John Edwards on War & Peace

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator

FactCheck: US portion of coalition losses is 88%, not 90%

EDWARDS: We've taken 90% of the coalition causalities . American taxpayers have borne 90% of the costs of the effort in Iraq.

CHENEY: The 90% figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well a the allies, they've taken almost 50% of the casualties in operations in Iraq , which leaves the US with 50%, not 90%.

FACT CHECK: Both men have a point here, but Edwards is closer to the mark. Edwards is correct counting only "coalition" forces-those of the US, Britain and the other countries that took part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. 1,066 US service men and women had died from hostile action and other causes during the Iraq operation as of Oct. 5, of a total 1,205 for all coalition countries. That's just over 88% of the coalition deaths. For Iraqi security forces, estimates put the figure at 750, producing a total of 1,955. Of that, the Iraqi portion is 38% (not "almost 50%" as Cheney claimed) and the US total amounts to 55%.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

Cheney has no answer for the failure to have adequate troops

Cheney is inconsistent with everything they see every day. It's a continuation of, "Well, there's a strong connection between Al Qaida & Saddam Hussein." It's not true. It's a continuation of at least insinuating that there's some connection between 9/11 & Saddam Hussein. It's not true. It's saying, as Bush said last Thursday, and Cheney continues to say tonight, that things are going well in Iraq, contrary to what people who have been there have seen, including Republican leaders, contrary to what everyone in America sees every day-Americans being kidnapped, beheaded, parts of the country under the control of insurgents, even today, under the control of the insurgents. Cheney has still not said anything about what Bremer said, about the failure to have adequate troops, the failure to be able to secure Iraq in the short term. Remember "shock and awe"? Look at where we are now. It is a direct result of the failure to plan, the failure to have others involved in this effort. This is not an accident.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Reports say there are not enough troops to secure Iraq

EDWARDS: We lost more troops month after month. There are Republican leaders, like John McCain, Richard Lugar, and Chuck Hagel, who have said Iraq is a mess and it's getting worse. Lugar said because of the incompetence of the administration. What Paul Bremer said yesterday is they didn't have enough troops to secure the country. They also didn't have a plan to win the peace. They also didn't put the alliances together to make this successful.

CHENEY: We've made significant progress in Iraq. We've stood up a new government that's been in power now only 90 days. The notion of additional troops is talked about frequently, but the point of success in Iraq will be reached when we have turned governance over to the Iraqi people; they have been able to establish a democratic government. They're well on their way to doing that. They will have free elections next January for the first time in history. We also are actively, rapidly training Iraqis to take on the security responsibility.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

We were attacked by Osama bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein

Q: If Kerry & Edwards had been president & vice president, would Saddam still be in power?

A: Saddam Hussein needed to be confronted. Kerry and I have consistently said that. That's why we voted for the resolution. But it also means it needed to be done the right way. It means that we were prepared; that we gave the weapons inspectors time to find out what we now know, that in fact there were no weapons of mass destruction; that we didn't take our eye off the ball, which are Al Qaida, Osama bin Laden, the people who attacked us on 9/11. Now, remember, we went into Afghanistan, which was the right thing to do. But we had bin Laden cornered at Tora Bora. We had the 10th Mountain Division up in Uzbekistan available. And what did we do? The Bush administration gave the responsibility of capturing and/or killing bin Laden to Afghan warlords who, just a few weeks before, had been working with bin Laden. Our point in this is not complicated: We were attacked by Al Qaida and bin Laden.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Cheney keeps suggesting a connection between Iraq and 9/11

CHENEY: 20 years ago we had a similar situation in El Salvador. Guerrilla insurgents controlled roughly a third of the country, 75,000 people dead, and we held free elections. I was there as an observer on behalf of the Congress. The human drive for freedom, the determination of these people to vote, was unbelievable. And today El Salvador is a whale of a lot better because we held free elections. The power of that concept is enormous. And it will apply in Afghanistan, and it will apply as well in Iraq.

EDWARDS: Iran has moved forward with its nuclear weapons program. They're more dangerous today than they were four years ago. North Korea has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program, gone from one to two nuclear weapons to 6 to 8 nuclear weapons. This vice president has been an advocate for over a decade for lifting sanctions against Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism on the planet. It's a mistake. We should not only not lift them, we should strengthen those sanctions.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Never fight a war without enough troops and a plan to win

We guarantee every man and woman in our armed forces that you will always be the best-led, best-equipped, and most respected fighting force in the world. You will be armed with the right weapons, trained in the right skills, and fully prepared to win on the battlefield. You will never again be sent into harm's way without enough troops, nor asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace, and given assignments which have not been clearly defined and for which you are not professionally trained.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 17 Aug 10, 2004

America cannot be safe without help and respect of allies

We have got to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. It is how we won the Cold War. It is how we won two world wars. And it is how we will build a stable Iraq. With a new president who strengthens and leads our alliances, we can get NATO to help secure Iraq. We can ensure that Iraq's neighbors, like Syria and Iran, don't stand in the way of a democratic Iraq. We can help Iraq's economy by getting other countries to forgive their enormous debt and participate in the reconstruction. We will bring the world to our side, and with it a stable Iraq, a real chance for freedom and peace in the Middle East, including a safe and secure Israel. We'll bring the world together to face the most dangerous threat we have: the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Implement 9/11 Report; focus on al Qaeda

We have to do more to fight the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe. We will listen to the wisdom of the September 11 commission. We will lead strong alliances. We will safeguard and secure our weapons of mass destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security. We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe. We will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will destroy you.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Iraq war has cost America dearly

Q: In light of Thursday's Senate report, knowing what you know now, would you have voted differently on the war?

A: What we know from the intelligence report, there are several things. One is that the Al Qaeda-Hussein connection was not there. I did not believe there was a strong Al Qaeda-Hussein connection. My view is that what Bush has done in Iraq and his planning for winning the peace, has cost America dearly, and cost the possibility of success dearly. That's our focus, is what we would do, given the situation we're now in. So trying to go back and re-evaluate what we would have done is not useful to us now.

Source: New York Times, "Bad Iraq Intelligence Cost Lives" Jul 11, 2004

Immediately get NATO involved in Iraq

To rebuild Iraq, I will immediately turn over oversight of the civilian authority to the United Nations. The U.S. must play a central role in helping Iraq become safe and secure. I will work with our military to ensure that we have the right mix of forces to handle counter-insurgency and peace enforcement operations, and that we have enough forces on the ground to do the job. I would also involve NATO immediately, with the goal to eventually placing NATO in charge of Iraq's security. I will establish specific timetables to transfer authority to the Iraqis to give them more control over their economy, civilian authority, and security, and to help them create a new government that defends their freedom and represents their diversity. And I will establish an independent oversight commission to ensure that the contract process is competitive, fair, and transparent.
Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Mar 3, 2004

Work with allies to shut down North Korea's nuclear program

The U.S. must deal with North Korea firmly, directly, and immediately. Working with allies, our urgent priority must be to shut down North Korea's nuclear program. We also have to work to put North Korea on a path of political and economic openness, and toward the peaceful resolution of all tensions with our ally South Korea.
Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Mar 3, 2004

Supporting Iraq war OK, but how war was conducted not OK

Q: You voted for the Iraq resolution, which basically gave the president power to use any means that he deemed necessary and appropriate, including military force, to respond to the perceived threat of Saddam Hussein. How can you criticize the president on his Iraq policy when you handed him a blank check?

EDWARDS: I took this responsibility very seriously. I said that it was critical that this not be done by America alone, that it not be an American operation, and now this is not internationalized. For the most part, it's America doing it alone, which I believe is an enormous mistake.

Q: Well, then, why didn't you not vote for it? Why didn't you insist on caveats? It was a blank check. Why?

EDWARDS: The answer is, what we did is we voted on a resolution. It is for the president to determine how to conduct the war. That's his responsibility. This president has failed in his responsibility. Neither [Kerry nor I] would've conducted this operation the way he conducted it.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Voted for war in Iraq but against $87B-and it's consistent

Q: After voting to authorize the president to go to war in Iraq in 2002, you voted last fall against an $87 billion expenditure to support the troops there and aid the anti-terrorism effort. Why aren't they inconsistent?

EDWARDS: Because I said before the first resolution was ever voted on in the Congress, that in order for this effort to be successful it was absolutely critical that when we reached this stage that it be international, that it not be an American occupation. And so long as it was that, we'd see the problems we've seen right now. Bush needed to change course. We needed to have the UN in charge of the civilian authority.

Q: So was it a protest vote?

EDWARDS: It was not a protest vote. Had I been the deciding vote, I would have voted exactly the same way. Because what would have happened, had that occurred, is the president would have immediately come back to the Congress with a plan, changing course. We came to the point where we had to stand up and take responsibility.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Saddam's trial will reveal atrocities, but won't end terror

Q: How do you reconcile Saddam's capture with continued fear of terrorism?

EDWARDS: The trial of Saddam Hussein is going to reveal the atrocities that he's been engaged in and some of the incredible conduct that's occurred in Iraq during the time of his reign. But the reality of protecting the American people is, there's a still great deal of work to be done. Everybody across America knows that we have nuclear and chemical plants that are not adequately protected; that we are extraordinarily vulnerable through our ports. We don't have a comprehensive warning system in place, we don't have a comprehensive response system. And we know is that we know that terrorist cells exist all over this country. We need to do a much more effective job of putting humans inside those terrorist cells so that we can stop them before they do us harm.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Don't negotiate with Arafat, but build trust with envoy

Q: Are you willing to negotiate directly with Hamas, and would Yasser Arafat have a seat at that table? EDWARDS: No. There is clear, overwhelming evidence of Arafat's connection to terrorism. I think a two-state solution is ultimately the answer. [We need] to create some level of trust. For example, going to the Palestinians and saying, "Arrest these leaders of Hamas who we both know are involved in terrorism," and saying to the Israelis, "In exchange, we expect you to allow freer passage in the West Bank."

Q: But if the Palestinian leaders say, "We're not willing to arrest these people, but this is what we are willing to do," how much would you negotiate with Hamas?

EDWARDS: The most critical thing is for us to be engaged. That's what's been missing from this administration. [Bush] flies in, he has a photo-op, he leaves. We need to be on the ground constantly. We have to find ways to reduce the level of violence, to create some level of trust so that we can move toward peace.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Leadership means standing up for what you believe in

Q: Please respond to the variety of opinions expressed by your rivals on the Iraq war.

LIEBERMAN: This is a test of leadership. I don't know how John Kerry and John Edwards can say they support the war but oppose funding. I've been over Clark's record. He took six positions on whether going to war was right.

EDWARDS: Leadership is standing up for what you believe in. I believe Saddam was a threat; I voted for the congressional resolution. Then the president says, "I want $87 billion." I am not willing to give a blank check.

KERRY: I have the experience of being on the front lines when the policy has gone wrong. Our troops are in greater danger because this president's been unwilling to share the burden.

CLARK: I want to make it clear that I would not have voted on $87 billion. The best welfare for the troops is a winning strategy. We ought to call on our commander in chief to produce it. He ought to produce it before he gets one additional penny.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Negotiating with North Korea would make world safer

Q: North Korea seems willing to give up nuclear weapons for food and money. What is your plan for solving these situations?

EDWARDS: We should negotiate with the North Koreans. We should be tough. We should require that they stop their nuclear development program, nuclear weapons development program. We should have the absolute ability to verify that that has occurred. We should be willing to do something in return.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Partial yes on $87B-irresponsible to not support troops

Q: [Bush asked for] $87 billion for the ongoing war on terrorism. Your vote, yes or no?

EDWARDS: We have young men & women in a shooting gallery over there. It would be enormously irresponsible for any of us not to do what's necessary to support them. When we went into Iraq, the US assumed a responsibility to share with our allies the effort to reconstruct. That does not mean Bush should get a blank check.

I will vote for what's necessary to support the troops. But we have a lot of questions that have to be answered first. We have to find out how he plans to bring our allies in, how much control he plans to give up, and what is our long-term plan there.

Q: So you might vote for something less than $87 billion and cut off money for reconstruction?

EDWARDS: I will vote for what needs to be there to support our troops who are on the ground. I will not vote for the additional money unless we have an explanation about what we're going to do to share the cost with our allies.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Allies in Iraq would reduce burden on troops & taxpayers

Q: If we cannot get international forces to Iraq, should we increase the US presence or leave?

EDWARDS: I don't accept that premise. We have to have the help of our friends and allies around the world. [First], to help relieve the burden on American troops and be able to bring some of these troops home. Second, to reduce the burden on the American taxpayer. We need to lead in a way that brings others to us and creates respect for America, because at the end of the day [that will make] a safer world.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Irresponsible to not fund troops; also to fund Halliburton

Q: Will you vote yes or no on the president's request for $87 billion to continue the effort in Iraq?

EDWARDS: Well, I'm going to do what has to be done to make sure our troops get what they need, but not without the president telling us how much this is going to cost over the long term, how long we're going to be there and who is going to share the cost with us.

Q: So if the president says, "I need $87 billion to protect the troops," you're ready to say yes to that?

EDWARDS: It would be irresponsible not to do what needs to be done to protect our troops. But having said that, it would also be irresponsible not to do something to stop this president from giving billions of dollars in American taxpayer money to companies like Halliburton in unbid contracts.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Problems in Iraq are because Bush has not led

Q: The administration is expected to ask the Congress for $80 billion to continue the mission in Iraq. Will you support that spending?

EDWARDS: The administration needs to say to the Congress and to the American people what this war is going to cost over the long term; how long they think we're going to be there. The reason we are in this situation is because this president has not led. He has not addressed the problem of bringing in others. He has not gone to the UN in the way that he should have.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Work with other nations in war on terror

Edwards believes America must lead the world - not by acting alone, but by using our power and influence with other nations to protect our interests. Edwards calls for action to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction, win the war on terrorism, and promote democracy and freedom internationally, particularly in the Middle East. Edwards believes that through a stronger commitment to work together with other nations, the US will better be in position to shape the world in which we live.
Source: Campaign website, johnedwards2004.com, "Key Issues" Jul 17, 2003

Supported Iraq invasion because of WMD threat

Edwards has not hesitated to support decisive American action, alone if necessary, to address imminent threats to our national security. He supports President Bush's efforts to address the looming danger of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. However, he sharply objects to the Bush administration's handling of our broader foreign policy, which he says projects "arrogance without purpose," instead of the "purpose without arrogance" promised in the President's inaugural address.
Source: Campaign website, johnedwards2004.com, "Key Issues" Jul 17, 2003

Bush's preemption doctrine is unnecessary and unwise

Q: Will you repeal Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine?

A: The Bush administration asserted a new doctrine that suggests a uniquely American right to use force wherever and whenever we decide it's appropriate. America must have a foreign policy that leads in a way that brings others to us, not that drives them away. And I say to every American family: your family is safer in a world where America is looked up to and respected, not in a world where America is hated.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Voted NO on $86.5 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill S1689 ; vote number 2003-400 on Oct 17, 2003

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

H.J.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
Bill H.J.RES.114 ; vote number 2002-237 on Oct 11, 2002

Voted YES on allowing all necessary forces and other means in Kosovo.

Majority Leader Trent Lott motioned to kill the resolution that would have authorized the president to "use all necessary forces and other means," in cooperation with U.S. allies to accomplish objectives in Yugoslavia.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: Motion to table S. J. Res. 20; Bill S. J. Res. 20 ; vote number 1999-98 on May 4, 1999

Voted YES on authorizing air strikes in Kosovo.

Vote to adopt a resolution to authorize the President to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with NATO against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
Bill S.Con.Res 21 ; vote number 1999-57 on Mar 23, 1999

Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.

Edwards sponsored the Resolution on bigotry against Sikh Americans:

Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR255 on Oct 4, 2001

CIA mischaracterized Iraq WMD & abused intelligence position.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC1 on May 8, 2004

Iraq-al-Qaida contacts, but no complicity or assistance.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC10 on May 8, 2004

CIA knew State of the Union Iraq-Niger connection was false.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC3 on May 8, 2004

Iraq was not reconstituting its nuclear program.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC4 on May 8, 2004

Iraq was not developing its biological weapons program.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC5 on May 8, 2004

Iraq was not developing its chemical weapons program.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC6 on May 8, 2004

Iraq was developing missiles, but not to reach the US.

Edwards signed the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on Iraq

Source: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimous report on 9/11 04-SIC7 on May 8, 2004

Other candidates on War & Peace: John Edwards on other issues:
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