21st April 13:04
Kennedy Slams Bush - OT (false history numbers human nature agency)
On the Administration's Failure to Provide
a Realistic, Specific Plan to Bring
Stability to Iraq
by US Senator Ted Kennedy
Senate Floor Remarks
October 16, 2003
Nearly six months have elapsed since
President Bush flew out to the aircraft
carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished"
in Iraq. Today, we all know all too well
that the war is not over; the war goes on;
the mission is not accomplished. An
unnecessary war, based on unreliable and
inaccurate intelligence, has not brought an
end to danger. Instead, it has brought new
dangers, imposed new costs, and taken more
and more American lives each week.
We all agree that Saddam Hussein was a
murderous tyrant, and his brutal regime was
an affront to basic human decency. But Iraq
was not a breeding ground for terrorism.
Our invasion has made it one.
The trumped up reasons for going to war
have collapsed. All the Administration's
rationalizations as we prepared to go to
war now stand revealed as "double-talk."
The American people were told Saddam
Hussein was building nuclear weapons. He
was not. We were told he had stockpiles of
other weapons of mass destruction. He did
not. We were told he was involved in 9/11.
He was not. We were told Iraq was
attracting terrorists from Al Qaeda. It was
not. We were told our soldiers would be
viewed as liberators. They are not. We were
told Iraq could pay for its own
reconstruction. It cannot. We were told the
war would make America safer. It has not.
Before the war, week after week after week
after week, we were told lie after lie
after lie after lie.
And now, despite the increasingly restless
Iraqi population, despite the continuing
talk of sabotage, despite the foreign
terrorists crossing thousands of miles of
border to attack U.S. servicemen and women
in Iraq, the Administration still refuses
to face the truth or tell the truth.
Instead the White House responds by
covering up its failures and trying to sell
its rosy version of events by repeating it
with maximum frequency and volume, and
minimum regard for realities on the ground.
No P.R. campaign by the increasingly
desperate White House can redress the
painful of loss of a young American soldier
almost every day. Instead of greater
stability and order, the forces arrayed
against us are steadily increasing the
intensity and sophistication of their
assaults on our troops. Bombs that were
once set off by trip wires are now being
set off by remote control. The threat of
shoulder fired missiles makes it unsafe for
civilian planes to land at Baghdad Airport.
No foreign policy in our free society can
succeed for long unless it is supported by
our people. Our men and women in uniform
fought bravely and brilliantly, but the
President's war has been revealed as
mindless, needless, senseless, and
reckless. The American people know all
this. Our allies know it. Our soldiers know it.
We should never have gone to war in Iraq
when we did, in the way we did, for the
false reasons we were given. But now that
we are there, two imperatives are
absolutely clear: America cannot withdraw
now, leaving Iraq to chaos or civil war,
becoming a danger to us far greater than it
did before. The misguided policy of the
past is no excuse for a misguided policy
for the future.
We need a realistic and specific plan to
bring stability to Iraq, to bring genuine
self-government to Iraq, to bring our
soldiers home with dignity and honor.
Until the Administration genuinely changes
course, I cannot in good conscience vote to
fund a failed policy that endangers our
troops in the field and our strategic
objectives in the world instead of
protecting them. The greatest mistake we
can make in Congress as the people's
elected representatives is to support and
finance a go-it-alone,
do-it-because-I-say-so policy that leaves
young Americans increasingly at risk in Iraq.
So when the roll is called on this $87
billion legislation, which provides no
effective conditions for genuine
international participation and a clear
change in policy in Iraq, I intend to vote
no. A no vote is not a vote against
supporting our troops. It is a vote to send
the Administration back to the drawing
board. It is a vote for a new policy – a
policy worthy of the sacrifice our soldiers
are making, a policy that restores America
as a respected member of the family of
nations, a policy that will make it easier,
not far more difficult, to win the war
The amount of money is huge.
It is 87 times what the federal government
spends annually on after-school programs.
It is 7 times what President Bush proposed
to spend on education for low-income
schools in 2004.
It is 9 times what the federal government
spends on special education each year.
It is 8 times what the government spends to
help middle and low-income students go to
It is 15 times what the government spends
on cancer research.
It is 27 times what the government spends
on substance abuse and mental health treatment.
It is 58 times what the government spends
on community health centers.
If our Iraq policy is to be successful, it
must take into account what history teaches
us about the use of military power to solve
politically-inspired violence. A new policy
must provide the security that is essential
for any nation-building effort. A new
policy must genuinely internationalize the
reconstruction of Iraq and end our
occupation. And a successful new policy
must give ownership to Iraqis for their
Surely, in this day and age, at the
beginning of the 21st century, we do not
have to re-learn the lesson that every
colonial power in history has learned. We
do not want to be – we cannot afford to be
– either in terms of character or in terms
of cost – an occupier of other lands. We
must not become the next failed empire in
The Administration seeks to write a new
history that defies the lessons of history.
The most basic of those lessons is that we
cannot rely primarily on military means as
a solution to politically-inspired
violence. In those cir***stances, the tide
of history rises squarely against military
The British learned that lesson in Northern
Ireland. The French learned it in Algeria.
The Russians learned it in Afghanistan and
are re-learning it every day in Chechnya.
America learned it in Vietnam, and we must
not re-learn it in Iraq.
Our men and women in uniform are the finest
in world, and all Americans admire and
honor their ability and their courage. In
Iraq, they are now being forced to do an
extraordinary job they were never trained
for, and they are doing it under extreme
and unpredictable cir***stances.
Even with the best forces in the history of
the world, our military cannot succeed if
the mission is not achievable, if they are
viewed as occupiers, and if we do not have
a clearly defined and realistic strategy.
In recent weeks, in Massachusetts, at Fort
Stewart in Ge****a, and at Walter Reed
Hospital, I have met with American troops
who fought in Iraq. I am profoundly moved
by the price they pay to serve our country,
and profoundly impressed by their
professionalism and commitment. They are
willing to endure great hardship and great
danger in Iraq to complete their mission.
But they want to know when their mission
will be complete, and when they will be
able to come home.
They are resourceful and strong. But more
and more they are frustrated -- especially
by the faceless nature of the threat.
Individuals intent on killing Americans are
firing from behind the cover of crowds, to
provoke our soldiers into firing back on
civilians. Many of our troops say they were
never trained to be police officers or to
fight a guerilla war.
They want to help the Iraqi people. But the
increasing casualties make them feel
unsafe. They want to respond militarily to
attacks. But they often don't know who the
They tell me that at first, their convoys
were welcomed. But after time, children
began to throw rocks at them, and then came
the bullets. They tell me that far too many
in Iraq believe we are there to take their
oil, and that we will stay forever.
They have no clear sense about their
post-war mission. Some see it as winning
the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.
Some believe it is security. Some feel it
is to obtain intelligence about opposition
forces and weapons caches. Others think it
is to prevent sabotage of the oil pipelines
and other vital infrastructure. Still
others say it is to build sidewalks and
soccer fields and schools and hospitals,
and other local facilities. Not one of the
soldiers told me their mission was to
achieve Iraq's transition to democracy.
We read today in the Washington Post about
a survey of our troops. Their morale is
low. They believe their mission lacks clear
definition. They are getting worn down.
The ongoing occupation of Iraq has imposed
a heavy burden on our forces and created a
crisis for the military. It is now
stretched precariously thin. We do not have
enough active duty soldiers to sustain
their presence in Iraq and also meet
security needs in Afghanistan and other
parts of the world.
The crisis is coming to a head now. Two of
our divisions are scheduled to return from
Iraq in the spring. If the Administration
is unsuccessful in recruiting forces from
other nations, it will have to send in at
least another division of American troops
-- and we don't have enough active duty
forces to do the job. That means even more
call-ups from the National Guard and
Reserves. In fact, if international troops
aren't coming, the Administration must
notify reservists by the end of this very
month to guarantee that they'll be
available by spring.
Already, close to half our troops in Iraq
are members of the Guard or Reserves.
13,000 have been on active duty for at
least a year. Others have recently returned
home from deployments, only to turn around
and head overseas for another tour.
One reservist I recently spoke to had only
17 days off between tours in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The average reservist now
spends thir**** times longer on active duty
today than during the 1990s. Many cannot go
home when their scheduled time is finished,
and are repeatedly sent instead on new
In Iraq, our reservists are being pressed
into duty as the first line of defense.
They need 120 to 150 days to train before
being sent to Iraq. The Army needs to let
them know now to begin this crucial training.
It typically takes eight years under the
current peacetime system for a reserve
combat unit to reach the level of readiness
of an active unit. But we don't have eight
years. They're needed in Iraq this spring.
Even worse, reservists are being sent into
combat with inferior equipment. They have
told me they had to rely on Vietnam-era
night vision goggles that obscure more than
they reveal, even though the latest
technology is used by the regular military.
They told me they had to use outdated and
less-effective flak jackets, not the latest
models with bulletproof ceramic inserts.
They told me they had to wait three months
for other current gear. Many units did not
have armored Humvees. Instead, they had to
hang flak jackets in the windows to protect
themselves from attack.
I visited some of our wounded soldiers last
week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
More than 1800 American servicemen and
women have been wounded in this war, and an
average of seven new patients arrive at
Walter Reed from Iraq each day. Many were
ambushed driving along a road. Many lost
limbs because their Humvees did not have
the armor to protect them from the blast of
a rocket-propelled grenade or a booby trap
in the road.
Their families feel the strain of their
deployment both emotionally and
financially. Many members of the Guard or
Reserve give up higher civilian salaries
when they go on active duty. Even though
the law prohibits discrimination against
reservists, increasingly, they are
unwilling to tell possible employers about
their military obligation, for fear they
will not be hired or kept on the job. It's
a sad day for patriotism when service to
our nation is a negative factor in civilian
Far more American soldiers and Marines have
been killed since the end of major combat
operations in May than during the
three-week war itself. These are not just
statistics. Each name on the list has many
who mourn, whether parents, spouses,
children, brothers or sisters.
We cannot go on this way. We should have
known that military victory would be quick,
and that winning the peace would be the
I support our troops. It is the
Administration's policy that has failed
them. Their perceptions demonstrate the
wider failure of our policy and the need
for the Administration to move in a
decisively different direction.
The Administration ignores the lesson of
history that nation building cannot succeed
in a cauldron of insecurity. Iraq is
America's sixth major nation-building
challenge in the past ten years – Somalia,
Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and now
Security was indispensable to
nation-building in each case. But in Iraq,
we seem incapable of meeting the basic
security needs of our own armed forces, let
alone the Iraqi people.
When America intervened in Haiti in 1994,
large numbers of international armed police
were brought in to support our military and
achieve a greater measure of safety for the
Haitian people. The first task was to
establish security in a country that did
not even have a civilian police force. We
responded by recruiting a large
multinational police force from 20
When America intervened in Bosnia in 1995
and Kosovo in 1998 we understood that
security for local citizens was essential
for resuming economic growth and reaching
our nation-building goals. In Kosovo, our
allies offered highly trained police,
including some heavily armed, which were
critical to minimizing violence after the
conflict ended and enabling reconstruction
and political progress to be made.
In Kosovo, our soldiers were given training
in controlling crowds, establishing
security cordons, and searching vehicles.
But when I visited the soldiers of the
Third Infantry Division last week, they
told me they did not receive such training,
even though it would have served them well
in the cities of Iraq.
The Pentagon assumed we would be able to
draw on thousands of Saddam's police
officers to provide security -- but in the
critical early weeks that followed the war,
they were nowhere to be found, and too many
of them were thugs and torturers.
Six months later, there is still confusion.
At the end of August, the former New York
City Police Commissioner in charge of
police training program in Iraq announced
that he had reached an agreement to train
28,000 Iraqi police in a camp in Hungary.
Within a week, the Prime Minister of
Hungary announced that he knew of no such
agreement. He said that Hungary had no
appropriate training facility, and that
someone should inform his government of
what was going on. Now, we hear that the
Administration has organized a training
camp in Jordan.
The Pentagon also assumed that the bulk of
the Iraqi armed forces could be used to
supplement our forces. But soon after the
war began, the Iraqi Army melted away. Its
members went home, and the Army was
formally disbanded by our government before
they were screened and before they were
disarmed. We lost the decent ones who could
have helped provide security, and we let
Hussein's true believers get away with
Countries such as France, Germany, Sweden,
Argentina, the European Union, or Spain
could provide well-trained police to
prevent saboteurs from undermining the
extensive reconstruction effort and to
advance our broader nation-building
objectives. But so far, we have been unable
to persuade additional nations to share the
burden and the cost.
The Bush Administration's continuing
arrogance in Iraq has forced the
best-trained military in the world to act
as police officers in a shooting gallery,
to carry out police functions for which
they are ill-prepared and ill-equipped. For
Iraq now and for future crises elsewhere,
we need to build support in the
international community for a reserve
police identified and trained for
It is shocking that the White House is only
now beginning to coordinate which agency
should be responsible for various tasks.
This should not have waited six months. It
should have been standard operating
procedure from the outset to outline an
integrated strategy that meets our military
needs, the needs for local policing and
reconstruction, and the need for progress
in achieving a free and legitimate Iraqi
government. They go hand-in-hand. But none
can succeed unless basic security is
The Administration's policy of rushing to
put large multibillion-dollar contracts in
the hands of American firms ignores not
only the lesson of history but also the
lesson of human nature -- the Iraqi people
need to be the real partners in the
The Administration is wrongly working from
the top down, rather than the bottom up, to
rebuild Iraq. A new Iraq will emerge
neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town,
province by province. How can any
Republican President of the United States
disagree that government must be of the
people, by the people, and for the people?
We need closer alignment between military
units working on reconstruction and the
civilians working at the Coalition
Provisional Authority. Our soldiers in the
field are surveying the damage and
identifying priorities for repair. They
need local counterparts. We cannot solve
every problem from Saddam's palace in Baghdad.
Why not scale back the lavish resources
being provided to U.S. contractors and
consultants and provide larger sums
directly to the Iraqi people? We could do
so in many cases by developing ties between
local councils and the Iraqi Governing
Council. We could work more with local
non-governmental organizations and local
businesses. In all cases, we need to insist
on transparency in the process, so we know
where the funding is going.
It's the Iraqi people's country. They have
the greatest stake in the success of the
reconstruction, and involving them now will
enhance the prospects for success.
In some areas of Iraq, we already have been
able to achieve impressive results with
small amounts of money. In one case, we
funded the building of a cement factory for
less than $100,000, when the bid by an
American contractor for the same project
was in the millions. Why not do more of
this with schools, medical clinics, roads
and countless other projects?
Iraq has many of the best-trained petroleum
engineers in the world. Why not give them
-- rather than American companies -- a
larger role in rebuilding the industry? Why
not create jobs for Iraqis and give them
ownership of their reconstruction?
If we insist on saying Halliburton rules,
because to the victor belong the spoils, we
won't be the victor for very long.
The Administration's policy in Iraq ignores
the indisputable lesson of history that
building democracy is complex and difficult.
When the British accepted responsibility
for the new nation of Iraq after the fall
of the Ottoman Empire after World War I,
they encountered enormous difficulties in
creating a stable government across Sunni,
Shia, Kurd and other ethnic and religious
groups. Many Kurds wanted their own state –
and still do. Tensions have existed between
Sunni and Shia for 13 centuries. Iraq had
no history of unity.
In the words of one tribal chieftain,
"History did not die; the tribes and
notables who emerged in 1920 and created
our modern state in 1921 are here to stay
with all the others who came into being
Instead of learning from this painful
history, we condemned ourselves to repeat
it. Instead of anticipating the obviously
similar and predictable divisions and
demands when Saddam's regime fell, the Bush
Administration believed that a few favored
Iraqi exile leaders, many of them in exile
for years, could return to Iraq, rally the
population and lead the new government.
That was another failure. The Iraqi people
rejected them from the start and resisted
The Administration believed that once a few
hundred top advisers to Saddam were removed
from power, large numbers of local
officials would remain to run the
government. Instead the collapse of
government in Baghdad rippled across the
If history is any guide, America will not
be able to impose our vision of democracy
on the Iraqi people on our current terms
and our timetable. Our overarching interest
is the development of a government that has
legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens, so
that the longer process of building durable
democratic institutions can proceed
effectively in the years to come. This
process will not be finished swiftly, or
easily, and it will not take place
according to our will.
Iraq is a society where, for the full 30
years of Saddam's rule, politics ruled from
the top. It will take time for the Iraqi
people to adjust to the new
decentralization of power and to understand
how the multiple levels of a working
democratic government can function effectively.
The Administration clings to the hope that
the Iraqi Governing Council -- 25 people,
many of whom have never worked together
before -- can adopt a constitution in time
to hold successful elections next year.
On July 23, Ambassador Bremer said that it
"should be possible" to have elections next
On September 26, Secretary of State Powell
gave the Iraqis six months to write a
In Bosnia, the United States pressed for
national elections the first year, before
viable local democratic political
institutions were developed, and it made
the development of democracy more
difficult. Based on the historical
precedents, a recent RAND publication
suggests holding national elections roughly
two years after reconstruction begins. The
International Crisis Group also reached the
conclusion that it could take two years
before national elections should be held.
The lesson is clear. We cannot rush. It is
not surprising that our insistence on such
speed is alienating the many Iraqis who
know the process needs more time. The date
of their national election should not be
determined by the date of ours.
Imposing our will and our timetable on the
Iraqi people will undermine our
all-important long-term goal of achieving a
legitimate Iraqi government committed to
remaining on the path to democracy.
Already, the Interim Governing Council
lacks credibility in the eyes of many
Iraqis. On paper, it has broad power, but
that fools no one. It is controlled by the
United States, and it lacks sufficient
power to meet the Iraqi people's needs.
The Administration needs to give greater
priority to restoring sovereignty and help
lay the groundwork for approving a
constitution and holding national
elections. In Afghanistan, we obtained the
support of the international community for
an interim government that was not under
American occupation. That process can still
work in Iraq, although it would have
clearly worked better from the start. As we
did in Afghanistan, we need a process to
transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis, who in
turn, can ask the US and UN for assistance.
If the United States is seen as controlling
the new government in Baghdad, it will fail
-- if not now, then later; if not while our
forces are still there, then as soon as
they are gone. Those who work with such a
government are easily dismissed by the
Iraqi people as American puppets. We must
take the time necessary to give Iraqis the
ownership of their government, if we expect
it to have any credibility and staying power.
Whether the Bush Administration likes it or
not, they need a central role for the
United Nations to help accomplish this
goal. Before becoming National Security
Adviser, Condoleezza Rice seemed to
In a January 2000 article in Foreign
be promoted within the U.N. and other
She wrote: "The president must remember
that the military is a special instrument.
It is lethal, and it is meant to be. It is
not a civilian police force. It is not a
political referee, and it is most certainly
not designed to build a civilian society."
Condi Rice's words indict the
Administration's own policy now. It is
essential to involve the international
community as an active and equal partner in
the political transition of Iraq.
We need to give the UN a central role. The
Administration's decision to go back to the
United Nations is a first step, but it's
meaningful only if the Administration is
genuinely changing its policy. The real
test will be whether the Administration is
now willing to make the compromises
necessary to persuade other countries to
contribute troops to relieve our soldiers
and to bring stability to Iraq. The jury is
still out on whether the UN resolution will
mark a real shift by the Administration.
We know from experience of the past decade
in this post-Cold War world, in Bosnia, in
Kosovo, and in other devastated lands, that
we can enlist the international community
in a major way. We can share responsibility
and authority, draw on the strengths and
the diversity of the United Nations,
achieve security and reconstruction, and an
end to the occupation. For many months, the
Administration has been wrong to try to
bypass the United Nations by enticing a few
receptive nations to join us if the price
No one doubts that the United States should
remain in charge of the military operation.
But internationalizing the reconstruction
is not a luxury; it is an imperative.
Sharing authority with the United Nations
to manage the transition to democracy will
give the process legitimacy and gradually
dispel the current stigma of occupation --
especially if it is accompanied by the
creation of a more fully representative
interim governing council to deal with
day-to-day administrative responsibilities.
As soon as possible, we need to redouble
the effort to bring in forces with regional
faces-- especially Muslim faces. Nations
such as Jordan, Pakistan, and Egypt could
immediately transform this mission with
both their diversity and their expertise.
The United Arab Emirates contributed
effectively to the effort in Kosovo.
Morocco and Albania have worked with us in
Bosnia. That strategy can work for us in
Iraq now as well.
In their joint memoir, "A World
Transformed," President George H.W. Bush
and his National Security Adviser, Brent
Scowcroft, reflected on their own
experiences with Iraq and the Gulf War in
1991. They had been criticized in some
quarters for halting that war after their
dramatic victory in Kuwait, instead of
going on to Baghdad to depose Saddam Hussein.
Here is what they wrote: "Trying to
eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war
into an occupation of Iraq, would have
violated our guideline about not changing
objectives in midstream, engaging in
'mission creep,' and would have incurred
incalculable human and political costs.
Apprehending him was probably
impossible...We would have been forced to
occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.
The coalition would instantly have
collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger
and other allies pulling out as well. Under
those cir***stances, there was no viable
'exit strategy' we could see...Had we gone
the invasion route, the United States could
conceivably still be an occupying power in
a bitterly hostile land. It would have been
a dramatically different--and perhaps
They were right.
It is time for this Administration to admit
that it was wrong, and turn in a new
direction. We need a genuine plan that
acknowledges the realities on the ground.
We need a plan that gives real authority to
the United Nations, so that other nations
truly will share the burden. We need to
actively engage the Iraqi people in
governing and rebuilding their country. Our
soldiers now risking their lives in Iraq
deserve no less.
Here at home, all Americans are being asked
to bear the burden too – and they deserve
more than a phony summons to support our
troops by pursuing policies that will only
condemn them to greater and greater danger.
Yes, we must stay the course -- but not the
23rd April 12:40
Kennedy Slams Bush - OT (time)
Ted Kennedy, the murderer who should have served jail time. The one with
brothers who were drug users, ***ual deviants and had possible ties to
the Mafia. The one whose brother led us into the Vietnam quagmire. The
one whose cousins are rapists and whose father was a criminal.
Yup, Ted Kennedy sure has a lot of credibility. On planet Bizarro.
25th April 06:22
Kennedy Slams Bush - OT (priesthood)
You mean like CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC,
New York Times, NEWSWEEK, TIME, Washington
Post, Boston Globe, San Francisco
Chronicle, Stars and Stripes, Salt Lake
Tribune, Arizona Republic, Telegraph (UK),
Guardian (UK), Chicago Tribune, and many
Where do you get *your* news? Fox News and
'priesthood meeting'? Or are you a
"patriotic" fan of this guy?:
26th April 23:38
Kennedy Slams Bush - OT (liberal)
No, I mean like Tom Tomorrow and the websites you pull stuff off of.
There are a lot of kooky websites out there and sites with an obvious libeeral bias.
I read national news websites including NY Times, MSNBC, atc as well as
Fox News. I ignore the writers with an obvious liberal bias who have
found something new to attack Bush with.