Kerry and the Democrats on Iraq

June 15 , 2004

From the very beginning, the so-called "war on terrorism," including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have been the bipartisan policy of the Republicans and Democrats.

John Kerry and John Edwards both voted in favor of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and have repeatedly criticized Bush for not sending enough troops.

For example, in a speech on February 27, 2004, Kerry insisting on bolstering U.S. troops in both countries, boasted that he advocated a "stronger, more comprehensive, and more effective strategy for winning the War on Terror than the Bush administration has ever envisioned." Most recently, on July 4, Kerry writing in the Washington Post about his "Realistic Path in Iraq;" says: "We know that a chief of staff of the Army, General Eric Shinseki, was right when he argued that more troops would be needed to establish security..."

John Edwards has repeatedly echoed Kerry on the need for more troops. For example, in a Senate speech "Winning the Peace in Iraq," 5/20/03: "It makes no sense that we didn't have enough military forces on the ground..."

Kerry and Edwards are both members of the Democratic Leadership Council, the dominate policy-making group in the Party. The DLC has and remains in the forefront of demanding even more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and the world. An example of the DLC's attitude towards the so-called "war on terrorism" appears in an article by Will Marshall in the May 7, 2004 edition of the DLC's Blueprint Magazine:

"More than any particular rogue dictator or brand of terrorists, it's the belief system of Islamic extremism that really threatens us....Radical Islam has risen in reaction to a series of historical shocks... For a proud people in the grip of cultural despair, the slogan 'Islam is the solution' has undeniable appeal.

"How can America prevail in this new war of ideas? In the same way we overcame fascism and outlasted communism: by containing the advance of Islamic extremism...

"Containment means stabilizing Afghanistan so that it never again becomes a host for the jihadist virus. We can't do that with the meager forces there now....

"Iraq, however, is the grand strategic prize...A precipitous withdrawal, on the heels of Spain's craven pull-out following the Madrid attacks, would be a strategic windfall for bin Ladenism.... Bringing home the troops before our mission is done in Iraq would save lives in the short run, but only invite bolder attacks down the road."

Senator Joseph Biden, another member of the DLC, the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a top adviser to Kerry, says: "We're going to need more security, more forces on the ground in order to get more security... you've got to get troops somewhere ...still 95% of the real fighting is going to be done and protection done by the American military in Iraq. But this is a long haul. We're not even talking about an exit strategy until December of 2005 . . .and we need more than 138,000 forces, in my view, between now and December of 2005." (Interview on Fox News, June 13, 2004).