The continuous aggression of Iran toward Israel and the US, as well as its moderate Sunni Muslim neighbors, should not be tolerated. Moreover, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is unacceptable.
UDALL: No, I haven't changed my mind. The most important thing here is that what Bashar al-Assad did was a heinous act. It's despicable--women and children dying as a result of chemical weapons. And I think it's pretty clear that he did this. But the big question for the Congress right now is what is the most effective way to move forward. And I think the American people don't want to be embroiled in a Middle Eastern civil war. This is an act of war that we're going to take. We haven't exhausted all of our political, economic, and diplomatic alternatives. We ought to be rallying the world. All the world agrees, you shouldn't use chemical weapons.
Q: The world has not been rallied. Are you not concerned about inaction?
UDALL: I don't think we have inaction. We're doing more than any other country in the region. We have moved effectively there to provide defenses to our allies. We're rallying the international community in terms of humanitarian aid.
GRAHAM: Yes. I believe that we have courageous men and women on the ground who are putting their lives at risk. We have an obligation to support those troops. The president has an obligation to speak candidly to the American people, to answer the questions that have not been answered such as:
What will we do about those countries that pretend to be our friends, who in fact have been our enemies in the war on terrorism?
What is our exit strategy? How will we leave Iraq?
And finally, who is going to pay this $60 billion to $80 billion? Are we going to ask our children to pay for this by adding to an already staggering national debt?
However, Americans donít cut and run. We have to support our troops in the field. So we are in a position now in which this administration has frittered away the goodwill of the international community, failed to go after Al Qaida and bin Laden, and left our troops in the field without the resources they need.
So I welcome the international community. I hope that it will allow us to extricate ourselves with honor but continue a viable war on terrorism that gets bin Laden and his pals and all the people who would do harm to the American people.
KUCINICH: It is time to bring the troops home, it is time to bring the UN in and get the US out. The United States can move away from Bushís blunder, which Iraq will be known as, because there was no reason to go war with Iraq in the first place. And everyone who took the responsibility on this stage has to answer to the American people for voting for that war. I led the effort against it.
GEPHARDT: We cannot cut and run. Weíve got to see that this situation is left in a better place. We have to form an international coalition to get it done. This president is a miserable failure. This president doesnít get it. Heís a unilateralist. He thinks he knows all the answers. He doesnít respect others. You got to respect other leaders. They didnít agree with us. You got to work with them, put together the coalitions that we need. Thatís what I would do.
Q: But you said we canít pull out now. So do we send more troops, or do we keep the ones that we have there?
GEPHARDT: No, we get help, we get the help that we should have gotten from the beginning. We go to the Turks, to the Chinese, the Russians, the French, the Germans and we work out a resolution consistent with all the traditions of the American military. Weíre not going to turn our troops over to UN command. Weíve done this in Bosnia and Afghanistan, we can do this.
DEAN: I believed from the beginning that we should not go into Iraq without the UN as our partner. We cannot do this by ourselves. We have to have a reconstruction of Iraq with the United Nations, with NATO, and preferably with Muslim troops, particularly Arabic-speaking troops from our allies such as Egypt and Morocco.
We cannot have American troops serving under UN command. We have never done that before. But we can have American troops serving under American command, and itís very clear to me that in order to get the UN and NATO into Iraq, this president is going to have to go back to the very people he humiliated, our allies, on the way into Iraq, and hope that that they will now agree with us that we need their help there. We were wrong to go in without the United Nations, now we need their help, and thatís not a surprise.
But in the case of Iraq, the president told us that Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein were about to make a deal. The president told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa. That wasnít true. They told us that the Iraqis were about to get atomic weapons. That turned out not to be true. They told us they knew exactly where the weapons of mass destruction were, right around Tikrit and Baghdad. That turned out to be false as well.
As commander in chief of the US military, I will never hesitate to send troops anywhere in the world to defend the US. But I will never send our sons and daughters to a foreign country in harmís way without telling the truth to the American people about why theyíre going there. And that judgment needs to be made first, not afterwards.
DEAN: We need more troops. But theyíre going to be foreign troops, as they should have been in the first place, not American troops. Ours need to come home.
EDWARDS: The administration needs to say to the Congress and to the American people what this war is going to cost over the long term; how long they think weíre going to be there. The reason we are in this situation is because this president has not led. He has not addressed the problem of bringing in others. He has not gone to the UN in the way that he should have.
KERRY: It will raise our standing in the world to behave as we ought to, which is to work with other nations. This is the third opportunity of the president to try to get it right.
Secondly, when that statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled, that was the moment for a president of courage and leadership to say to the world: Now weíve done what we had to do, but we want the world to come to the effort and join us.
This is the third opportunity, and it is critical that this president gives life to the notion that the US never goes to war because we want to.
We should not send more American troops. That would be the worst thing. We do not want to have more Americanization. We do not want a greater sense of American occupation. We need to minimize that. And the way to do that is do everything possible, including sharing the power, to bring other countries in to take the burden.
LIEBERMAN: That statement was made as we were about to go to war. It expressed the best traditions and values of the US, which is when American men and women in uniform go into battle, thereís not an inch of space between any of us on that question.
Look, long before George Bush became president, I reached a conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US and to the world, and particularly to his own people who he was brutally suppressing. I believe that the war against Saddam was right, and that the world is safer with him gone. I said last fall and then again a month before the war, ďMr. President, hereís what you have to do to get ready to secure post-Saddam Iraq.Ē No planning was done by this administration. I believe itís because this administration divided within itself, and the president as commander in chief has not brought it together.
LIEBERMAN: I would send more troops, because the troops that are there need that protection. And we need some of the specialized services that will help the Iraqis gain control of their country, and mean that sooner American troops could come home. Obviously, Americans have to control an international force. But a year ago I called for an international force.
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