Wednesday, September 01, 2004

kerry at the american legion

So when the president says we have the same position on Iraq, I have to respectfully disagree. Our differences couldn’t be plainer. And I have set them out consistently. When it comes to Iraq, it’s not that I would have done one thing differently, I would’ve done almost everything differently.

I would have relied on American troops in Tora Bora when we had Bin Laden in our sights. I never would have diverted resources so quickly from Afghanistan before finishing the job.

I would’ve given the inspectors the time they needed to do the job.

I wouldn’t have ignored my senior military advisors.

I would’ve made sure that every soldier put in harm’s way had the equipment and body armor they needed.

I would have built a strong, broad coalition of our allies around the world.

And, if there’s one thing I learned from my service, I would never have gone to war without a plan to win the peace.

The bottom line is that if I don’t believe we had to be shouldering nearly the entire financial cost of this war – more than $200 billion – and shortchanging investments in education, health care, and our safety at home.

But the question now is not just what we should have done, but what we can and must do now in Iraq. We do not need what President Bush has called "catastrophic success.” We need real success.

We need to bring our allies to our side, share the burdens, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. And together, we need to more rapidly train Iraqi police and military to take over the job of protecting their country. That's what I’ll do as Commander-in-Chief – because that’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

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