Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq

gwhunter69

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Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq

Aug 9, 5:34 PM (ET)

By Patricia Wilson

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found.

Taking up a challenge from President Bush, whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: "I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."

Speaking to reporters from the Powell's Landing on the rim of the Grand Canyon above a mile-deep drop, Kerry also said reducing U.S. troops in Iraq significantly by next August was "an appropriate goal."

"My goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it's appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time," he said.

On that timetable, Kerry's aim would be to pull out a large number of the 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in the first six months of his administration.

"Obviously, we'd have to see how events unfold," he added. "I intend to get more people involved in that effort and I'm convinced I can be more successful than President Bush in succeeding in doing that. It is an appropriate goal to have and I'm going to try to achieve it."

Kerry refused to say if he had any private assurances from Arab or European nations that they would help with security and reconstruction in Iraq but said "right now the administration ... is scrambling and struggling to try to find a way to do that."

"All of this should have happened in the beginning, all of these things should have been achieved beforehand," he said. "American presidents should not send American forces into war without a plan to win the peace."

BUSH CHALLENGE

Bush last week challenged Kerry, who Republicans accuse of flip-flopping on Iraq by voting for the war resolution and against the $87 billion request to fund operations, to say straight out if he would have voted the same way if only to eliminate the danger that Saddam Hussein could have developed weapons of mass destruction.

"Now, there are some questions that a commander-in-chief needs to answer with a clear yes or no," Bush said. "My opponent hasn't answered the question of whether knowing what we know now, he would have supported going into Iraq."

"I have given my answer," Bush said. "We did the right thing, and the world is better off for it."

Kerry challenged Bush to answer some questions of his own -- why he rushed to war without a plan for the peace, why he used faulty intelligence, why he misled Americans about how he would go to war and why he had not brought other countries to the table.

"There are four not hypothetical questions like the president's, real questions that matter to Americans and I hope you'll get the answers to those questions, because the American people deserve them," he told reporters.

Kerry, who is on day 11 of a two-week coast-to-coast campaign trip, used the majestic backdrop of the Grand Canyon to criticize Bush for neglecting America's national parks system and pledged to restore $600 million he said the president had cut from the budget.
 

Welby

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"Kerry, I see your mouth moving, but all I hear is blah, blah, blaaah, three purple hearts, blah, blah, blah, blah, blaaaah..."
 

paulc

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This guy will say whatever he thinks the crowd in front of him at the moment wants to hear.

Dont think i remember him saying that at the DNC convention in front of the Deaniacs.
 

gwhunter69

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Bush Crows Over Kerry's Acknowledgement On Iraq Vote
AFP: 8/10/2004
PENSACOLA, Florida, Aug 10 (AFP) - President George W. Bush claimed political vindication Tuesday after Democratic rival John Kerry said he would have authorised military action in Iraq even knowing what he knows today.

"Almost three years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 240 days after switching position and declaring himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance," Bush told a campaign rally here.

"He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq," said Bush, whose handling of the military operation has been a major issue in his quest for re-election in November.

Kerry voted to authorise force in Iraq but later turned critical of the war, lambasting Bush for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction and establish a link between Baghdad and al-Qaeda terrorists.

Under pressure to say whether he would vote the same way today, Kerry told reporters Monday: "Yes, I would have voted for the authority, I believe it`s the right authority for a president to have."

But speaking to reporters while campaigning at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Massachusetts senator said that as president he would have used the authority "very differently from the way President Bush has."

"My question to President Bush is, why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?

"Why did he mislead America about how he would go to war, why has he not brought other countries to the table in order to support American troops in the way that we deserve it and relieve a pressure from the American people?"

Still, Bush took Kerry`s remarks as an endorsement of the war that has left more than 900 US soldiers dead and American forces still battling to tame a stubborn Iraqi insurgency.

"After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees than even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted for going into Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said.

"I want to thank Senator Kerry for clearing that up."

Bush reiterated that even if US forces did not find the stockpiles of unconventional weapons that Iraq was feared to possess, "removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right thing to do.

"Saddam Hussein had the capability to make weapons of mass destruction. He could have passed that capability on to terrorist enemies," the president said. "After September 11, that was a chance we could not afford to take."

"America and the world are safer because Saddam Hussein sits in a prison cell."

Kerry`s national security advisor Rand Beers countered in a statement that "the issue has never been whether we were right to hold Saddam accountable."

"The issue is that we went to war without our allies, without properly equipping our troops and without a plan to win the peace," He said."Its time for George W. Bush to come clean with the American people about his Iraq policy."
 
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