Leslie Burg, Newton's Iraq Resolution
Bill Moyers, Restoring The Public Trust
Bill Moyers June 4, 2003
Howard Zinn at Spelman College
Bill Moyers May 15, 2005
Bill Moyers December 1, 2004
Sen Byrd Oct 17, 2003
Sen Byrd April 7, 2004
MP George Galloway Senate Testimony
MP George Galloway interview by Amy Goodman
Al Gore Nov 29 ,2003
Kennedy Oct 16, 2003
Kennedy Jan 14, 2004
Kennedy March 5, 2004
Kennedy: America's Future in Iraq
Mark Dayton Opposing Ms. Rice
Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Howard Zinn at Spelman College
REMARKS OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY ON THE ADMINISTRATIONS FAILURE
TO PROVIDE A REALISTIC, SPECIFIC PLAN TO BRING STABILITY TO IRAQ
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
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 college.
It is 15 times what the government spends on cancer
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
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 political
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 world.
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 circumstances, the tide of history
rises squarely against military occupation.
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 circumstances.
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
In recent weeks, in Massachusetts, at Fort Stewart in
Georgia, 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
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 attacker is.
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
thirteen 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 deployments overseas.
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
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
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 nr a booby trap hn
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
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 Iraq.
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 different countries.
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 their weapons.
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 post-conflict deployments.
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 guaranteed.
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 reconstruction effort.
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
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
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
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 their domination.
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 country.
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
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
On July 23, Ambassador Bremer said that it "should be
possible" to have elections next year.
On September 26, Secretary of State Powell gave the
Iraqis six months to write a constitution.
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
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 Affairs, she wrote:
"U.S. interests are served by having strong alliances and can be promoted
within the U.N. and other multilateral organizations...".
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
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 is right.
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
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
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 circumstances, 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 barren--outcome."
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 wrong course.