John Kerry's Quotes on Iraq
|January 11, 1991: Sen. John Kerry, [Congressional Record, p. S251]:
"Mr. President, I believe such thinking is dangerous, and I believe it is flawed because it requires us to surrender the most important responsibility of the Congress: The power to make war. This is not a vote about sending a message. That message was already on the table. This is a vote about whether or not to put ourselves in a smaller box where war may become more likely, whether it needs to or not, and where we will have nothing further to say about it. For us in Congress now, this is not a vote about a message. It is a vote about war because whether or not the President exercises his power, we will have no further say after this vote. But voting to keep sanctions and diplomacy is not a vote against war if all other options fail because we continue to hold that lever in our hands."
|November 9, 1997: John Kerry's speech on the floor of the Senate, [Congressional Record, p. S12256]:
"We must recognize that there is no indication that Saddam Hussein has any intention of relenting. So we have an obligation of enormous consequence, an obligation to guarantee that Saddam Hussein cannot ignore the United Nations. He cannot be permitted to go unobserved and unimpeded toward his horrific objective of amassing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a matter about which there should be any debate whatsoever in the Security Council, or, certainly, in this Nation. If he remains obdurate, I believe that the United Nations must take, and should authorize immediately, whatever steps are necessary to force him to relent--and that the United States should support and participate in those steps.
We must not presume that these conclusions automatically will be accepted by every one of our allies, some of which have different interests both in the region and elsewhere, or will be of the same degree of concern to them that they are to the U.S. But it is my belief that we have the ability to persuade them of how serious this is and that the U.N. must not be diverted or bullied." (Source: thomas.loc.gov) [full text]
|November 12, 1997: John Kerry on CNNs Crossfire with John Sununu
Well, John, you're correct that this resolution is less than we would have liked. I don't think anybody can deny that we would have liked it to have threatened force and we would have liked it to carry the term serious consequences will flow. On the other hand, the coalition is together. I mean, the fact is there is a unanimous statement by the security council and the United Nations that there has to be immediate, unrestricted, unconditional access to the sites. That's very strong language. And it also references the underlying resolution on which the use of force is based. So clearly the allies may not like it, and I think that's our great concern -- where's the backbone of Russia, where's the backbone of France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity -- but in a sense, they're now climbing into a box and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq (Source: U.S. Newswire)
"The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war." (Source: U.S. Newswire)
Well, John, frankly neither you nor I know that we did nothing. I dont know that for a fact. We certainly didnt publicly, I agree, but I dont know that we did nothing. But its not the first time France has been very difficult, as the congressman said. I think a lot of us are very disappointed that the French havent joined us in a number of other efforts with respect to China, with respect to other issues in Asia and elsewhere and also in Europe. (Source: WorldNetDaily.com)
|September 3, 1998: Sen. John Kerry, Committee On Armed Services And Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Joint Hearing
So weve got a major set of choices to make here. And wed better make them. Weve been sliding into a fundamental policy of containment, which I share with Major Ritter the notion is disastrous to our overall proliferation interests and disastrous with respect to the Middle East and our interests with respect to Saddam Hussein and Iraq . But we have to make a decision whether were prepared to do what is necessary, and I mean to the point of a sustained targeting of the regime; not the Iraqi people, but the regime.
|September 23, 2001: John Kerry on CBS Face The Nation
BORGER: Do we have any information that chemical and biological attacks were part of this [September 11th]? We got news this morning about the crop-dusting manuals.
Sen. KERRY: No, at least I don't and not to my knowledge do any of my colleagues. But it is something that we know--for instance, Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and there is some evidence of their [terrorists] efforts to try to secure these kinds of weapons and even test them. That's why it's so vital that we get the global community to be part of this effort to begin to make their [terrorists] lives miserable. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|December 11, 2001: John Kerry on Fox News The OReilly Factor
KERRY: I think we ought to put the heat on Saddam Hussein. I've said that for a number of years, Bill. I criticized the Clinton administration for backing off of the inspections when Ambassador Butler was giving us strong evidence that we needed to continue. I think we need to put the pressure on no matter what the evidence is about September 11. (Source: jim geraghty)
O'REILLY: How would you put enough pressure on him to open up inspections again?
KERRY: Well, I'll reinvigorate that process as step number one, and I think the administration is now suddenly starting to move in that direction. I think you have to work our allies sufficiently to pull that component of the effort back together. But the second thing I would do, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it, is back opposition more openly, and do it in a way that begins to put a counterinsurgency in the country itself... The important thing is that Saddam Hussein and the world knows that we think Saddam Hussein is essentially out of synch with the times. He is and has acted like a terrorist, and he has engaged in activities that are unacceptable.
O'REILLY: But I -- you know, I still don't see the hammer that's going to convince him to open anything up.
KERRY: The hammer, ultimately, will be the evidence that we uncover as we go further down the trail that shows his support for terrorism and begins to build the coalition even more strongly. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|December 14, 2001: John Kerry on CNNs Larry King Live
KING: What about enhancing this war, Senator Kerry. What are your thoughts on going on further than Afghanistan, all terrorist places.
KERRY: Oh, I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. And I think the president has made that clear. I think we have made that clear. Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue, for instance, Saddam Hussein. I think we . . .
KING: We should go to Iraq?
KERRY: Well, that -- what do you and how you choose to do it, we have a lot of options. Absent smoking gun evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the immediate events of September 11, the president doesn't have the authorization to proceed forward there. But we clearly are he ought to proceed to put pressure on him with respect to the weapons of mass destruction. I think we should be supporting an opposition. There are other ways for us, clandestinely and otherwise, to put enormous pressure on him and I think we should do it. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|February 5, 2002: John Kerry on MSNBCs Hardball with Chris Matthews
MATTHEWS: Do you think that the problem we have with Iraq is real and it can be reduced to a diplomatic problem? Can we get this guy to accept inspections of his weapons of mass destruction, potentially, and get past a possible war with him?
KERRY: Outside chance, Chris. Could it be done? The answer is yes. But he would view himself only as buying time and playing a game, in my judgment. Do we have to go through that process? The answer is yes. We're precisely doing that. And I think that's what Colin Powell did today...
MATTHEWS: Call his bluff.
KERRY: Well, if it is a bluff. I think you have to begin there, no matter what. Whether Saddam Hussein began that process today or we begin it, you have to put the challenge of the inspections on the line. Why? Because that's the outstanding issue unresolved from the war. That's what he agreed to do, and that's where we left off with Ambassador Butler and his -- his rejecting it. I mean, it's astounding to me, frankly, that our country, as well as the United Nations, have allowed these years to go by with...
KERRY: ... with just a simple stonewalling. It's just amazing.
MATTHEWS: Well, good boys don't -- good guys, as you know, don't always win. And for all those years after the Persian Gulf war, President Bush and the world tried to get this guy -- this guy -- having let him off the hook in 1991, to make sure he didn't produce any weapons of mass destruction. The world got bored. The world got weak. They softened up. We stuck to it. Eventually we -- under President Clinton, we pulled back. What assures you now we have the -- the toughness to go in and insist on weapons inspections?
KERRY: September 11. That's it, September 11. I mean, that's changed the dynamic of this country, and I think people's perceptions of what people are willing to do. And when you look at what we've been finding in Afghanistan, when you look at what our intelligence community is laying on the table for us in the Senate and the House to contemplate, there's no question in my mind that Saddam Hussein has to be dealt with. Now, the question is how? I don't think it begins with a military invasion at all. I don't think that even has to be on the table. I believe his regime -- he can be overthrown. I think it can happen internally. I think a lot of people are prepared to help. And I think we have to begin that process.
MATTHEWS: If the president called you in and briefed you, and said, "As the senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I'm going to tell you something. Tomorrow morning, we're going in big into Baghdad. We're going to drop 50,000 troops in there. We're coming in with heavy armaments. We're going to take that guy out. We're going to remove that government, put in one that -- that we like, like we did in Afghanistan," what would you say?
KERRY: Tomorrow morning?
KERRY: If he was going to do it tomorrow morning?
KERRY: I'd say, "I think you're making a mistake, Mr. President, just to do it that way. I think we can do it without that kind of risk or loss of life or with the down side that might occur with respect to other relationships we have in the region." I mean, we have Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the crisis with Israel-Palestinian relations at this moment, the peace process, lack thereof and, of course, the very fragile situation for Jordan. That's just not a wise first move. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|May 22, 2002: John Kerry on Fox News The OReilly Factor
O'REILLY: One of the reasons many in Europe are angry with the United States, as we said, is that it is clear President Bush is going to go after Saddam Hussein. And Senator Kerry, who is one of the few people on the Hill who felt that the Gulf War in 1991 could have been handled a little bit differently. He voted against the military action because he wanted more time for Americans to come together about the war and things like that. Senator Kerry joins us now from Washington. The ambassador to Germany is basically saying what most people in Europe are saying, senator. They're afraid. They're afraid that if we go after Saddam Hussein, and all the Arabs get crazy, and the whole thing blows up, that Europe's going to take the brunt of this. I said you can't negotiate with tyrants out of fear. How do you feel about it?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I agree with you.
I think we've all reached a judgment that obviously the United States has to protect our national security interests. And we have to do what we think is right. I do think the European demonstrations are larger than just Iraq. I think they're concerned about other issues, like global warming. They're concerned about proliferation. They're concerned about -- I mean, there are a whole host of issues. So I think it's a more confused bag than just Iraq, but I think they're wrong on Iraq. I mean, plain and simply, the United States will have to do what we need to do, and our best judgment to protect our national security. And quite frankly, if we do what we need to do, it will also wind up protecting Europe.
O'REILLY: Yes, I mean, that's right. And Europe has lost a lot of credibility. Let's face it. .. we're carrying the ball for these people time and time and time again.
KERRY: I think a lot of Americans feel that way. And I think a lot of Europeans are -- I mean, I've talked to many people over there, who wish the leadership was more willing to stand up on this. I think -- you know, there is a sense that the United States acts unilaterally sometimes. I think there's an envy. One can feel that envy. A lack of consultation. There was even in Kosovo a very significant backlash because of the degree to which the United States had to lead. And even the members of NATO felt somewhat disgruntled by the fact that even within NATO, they weren't able to, in a sense, keep up. So I think there's a certain amount of backlash from all of our success. What we need to do is manage that effectively. And I think some of the other initiatives that we haven't been frankly been very good on, like global warming, are not handling it very effectively. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|June 23, 2002: John Kerry on NBC, "Meet the Press"
"The Taliban are not the target. They were a collateral target. The target is and always has been al-Qaeda. And al-Qaeda, a thousand strong, was gathered in one single mountain area, Tora Bora, and we turned to Afghans, who a week earlier had been fighting for the other side, and said, "Hey, you guys go up there in the mountains and go after the world's number-one terrorist and criminal who just killed 3,000-plus Americans." I think that was an enormous mistake. I think the Tora Bora operation was a failed military operation, which resulted then in Anaconda, which also did not do the job. And the fact is that the prime target, al-Qaeda, has dispersed and in many ways is more dangerous than it was when it was in the mountains of Tora Bora." (Source: johnkerry.com)
|July 29, 2002: Senator John Kerry, Speech To The 2002 DLC National Conversation, New York, NY
I agree completely with this Administrations goal of a regime change in Iraq Saddam Hussein is a renegade and outlaw who turned his back on the tough conditions of his surrender put in place by the United Nations in 1991. (Source: jim geraghty)
|September 6, 2002: John Kerry, Op-Ed, "We Still Have A Choice On Iraq," The New York Times
"If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act."
|September 15, 2002: John Kerry on CBS Face The Nation
I would disagree with John McCain that it's the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it's what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel. Those are the things that--that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It's the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat. But I also think--and--and this is another very--you haven't heard this, I think, in the course of the last week, we cannot allow this discussion of Iraq to hide the original purpose of our mobilization, which is Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, and we particularly cannot allow it to shift off of the debate in this country a huge number of unattended issues. Our economy is hurting badly. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|October 9, 2002: Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, p. S10170-S10175
"With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?
"Does he do all of these things because he wants to live by international standards of behavior? Because he respects international law? Because he is a nice guy underneath it all and the world should trust him?
"It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world. He has as much as promised it. He has already created a stunning track record of miscalculation. He miscalculated an 8-year war with Iran. He miscalculated the invasion of Kuwait. He miscalculated America's responses to it. He miscalculated the result of setting oil rigs on fire. He miscalculated the impact of sending Scuds into Israel. He miscalculated his own military might. He miscalculated the Arab world's response to his plight. He miscalculated in attempting an assassination of a former President of the United States. And he is miscalculating now America's judgments about his miscalculations.
"All those miscalculations are compounded by the rest of history. A brutal, oppressive dictator, guilty of personally murdering and condoning murder and torture, grotesque violence against women, execution of political opponents, a war criminal who used chemical weapons against another nation and, of course, as we know, against his own people, the Kurds. He has diverted funds from the Oil-for-Food program, intended by the international community to go to his own people. He has supported and harbored terrorist groups, particularly radical Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal, and he has given money to families of suicide murderers in Israel."
"In the wake of September 11, who among us can say, with any certainty, to anybody, that those weapons might not be used against our troops or against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater--a nuclear weapon--then reinvade Kuwait, push the Kurds out, attack Israel, any number of scenarios to try to further his ambitions to be the pan-Arab leader or simply to confront in the region, and once again miscalculate the response, to believe he is stronger because he has those weapons?" (Source: thomas.loc.gov) [full text]
|October 10, 2002: John Kerry on MSNBCs Hardball
I believe the record of Saddam Husseins ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force if necessary.
|November 10, 2002: Boston Globe
Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that "a failure of diplomacy of a massive order" by the Bush administration has left the country on the brink of war with Iraq, with an unnecessarily small group of fighting partners, facing criticism from the United Nations and longstanding allies, and without the strongest possible support of the American people.
"It's the way they have conducted the diplomacy that has compounded this problem, split the UN, split the NATO, left the world wondering with questions, engaged in a more preemptive effort than was necessary," Kerry said. "We could have moved from a position of strength, in my judgment, and I think it represents a failure of diplomacy of a massive order, and that is what war is: War is the failure of diplomacy." (Source: johnkerry.com)
|November 14, 2002: Washington Post
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a likely presidential candidate, said the tape "certainly underscores the incompleteness of that task." Alluding to criticism from some Democrats that Bush is able to focus on only one task at a time, Kerry said the bin Laden tape "certainly heightens suspicions that they are overfocused on one [Iraq] and made mistakes on the other." (Source: johnkerry.com)
|January 24, 2003: Chicago Tribune
"They are really breaking a bond with the American people by proceeding so hell-bent-for-leather, we've-got-to-go, no matter what," he said, "rather than doing the proper kind of diplomatic background of education that gives them legitimacy."
Kerry argued that the Bush administration must try harder to build a consensus among world leaders before trying to topple the Iraqi regime. He said Bush also should bolster any case for war by telling Americans why the threat from Hussein is urgent. "I believe Saddam Hussein is a threat," the senator said. "I do not want to tolerate this man, unfettered, unrestricted, developing weapons of mass destruction. But I do not believe the threat is so imminent today that we have to rush to war." (Source: johnkerry.com)
|January 24, 2003: Los Angeles Times
While calling for the United Nations to intensify pressure on Iraq to disarm, Kerry urged Bush to give more time to the U.N. inspections process that the administration has increasingly condemned as inadequate. "The United States should never go to war because it wants to; the United States should go to war because we have to," Kerry said at Georgetown University. "And we don't have to until we have exhausted the remedies available, built legitimacy and earned the consent of the American people, absent, of course, an imminent threat requiring urgent action."
|January 31, 2003: On Iraq, Kerry Appears Either Torn Or Shrewd, by Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times. John Kerry said:
If You Dont Believe . . . Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldnt vote for me.
|March 14, 2003: John Kerry's speech to the California State Democratic Convention
All of us know that just days from now our country may be at war with Iraq. If war comes then we must and will unite behind the brave young Americans who are risking their lives. 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. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|March 16, 2003: Los Angeles Times
"I know what it is like to fight in a war when you lose legitimacy and consent," Kerry said. "And I believe the United States should never go to war without that legitimacy, without that consent." After a key applause line in Kerry's stump speech -- "The United States of America should never go to war because it wants to; we should go to war because we have to" -- a person in the crowd shouted: "Then why did you vote for it?" (Source: johnkerry.com)
|August 31, 2003: John Kerry on NBC, "Meet the Press"
MR. RUSSERT: By voting in October the way you did, contrary to what your colleague Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts voted, who said it was in effect giving the president too much authority, yielding our constitutional authority to the Senate to declare war. Robert Byrd, a Democrat, said it was giving the president a blank check. Do you regret giving the president authority way back in October of 2002?
SEN. KERRY: Tim, I have enormous respect for both Senator Kennedy, my friend and my colleague, who I'm proud is supporting me in this race, and Robert Byrd, who's one of the most eloquent, capable people in the Senate. But let me tell you this. I disagree with them on that. The president of the United States had the inherent authority of the presidency. And if he wanted to go, he would have gone and could have gone anyway merely to protect and defend the interests of the United States. And the fact is in the resolution that we passed we did not empower the president to do regime change, we empowered him only with respect to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Now, the president, as we saw with Bill Clinton, had the power--President Clinton went to Kosovo without any authority from Congress. President Clinton went to Haiti without any authority from Congress. The president has the inherent authority, he had the authority anyway, and I believed, as Joe Biden believed, as Hillary Clinton believed, as Tom Harkin believed, and many thoughtful people, that by voting the way we did, we were getting the United Nations and the inspections in place and we could--and the president made his word to us that they would build that coalition and do it properly. The president, in my judgment, broke his word to us and to the American people and we have a difficult situation on our hands. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|September 2, 2003: John Kerry Announcement Speech
First, we must restore a foreign policy that is true to our ideals. We will defend our national security and maintain a military that is the strongest armed force on earth. But if I am president, I will never forget that even a nation as powerful as the United States of America needs to make some friends in this world, and I will do that. Overseas, George Bush has led and misled us on a course at odds with 200 years of our history. He has squandered the goodwill of the world after September 11th, and he has lost the respect and the influence that we need to make our country safe. We are seeing the peril in Iraq everyday. I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations. I believe that was right, but it was wrong to rush to war without building a true international coalition and with no plan to win the peace. So long as Iraq remains an American intervention and not an international undertaking, we will face increasing danger and mounting casualties. Being flown to an aircraft carrier and saying, "Mission accomplished" doesn't end a war. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|December 15, 2003: Fox News Special Report, Senator John Kerry said
Iraq may not be the war on terror itself, but it is critical to the outcome of the war on terror. And therefore any advance in Iraq is an advance forward in that. And I disagree with the Governor [Howard Dean].
|December 17, 2003: Dean Faces More Criticism, by Anne Q. Hoy, [New York] Newsday,
Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe we are not safer with his capture, dont have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president.
|January 6, 2004: John Kerry on MSNBCs Hardball with Chris Matthews
MATTHEWS: Do you think you belong to that category of candidates who more or less are unhappy with this war, the way it's been fought, along with General Clark, along with Howard Dean and not necessarily in companionship politically on the issue of the war with people like Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt? Are you one of the anti-war candidates?
KERRY: I am -- Yes, in the sense that I don't believe the president took us to war as he should have, yes, absolutely.Do I think this president violated his promises to America? Yes, I do, Chris. Was there a way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable? You bet there was, and we should have done it right. (Source: johnkerry.com)
|March 6, 2004: In His Words: John Kerry, The New York Times Website, www.nytimes.com
The final victory in the war on terror depends on a victory in the war of ideas, much more than the war on the battlefield. And the war - not the war, I dont want to use that terminology. The engagement of economies, the economic transformation, the transformation to modernity of a whole bunch of countries that have been avoiding the future. And that futures coming at us like it or not, in the context of terror, and in the context of failed states, and dysfunctional economies, and all that goes with that. (Source: www.nytimes.com)
|July 29, 2004: Sen. John Kerry, remarks At Democrat National Convention, Boston, MA
|August 9, 2004: John Kerry on CNN's "Inside Politics"
Response to President's question about how he would have voted if he knew then what he knows now, Kerry confirmed that he would still have voted for Use of Force Resolution.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it's the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has."
|September 20, 2004: Sen. John Kerry, remarks at New York University, New York, NY
Only a few blocks from here, three years ago, the events of September 11 reminded every American of that obligation. That day brought to our shores the defining struggle of our times: the struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism. And it made clear that our most important task is to fight . . . and to win . . . the war on terrorism.
That means we must have a great honest national debate on Iraq. The President claims it is the centerpiece of his war on terror. In fact, Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.
The President now admits to miscalculations in Iraq. That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment - and judgment is what we look for in a president. This is all the more stunning because we're not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings
major outside studies
and even some in the administration itself
predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.
We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to our security.
The President's policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America. Threats like
the increasing instability in Afghanistan.
"We know that while Iraq was a source of friction, it was not previously a source of serious disagreement with our allies in Europe and countries in the Muslim world.
Let me put it plainly: The President's policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.
Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no - because a Commander-in-Chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe.
Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the capability to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it's not a reason, it's an excuse.
In Iraq, we have a mess on our hands. But we cannot throw up our hands. We cannot afford to see Iraq become a permanent source of terror that will endanger America's security for years to come.
I believe the invasion of Iraq has made us less secure and weaker in the war against terrorism.
I would have tightened the noose and continued to pressure and isolate Saddam Hussein - who was weak and getting weaker -- so that he would pose no threat to the region or America. (Source: Washington Post and johnkerry.com)