In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America’s ideals. We must reach them.
To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.
To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America’s strength. Strong alliances, to help us stop the world’s most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America’s power – our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values – each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.
On Bush's mistakes:
The President has said that he “miscalculated” in Iraq and that it was a “catastrophic success.” In fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions … from the beginning … in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.
On misleading us:
The first and most fundamental mistake was the President’s failure to tell the truth to the American people.
He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.
By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.
His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.
The President also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.
He didn’t tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn’t tell us that he wouldn’t take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn’t tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn’t tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured.
On our Allies:
Abroad, other countries will be reluctant to follow America when we seek to rally them against a common menace -- as they are today. Our credibility in the world has plummeted.
In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: “The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.”
How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president, today?
On National Security:
Let me put it plainly: The President’s policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.
There's so much more...happy reading!