Friday, October 01, 2004

A Conversation with Kerry - Alliances, Alliances, Alliances!

Senator Kerry, you're main argument against the President's handling of Iraq seems to have something to do with "alliances".
I believe America is safest and strongest when we are leading the world and we are leading strong alliances.

I‘ll never give a veto to any country over our security. But I also know how to lead those alliances.
So you like alliances? But how is that going to help us in Iraq?
I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world,...
Strengthening our military and intelligence sounds like a good thing. But, during your Senate career haven't you pretty much voted against every bill aimed at doing that? I seem to remember Zell Miller saying something about that. But, that aside, what exactly did the President do wrong?
First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through the inspections.
Yes. The "alliance" thing. So what do you think we need to do now?
We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances.
Let's put this "alliance" thing aside for a minute. Do you have any concrete proposals that will help the situation in Iraq?
I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies
Hmm. You're back on that "allies" thing again. What's the purpose of this summit?
And I believe our troops need other allies helping. I‘m going to hold that summit.
You mentioned that. But haven't we pretty much hashed this all out already? Aren't those countries who aren't involved currently in Iraq fundamentally opposed to what we did there? Why would they aid us now?
But this president hasn‘t even held the kind of statesman-like summits that pull people together and get them to invest in those states.
Oh, so we need some statesman-like summits? Do you think that will work? Will that persuade France and Germany to send troops? You know, they supported us in Afghanistan and they weren't exactly generous there with the troops.
I‘ve laid out a plan by which I think we can be successful in Iraq: with a summit, by doing better training, faster, by cutting—by doing what we need to do with respect to the U.N. and the elections.
So your plan is to have a "statesman-like summit" with "allies" who don't want to help us in order to form some kind of "alliance". Doesn't sound very heavy on any actual details. What will be the end result of this summit - you mentioned "Cutting"? Was that a reference to "cutting and running?
I think my plan is better.
Thank you Senator.

All Kerry quotes from the complete debate transcript available here. Emphasis added.