Kerry's Position on Iraq

Hello friends,

One of my Democratic friends (he’s a recovering Democrat) directed me to There you can watch the “evolution” of Kerry’s position.

Please watch it and tell me if you are as stunned as I am.

By the way, my friend was so moved by this download that he hinted that he would either vote Nader or write me in and vote for me. I suggested the latter (I’m better.)


I’d like to know what George Bush’s plan is for Iraq?

  1. What is Bush’s strategy for victory?

  2. Why is Bush’s definition of victory (democracy in Iraq) diffferent than the military’s definition of victory (set up an Iraqi security force that will allow them to leave)?

  3. What is Bush’s exit strategy?

  4. What happened to the WMDs Bush promised we would find? Colin Powell admitted today that there is not even evidence of an Iraqi weapons PROGRAM let alone actual WMDs.

After a year and a half of occupying Iraq, at a cost of 200 billion in taxpayer dollars and 1000 US casualties, 7000 US maimed or wounded, and 10,000 dead Iraqi civilians, George Bush should have developed a clear strategy for exit… WHAT IS IT?

Why do you demand to know Kerry’s position on Iraq, but not Bush’s? Isn’t Bush the one who really needs to find a position ASAP, as our commander in chief?

NOBODY knows Bush’s strategy for VICTORY, because he still doesn’t have one!

NOBODY knows Bush’s strategy for EXIT, because he still doesn’t have one!

If you think I am wrong, then tell me Bush’s plan. This would be a real scoop! Be the first person in the world to explain Bush’s Iraq strategy!

By the way, “Staying there til we get the job done” is not a strategy.

Here’s an article that says hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were spent in Iraq, with no record keeping to prove that services we paid for were actually provided. CPA staff responsible for this waste were awarded their jobs by the White House. In many cases these people got their jobs because of nepotism and were totally unqualified to do their jobs. Would you say that the administration is spending taxpayer money responsibly?,2933,127540,00.html

First off, Gore wouldn’t of done anything about Saddam and Kerry wanting to cut our intelligence budget, maybe we could of prevented 9/11 in the first place. In war, nothing can go according to plan. Clinton should of gone after Saddam in the first place when agreements were violated:

Also, Bush is an all American guy, unlike Kerry who needs to eat at fancy restaurants all the time and sucks on his wife’s nipple for money.

Two words: Stolen Honor

Read up on the documentary. You’ll be intrigued.


Please direct me to the quotes from Colin Powell where he makes the comments you attributed to him.

As a matter of fact:

Poor Lumpy,


Here’s the problem I don’t think Bush in the beginining thought how this war was going to be fought. I believe that he thought that we would bomb the hell out them and then send our military back.

Now that the world is watching he can’t do that. So, time for plan B we have play the world politics in this now. Without the worlds support. Which is wrong.

If I want freedom I call on BUSH. If I want to be perscuted call the UN.

So what is Kerry’s position on Iraq?

Can any one of his supporters articulate it without using the word Bush or bringing in the current administration?

Senator Kerry?s position continues to evolve at varying speeds. In an
interview with Don Imus this week, it sounded like Senator Kerry was debating Howard Dean but it turns out Senator Kerry was the only guest on the show.
Even Imus was confused. After the interview Imus said, “I asked him a number of questions about Iraq and I can’t tell you what he said.”

But we don?t want to put words in Senator Kerry?s mouth. We want you to be the judge. Listen to the Imus interview or read it here and then vote.

After listening to the Imus interview I was _________ about Senator Kerry?s position on Iraq:

(9/18/2004 1:10:16 PM EDT)

Fully Befuddled (64%)

Less Confused (8%)

More Confused (28%)


In the year leading up to the Iraq war, Senator Kerry consistently viewed Saddam Hussein as a threat to the United States and “one who is and has acted like a terrorist.” (Fox News? “The O?Reilly Factor,” 12/11/01)

SEN. JOHN KERRY: “[I]t 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 efforts to try to secure these kinds of weapons and even test them.” (CBS? “Face The Nation,” 9/23/01)

“Face The Nation” 9/23/01

KERRY: “He is and has acted like a terrorist, and he has engaged in activities that are unacceptable.” (Fox News? “The O?Reilly Factor,” 12/11/01)

: “The O?Reilly Factor” 12/11/01

KERRY: “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.” (CNN?s “Larry King Live,” 12/14/01)

: “Larry King Live” 12/14/01

: “I agree completely with this Administration?s goal of a regime change in Iraq …” - John Kerry, 7/29/02 Remarks at the 2002 DLC National Conversation, NY (Senator John Kerry, Speech To The 2002 DLC National Conversation, New York, NY, 7/29/02)

“… 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.” - John Kerry, 7/29/02 Remarks at the 2002 DLC National Conversation, NY (Senator John Kerry, Speech To The 2002 DLC National Conversation, New York, NY, 7/29/02)

CHYRON: “If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community’s already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement …” - Sen. John Kerry, Op-Ed The New York Times 9/6/02 (Sen. John Kerry, Op-Ed, “We Still Have A Choice On Iraq,” The New York Times, 9/6/02)

KERRY: “George, I said at the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.” (ABC News Democrat Presidential Candidates Debate, Columbia, SC, 5/3/03)
Democratic Debate 5/3/03

KERRY: “I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations.” (Sen. John Kerry, Remarks At Announcement Of Candidacy, Patriot?s Point, SC, 9/2/03

KERRY: “But the president and his advisors did not do almost anything correctly in the walk-up to the war. They rushed to war. They were intent on going to war. They did not give legitimacy to the inspections. We could have still been doing inspections even today, George.” (ABC?s “This Week,” 10/12/03)

LOS ANGELES TIMES? DOYLE McMANUS: “If that amendment does not pass, will you then vote against the $87 billion?” (CBS? “Face The Nation,” 9/14/03)

KERRY: “I don?t think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That?s irresponsible. What is responsible is for the administration to do this properly now. And I am laying out the way in which the administration could unite the American people, could bring other countries to the table, and I think could give the American people a sense that they?re on the right track. There?s a way to do this properly. But I don?t think anyone in the Congress is going to not give our troops ammunition, not give our troops the ability to be able to defend themselves. We?re not going to cut and run and not do the job.” (CBS? “Face The Nation,” 9/14/03)

KERRY: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it …” (Glen Johnson, “Kerry Blasts Bush On Protecting Troops,” The Boston Globe, 3/17/04)

KERRY: “I?m proud to say that John joined me in voting against that $87 billion …” (John Kerry, Remarks At “Women?s Voices: A Luncheon with John Kerry,” Boston, MA, 7/12/04)

CBS? LESLIE STAHL: “You voted for this war. Was that vote, given what you know now, a mistake?” (CBS? “60 Minutes,” 7/11/04)

KERRY: “What - what - what I voted for - Lesley, you - you - you see, you?re playing here. What - what I voted for was a - an authority for the president to go to war as a last resort if Saddam Hussein did not disarm and we needed to go to war.” (CBS? “60 Minutes,” 7/11/04)
STAHL: “But I?m trying to find out if you today, now that you know about that report, think the war was a mistake? And I …” (CBS? “60 Minutes,” 7/11/04)

KERRY: “I think I answered your question. I think the way he went to war was a mistake.” (CBS? “60 Minutes,” 7/11/04)

KERRY: “Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it’s the right authority for a president to have.” (CNN “Inside Politics,” 8/9/04)

ANd you talk about a clear policy? Why no one knows where he stand son it …And this man wants to be our next President?


Kerry’s position on the war is simple: he doesn’t have one because he CAN’T have one!

Why not? This is the tragedy of the Democratic party and the primary reason I still call myself republican: A moderate democrat like Kerry can’t really do anything too intelligent(like state a clear position on the war) because it would likely alienate either the extreme left or the moderate swing voters he’s trying so hard to reach.

The fun raising machine on the Democratic party ironically enough comes from big liberal interest groups and extremely wealthy leftist individuals(the republicans by contrast are funded mostly by “smaller” individual contributions). Moderates don’t usually donate money to political parties because neither one really truly represents their views.

So Kerry is stuck because he MUST appease his base of support for financial and political reasons, and they are against the war and want us out of there, but the majority of independant voters still favor staying the course in Iraq. Bush is stuck in a similar position just from the opposite side, hence why nobody really hears his position on the war either, or any details about his economic or health care plans.

They both throw enough out there to bait the swingers without pissing off their base, and the rest of us are left to stand around and wonder what the hell anyone really thinks.

If Kerry was smart he’d realize the radical left has nobody else to support and he’d stop worrying about pandering to them.

If they vote at all it will be for him… so stop pussyfooting around and take a stand already. Even if they don’t love his stance on the war, they’d still prefer the rest of his policy items over Bush.

Yeah, lets make Kerry tell us how he plans to get us out of this giant, embarrasing mess that Bush made based on faulty intelligence.

Oops, did I say Bush, I meant Clinton. Let’s find out how Kerry plans to fix up all the F*ups Clinton made to get us here.

Operaman is correct, and so is vroom –

However, vroom, the problem with your idea in terms of rejecting the radical left is that many of them WOULD stay home, or vote for Nader. Bush’s base seems more secure. And in a race that is fairly close, that could be the edge, which is why Kerry will continue to pander.

On Kerry’s recent speech, it seems his proposed solutions in Iraq are things Bush has tried, which didn’t work well, or Bush has proposed to try, with some minor tweaks. He has the criticism part down – all the people who have been complaining Kerry isn’t “hitting back” haven’t been paying any attention to him – all he does is criticize the President. His problem is that he doesn’t offer an alternative. On the issue of Iraq, he also has the problem that he has switched positions so completely and unconvincingly multiple times that most people have stopped listening to him on Iraq.


"If Kerry was smart he’d realize the radical left has nobody else to support and he’d stop worrying about pandering to them. If they vote at all it will be for him… "

Nonsense, the Radical Left are some of the most politically active members of society. They eat and breathe politics, they organize protests and grassroots campaigns, and they think indifference in politics is a sin. There’s no way the Radical Left, given as much as they have invested in believing Bush as the anti-Christ (or anti-Wiccan world spirit, or what have you), will sit at home and not participate. They worship democracy as a faith - they’re not going to just sit this one out.

Couple that with the fact that the Radical Left tend to vote their conscience straightaway. The Radical Left wants to pull the Democratic Party further still to their fringe, and they are perfectly content to hold their votes hostage to win the war, even if they lose the battle. Besides, Bush being in office wouldn’t be so bad for them - they thrive on anger at the establishment; without that, they don’t have much to fill their lives with. Remember, the Radical Left will do anything to be revolutionary heroes.

“…so stop pussyfooting around and take a stand already. Even if they don’t love his stance on the war, they’d still prefer the rest of his policy items over Bush”

True, but they don’t want a Republican-lite, which is what they think the Democrats are. They will continue their mission to get Leftist politics a place in American politics.

If the Radical Left was a shoo-in for Kerry, Nader wouldn’t be on the radar screen. He is.


I saw this on another forum, supposedly it’s an email from John Kerry. Some fairly specific points on Iraq in here:

Dear ------

This election is about choices. The most important choices a president makes are about protecting America at home and around the world. A president’s first obligation is to make America safer, stronger and truer to our ideals.

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.

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America’s ideals. We must reach them.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America’s strength – strong alliances, to help us stop the world’s most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America’s power – our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values – each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made and the choices I would make to fight and win the war on terror.

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.

This month, we passed a cruel milestone: more than 1,000 Americans lost in Iraq. Their sacrifice reminds us that Iraq remains, overwhelmingly, an American burden. Nearly 90 percent of the troops – and nearly 90 percent of the casualties – are American. Despite the president’s claims, this is not a grand coalition.

Our troops have served with extraordinary bravery, skill and resolve. Their service humbles all of us. When I speak to them when I look into the eyes of their families, I know this: we owe them the truth about what we have asked them to do and what is still to be done.

In June, the president declared, “The Iraqi people have their country back.” Just last week, he told us: “This country is headed toward democracy. Freedom is on the march.”

But the administration’s own official intelligence estimate, given to the president last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the president is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating, for us and for the Iraqis.

42 Americans died in Iraq in June – the month before the handover. But 54 died in July – 66 in August and already 54 halfway through September.

And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August – more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever widening war-zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times – a 400% increase.

Falluja, Ramadi, Samarra, even parts of Baghdad – are now “no go zones” – breeding grounds for terrorists who are free to plot and launch attacks against our soldiers. The radical Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in the suburbs of Baghdad.

Violence against Iraqis from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Residents of Baghdad are suffering electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day.

Raw sewage fills the streets, rising above the hubcaps of our Humvees. Children wade through garbage on their way to school.

Unemployment is over 50 percent. Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 for tossing grenades at passing U.S. convoys.

Yes, there has been some progress, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Schools, shops and hospitals have been opened. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails.

But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they’re sitting on the fence instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth – the truth that the commander in chief owes to our troops and the American people.

It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. But it’s essential if we want to correct our course and do what’s right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.

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 has said that he “miscalculated” in Iraq and that it was a “catastrophic success.” In fact, the president has made a series of catastrophic decisions from the beginning in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the president’s failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false by the president’s own weapons inspectors and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

The president also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.

He didn’t tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn’t tell us that he wouldn’t take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn’t tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn’t tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured.

And America will pay an even heavier price for the president’s lack of candor.

At home, the American people are less likely to trust this administration if it needs to summon their support to meet real and pressing threats to our security.

Abroad, other countries will be reluctant to follow America when we seek to rally them against a common menace – as they are today. Our credibility in the world has plummeted.

In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: “The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me.”

How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president, today?

This president’s failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war.

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.

This president was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq’s infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the president has held no one accountable, including himself.

In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.

General Shinseki said it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He was retired. Economic adviser Larry Lindsey said that Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion. He was fired. After the successful entry into Baghdad, George Bush was offered help from the UN – and he rejected it. He even prohibited any nation from participating in reconstruction efforts that wasn’t part of the original coalition – pushing reluctant countries even farther away. As we continue to fight this war almost alone, it is hard to estimate how costly that arrogant decision was. Can anyone seriously say this president has handled Iraq in a way that makes us stronger in the war on terrorism?

By any measure, the answer is no. Nuclear dangers have mounted across the globe. The international terrorist club has expanded. Radicalism in the Middle East is on the rise. We have divided our friends and united our enemies. And our standing in the world is at an all time low.

Think about it for a minute. Consider where we were… and where we are. After the events of September 11, we had an opportunity to bring our country and the world together in the struggle against the terrorists. On September 12, headlines in newspapers abroad declared “we are all Americans now.” But through his policy in Iraq, the president squandered that moment and rather than isolating the terrorists, left America isolated from the world.

We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to our security. It had not, as the vice president claimed, “reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

The president’s policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America.

Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this president’s watch – the emerging nuclear danger from Iran – the tons and kilotons of unsecured chemical and nuclear weapons in Russia – and the increasing instability in Afghanistan.

Today, warlords again control much of that country, the Taliban is regrouping, opium production is at an all time high and the Al Qaeda leadership still plots and plans, not only there but in 60 other nations. Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains. He slipped away. We then diverted our focus and forces from the hunt for those responsible for September 11 in order invade Iraq.

We know Iraq played no part in September 11 and had no operational ties to Al Qaeda.

The president’s policy in Iraq precipitated the very problem he said he was trying to prevent. Secretary of State Powell admits that Iraq was not a magnet for international terrorists before the war. Now it is, and they are operating against our troops. Iraq is becoming a sanctuary for a new generation of terrorists who someday could hit the United States.

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.

The president’s policy in Iraq divided our oldest alliance and sent our standing in the Muslim world into free fall. Three years after 9/11, even in many moderate Muslim countries like Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey, Osama bin Laden is more popular than the United States of America.

Let me put it plainly: The president’s policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.

Two years ago, Congress was right to give the president the authority to use force to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. This president, any president would have needed the threat of force to act effectively. This president misused that authority.

The power entrusted to the president gave him a strong hand to play in the international community. The idea was simple. We would get the weapons inspectors back in to verify whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And we would convince the world to speak with one voice to Saddam: disarm or be disarmed.

A month before the war, President Bush told the nation: “If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully. We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side and we will prevail.” He said that military action wasn’t “unavoidable.”

Instead, the president rushed to war without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work. He went without a broad and deep coalition of allies. He acted without making sure our troops had enough body armor. And he plunged ahead without understanding or preparing for the consequences of the post-war. None of which I would have done.

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. Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

I would have concentrated our power and resources on defeating global terrorism and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. 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.

The president’s insistence that he would do the same thing all over again in Iraq is a clear warning for the future. And it makes the choice in this election clear: more of the same with President Bush or a new direction that makes our troops and America safer. It is time, at long last, to ask the questions and insist on the answers from the commander in chief about his serious misjudgments and what they tell us about his administration and the president himself. If George W. Bush is re-elected, he will cling to the same failed policies in Iraq – and he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

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.

All across this country people ask me what we should do now. Every step of the way, from the time I first spoke about this in the Senate, I have set out specific recommendations about how we should and should not proceed. But over and over, when this administration has been presented with a reasonable alternative, they have rejected it and gone their own way. This is stubborn incompetence.

Five months ago, in Fulton, Missouri, I said that the president was close to his last chance to get it right. Every day, this president makes it more difficult to deal with Iraq – harder than it was five months ago, harder than it was a year ago. It is time to recognize what is – and what is not – happening in Iraq today. And we must act with urgency.

Just this weekend, a leading Republican, Chuck Hagel, said we’re “in deep trouble in Iraq … it doesn’t add up … to a pretty picture [and] … we’re going to have to look at a recalibration of our policy.” Republican leaders like Dick Lugar and John McCain have offered similar assessments.

We need to turn the page and make a fresh start in Iraq.

First, the president has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don’t have to go it alone. It is late; the president must respond by moving this week to gain and regain international support.

Last spring, after too many months of resistance and delay, the president finally went back to the U.N. which passed Resolution 1546. It was the right thing to do – but it was late.

That resolution calls on U.N. members to help in Iraq by providing troops, trainers for Iraq’s security forces, a special brigade to protect the U.N. mission, more financial assistance, and real debt relief.

Three months later, not a single country has answered that call. And the president acts as if it doesn’t matter.

And of the $13 billion previously pledged to Iraq by other countries, only $1.2 billion has been delivered.

The president should convene a summit meeting of the world’s major powers and Iraq’s neighbors, this week, in New York, where many leaders will attend the U.N. General Assembly. He should insist that they make good on that U.N. resolution. He should offer potential troop contributors specific, but critical roles, in training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq’s borders. He should give other countries a stake in Iraq’s future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq’s oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

This will be difficult. I and others have repeatedly recommended this from the very beginning. Delay has made only made it harder. After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this president may not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq. But we cannot hope to succeed unless we rebuild and lead strong alliances so that other nations share the burden with us. That is the only way to succeed.

Second, the president must get serious about training Iraqi security forces.

Last February, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that more than 210,000 Iraqis were in uniform. Two weeks ago, he admitted that claim was exaggerated by more than 50 percent. Iraq, he said, now has 95,000 trained security forces.

But guess what? Neither number bears any relationship to the truth. For example, just 5,000 Iraqi soldiers have been fully trained, by the administration’s own minimal standards. And of the 35,000 police now in uniform, not one has completed a 24-week field-training program. Is it any wonder that Iraqi security forces can’t stop the insurgency or provide basic law and order?

The president should urgently expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries. And he should stop misleading the American people with phony, inflated numbers.

Third, the president must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.

Last week, the administration admitted that its plan was a failure when it asked Congress for permission to radically revise spending priorities in Iraq. It took 17 months for them to understand that security is a priority, 17 months to figure out that boosting oil production is critical, 17 months to conclude that an Iraqi with a job is less likely to shoot at our soldiers.

One year ago, the administration asked for and received $18 billion to help the Iraqis and relieve the conditions that contribute to the insurgency. Today, less than a $1 billion of those funds have actually been spent. I said at the time that we had to rethink our policies and set standards of accountability. Now we’re paying the price.

Now, the president should look at the whole reconstruction package, draw up a list of high visibility, quick impact projects, and cut through the red tape. He should use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton. He should stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption. And he should fire the civilians in the Pentagon responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort.

Fourth, the president must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year.

Credible elections are key to producing an Iraqi government that enjoys the support of the Iraqi people and an assembly to write a Constitution that yields a viable power sharing arrangement.

Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the president agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt. Because the security situation is so bad and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission, the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

The president should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. This won’t be easy. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N. We should also intensify the training of Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened. Otherwise, U.S forces would end up bearing those burdens alone.

If the president would move in this direction, if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces, train the Iraqis to provide their own security, develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people, and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year – we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as president today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world’s responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden. We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security. We must move forward with reconstruction, because that’s essential to stop the spread of terror. And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it’s up to them to run their own country. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” He declared to the American people: “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective – a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.

In Iraq, this administration’s record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.

At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the president has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.

The president often says that in a post 9/11 world, we can’t hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.

George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

George Bush has not told the truth to the American people about why we went to war and how the war is going. I have and I will continue to do so.

I believe the invasion of Iraq has made us less secure and weaker in the war against terrorism. I have a plan to fight a smarter, more effective war on terror – and make us safer.

Today, because of George Bush’s policy in Iraq, the world is a more dangerous place for America and Americans.

If you share my conviction that we can not go on as we are that we can make America stronger and safer than it is then November 2 is your chance to speak and to be heard. It is not a question of staying the course, but of changing the course.

I’m convinced that with the right leadership, we can create a fresh start and move more effectively to accomplish our goals. Our troops have served with extraordinary courage and commitment. For their sake, and America’s sake, we must get this right. We must do everything in our power to complete the mission and make America stronger at home and respected again in the world.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

John Kerry

[quote]Lumpy wrote:
I’d like to know what George Bush’s plan is for Iraq?

  1. What is Bush’s strategy for victory?

  2. Why is Bush’s definition of victory (democracy in Iraq) diffferent than the military’s definition of victory (set up an Iraqi security force that will allow them to leave)?

  3. What is Bush’s exit strategy?

  4. What happened to the WMDs Bush promised we would find? Colin Powell admitted today that there is not even evidence of an Iraqi weapons PROGRAM let alone actual WMDs.

After a year and a half of occupying Iraq, at a cost of 200 billion in taxpayer dollars and 1000 US casualties, 7000 US maimed or wounded, and 10,000 dead Iraqi civilians, George Bush should have developed a clear strategy for exit… WHAT IS IT?

Why do you demand to know Kerry’s position on Iraq, but not Bush’s? Isn’t Bush the one who really needs to find a position ASAP, as our commander in chief?

NOBODY knows Bush’s strategy for VICTORY, because he still doesn’t have one!

NOBODY knows Bush’s strategy for EXIT, because he still doesn’t have one!

If you think I am wrong, then tell me Bush’s plan. This would be a real scoop! Be the first person in the world to explain Bush’s Iraq strategy!

By the way, “Staying there til we get the job done” is not a strategy.

I’m interested in the answer to this, one of the countless Republicans have to know.

Lumpy, DLM,

Hope this helps:

If you don’t read it in it’s entirety, don’t bother to ask the question again.



[quote]JeffR wrote:
Lumpy, DLM,

Hope this helps:

If you don’t read it in it’s entirety, don’t bother to ask the question again.



A very informative link JeffR thank you. Did he ever state the day when the 138,000 US troops will leave?


You don’t really want a date, do you? I would understand if you wanted some targets, such as completion of free elections, or control of the major trouble areas, but a date? How likely/smart would that be?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
You don’t really want a date, do you? I would understand if you wanted some targets, such as completion of free elections, or control of the major trouble areas, but a date? How likely/smart would that be?[/quote]

Similarly, it would be stupid for Kerry to offer specific plans for Iraq, as the situation there may have changed drastically by the time he takes office in January.

I love this thread: “How would John Kerry clean up Bush’s mess, if John Kerry’s so smart?”

Look, if Bush needs some advice, he should call John Kerry directly. George Bush clearly doesn’t know what to do.