ignition key to a long series of back and forths that don't end?
Sen. KERRY: I think the dynamics in the Middle East are frankly a little bit different, and I think there are things that can be done on both sides that can ultimately change them, Chris. But the fact is that Ronald Reagan changed the dynamic with Libya and the United States, and I think the whole game changed yesterday. It may even have changed for Israel. It may be that Israel has now been given a permissiveness it didn't have before because the world will understand in a different way what's been happening. I don't know about that. I do believe that there is a road to peace in the Middle East. I also believe there's a road to understanding here. But if--if terrorists are going to single us out, attack us on our land, I mean, you know, the attack on Hawaii was not the continental United States. This attack is the continental United States, the most serious attack on our borders, I think, in our history.
MATTHEWS: You're talking about a surgical response, right, gentlemen? Nobody here is talking about kind of a--a punitive raid. Israel has been very careful through its many years of history, since '48, of avoiding any kind of a bloodbath. There's no (unintelligible). There's certainly no--except for the case where they had Shatila, where it was certainly participatory with the--with the Lebanese militia. But the Israeli government--both governments, Lub--Likud and Labor have made point of never going out and just killing a bunch of people. That's what we have to avoid here, isn't it?
Sen. KERRY: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Senator Kerry?
Sen. KERRY: People are angry, people are grief stricken, but they know this country has had an injury done to it unlike any they've ever experienced or in history, and they want us to do what's--what's correct to make it right. They don't want us to go off half-cocked, and I agree with John, I think there's a measure here of how we do this so that it is strong and bold but not reckless, and so that it takes the ground that the United States of America properly wants to take to set an example for how you--how you behave.
MATTHEWS: Do you think this is going to be cause for us to be more--to be more anti-Arab in that Mideast conflict than we are already?
Sen. KERRY: Chris, I--I...
MATTHEWS: As you hear these incidents today--you've all heard about them, people have been beat up and stuff like that.
Sen. KERRY: But I think it is so important to recognize--I mean, this is going to be difficult for us in America. We have a lot of good American citizens who are Arab-Americans. We have a lot of people in this country who practice Muslim faith, and they're outraged by what happened. And so we're going to have to be very careful not to repeat some of the mistakes we made during the course of World War II where we isolated people, we now pay reparations. It is difficult. This is not going to be easy. But the United States needs to makes make certain that we are clear about who the target is and clear about taking action that is appropriated. I am for a very, very strong response to this, but it still must be appropriate to the target and to the goal.
Federal News Service September 12, 2001, Wednesday
REMARKS BY SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D-MA) ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE (public domain)
SEN. KERRY: Madame President, I thank the chair. I thank my colleague.
Madame President, never in the time that I've been here, and perhaps in modern history of the Senate, have any of us come to the floor with such a weight as today, with our hearts literally heavy and aching with the pain of what we have witnessed and what we know so many families are experiencing today, and also with a sense of outrage.
The loss of every innocent citizen, every single person who went to work expecting a normal day; every police officer who put themselves into harm's way; of every fireman who tried to save a life and lost their own, and in the astonishing number of their loss, experience a breach in their special brotherhood and sisterhood that can never be healed; the loss of emergency personnel; these losses are felt by all of us in a very special, personal and searing way.
It's also fair to say that we are all of us heavy with a deep feeling of outrage and resentment, resentment for the killing of our innocent citizens, for the attack against our country, and for the fear and the panic that we saw in the faces and voices of our people -- children crying, parents, wives, brothers, sons and daughters waiting for word.
Yesterday I was on the phone to the husband and daughter of a woman, a friend lost at the second flight to penetrate the World Trade Center. The pain and depth of loss in their voices was excruciating, and the helplessness to do anything but to share that pain and offer comfort brought an even deeper sense of anger and of resolve for the acts that have occurred.
But it is also critical that all of us remember, as we talk about responses and war against terrorism, that our rhetoric be matched by our actions. If indeed there is a war against terrorism, I remind my colleagues that in a war, the first shots are never the last. The first strike is never the worst. What happened yesterday was terrible and horrendous, but we must prepare ourselves and steel ourselves for the possibility of worse until we achieve our goal.
And to do that, we have to be more prepared than we are today, and we have to take the fight wherever we need to and in ways that we are frankly not yet prepared to. I will say from personal experience that when you're in a war, you don't throw money at the enemy; it's bullets or other actions that are real.
We cannot guarantee that some fanatic is not going to find a way to upset the civilized order.
But we can guarantee that anyone facilitating or associated with such an act will pay the highest price. There are few organizations that could achieve what happened yesterday. We know who they are, we know who supports them, and we should demand that those people cooperate with us in making them -- in turning them over to us.
And finally, it is important for the world to see that we will go back immediately to the business of a great democracy. We must all of us be back at the work of our nation. We must show that our effort to build a better country goes on. The mission of educating our children for full citizenship goes on. The job of making our country stronger goes on.
And I believe that one of the first things we should commit to as a country, with federal help, that underscores our nation's purpose, is to rebuild the towers of the World Trade Center and to show the world that we are not afraid; we are defiant. To those who might say why create another target, the answer is simple. If we are indeed at war with terrorism, there is no shortage of targets in the United States. There is a White House, and a Capitol, and countless other tall buildings. This is not a question of targets, it is a question of strength and of our national resolve to stand up and show our strength. And that is the best monument we could build to those who died yesterday.
In Massachusetts, Madame President, we particularly grieve and feel the full measure of what happened yesterday. Two of those flights came out of our airport. Many of those people on those flights -- the vast majority of them -- came from our state. And so to all of those who currently await word, or those who know because of the nature of the flights, we extend our deepest condolences, and we grieve together as citizens of Massachusetts and of this great country.
I thank the chair.
Odd, that Kerry should mention TWA 800 on a list of terror activities.
If the dateline of September 11, 2001 is correct, those words might come around to bite him in the ass...
THIS RIGHT HERE OBLITERATES RICHARD CLARKE AND HIS LIES
So Kerry is really happy as a clam with President Bush then? Because this is precisely what the President has done! So glad to know that Kerry believes in the soverignty of America and isn't an UN-suck-up-internationalist after all.
Prairie (do I need the sarcasm tag?)
But let me say one other thing we need to do, and some people will not probably appreciate this, but I think it's an honest statement of what the United States needs to do. Globalization and technology have changed the perception of the United States in the world. And there are many of us who feel that we have not been doing enough or sensitive enough to the way in which we are perceived by many countries. We need to not only be tough here, we need to not only respond and ferret out Osama bin Laden, but we need to also listen. We need to also be thoughtful in some of the policies so that we can build friendships and build relationships around the globe and not be alienating quite as many people as we have, I think.
From September 16, 2001. Kerry blames the US for the attacks. We weren't sensitive enough to other countries.
George Stephanopolous also refered to the "TWA Flight 800 Bombing" on TV one day but none of the news professionals caught it or questioned him about it.
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