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Dick Gephardt on War & Peace

Former Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President


Helped initiate Iraqi war resolution because of CIA support

Q: You helped facilitate what turned out to be a congressional OK for the president to launch the war on Iraq. Would you again?

GEPHARDT: I will always do what I think is right to keep the people of this country safe. And I became convinced that taking that action was the best thing to keep the people of this country safe. I didn't [just] listen to George Bush. I went to the CIA. I said [to the CIA director], "I want to know if we're worried about weapons, or the components of weapons, or the ability to quickly make components that can wind up in the hands of terrorists." He said emphatically yes. And it was on the basis of that and talking to other people that had been in the Clinton administration in the security apparatus that this was a great worry.

Now, the president has not followed the right advice. He has not gotten the help of NATO or the UN. It's inexplicable to me that he has not done the things that I told him and many people told him from the beginning he should have done.

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

Two-state solution for Arab-Israeli conflict

Q: Do you think a "one-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict is viable?

A: I think a two state solution is viable and I believe President Bush has made a mistake by not engaging in the Middle East peace process from the beginning of his presidency.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Voted for Iraq war because of intel on WMDs

Q: Could you explain your vote authorizing the President to take action against Iraq? What is your disengagement plan?

A: I supported the resolution because I gained information from the CIA and other former Clinton security officials that Iraq either had weapons or components of weapons of mass destruction. I have been severely critical of President Bush's inability or unwillingness to get more international UN help in Iraq. Getting that help is the only way we can succeed.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

It is not unpatriotic to criticize the president

Q: You voted for the Iraq war because you said it was a bad idea to send an ambiguous message to our troops or an uncertain message to our friends or enemies in Iraq. Is there no room for changed minds?

GEPHARDT: In the end you're presented in Congress with a vote, up or down on the $87 billion. And I can't find it within myself to not vote for the money to support our men and women who are over there protecting us. I agree with the view that this president has failed. He hasn't gotten us the international help we need. He hasn't gotten the troops and money that should have been there from the beginning. We've got differences in opinion about this war. But I think it's an abomination for this president to call people who disagree with him as lacking patriotism. I think the highest act of patriotism is saying what we believe.

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

Would not negotiate with terrorists

Q: Would you negotiate with groups now labeled as terrorists if such an effort would end the suicide bombings in Israel and also possibly resolve the Middle East crisis?

GEPHARDT: I don't think you can negotiate with terrorists. If we're going to defeat terrorism, we've got to fight against poverty, we've got to fight against bad governance, and we've got to say to people that are supporting terrorists, "This behavior cannot stand."

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

No on $87B for Iraq-until Bush answers some hard questions

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

GEPHARDT: We've got to get answers to very important questions. What's the money go for? Are we going to just pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq? And who's going to help? Bush still doesn't have the help. Bush is not leading on this issue. He needs to come to the Congress with answers to a lot of our questions before Congress can make that decision.

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

Iraq: get allies to reduce $1B per week war cost

Q: Should we be using Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the damages from the war?

GEPHARDT: We need the help of the international coalition. It is incomprehensible to me that five months after the conflict ended, we still have not gotten any money from any other country. Bush's foreign policy is a miserable failure. We've got people over there being injured and killed. It's costing a billion dollars a week. He needs to get the help from the international coalition that he should have gotten months ago.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Yes on $87B for Iraq, but also for homeland security

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

GEPHARDT: I am going to vote to support the troops. But for the rebuilding of Iraq, I want to see international help.

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

GEPHARDT: We've got to break it down. We've got to get the rebuilding help that we need and we've got to get appropriations for homeland security.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We can't cut and run in Iraq - but use UN

Q: What is the next step for the US in Iraq?

GEPHARDT: We cannot cut and run. We've got to see that this situation is left in a better place. We have to form an international coalition to get it done. This president is a miserable failure. This president doesn't get it. He's a unilateralist. He thinks he knows all the answers. He doesn't respect others. You got to respect other leaders. They didn't agree with us. You got to work with them, put together the coalitions that we need. That's what I would do.

Q: But you said we can't pull out now. So do we send more troops, or do we keep the ones that we have there?

GEPHARDT: No, we get help, we get the help that we should have gotten from the beginning. We go to the Turks, to the Chinese, the Russians, the French, the Germans and we work out a resolution consistent with all the traditions of the American military. We're not going to turn our troops over to UN command. We've done this in Bosnia and Afghanistan, we can do this.

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

We need allies and the UN to rebuild Iraq

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

A: I helped write the resolution language that said that Bush should go to the UN. Unfortunately, Bush's diplomatic efforts have been a dismal failure, and we did not get the UN to join us in the most important foreign policy effort our country has made in this new century. The US needs allies to rebuild Iraq - sadly, we have lost support from our friends. This is a failure of foreign policy and a failure of diplomacy that I intend to reverse.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Congress should ask questions and find the truth

Q: How will you demand the truth and an end to this conspiracy of deceit of Bush on the war?

A: I believe that Congress can and should serve a valuable role by leading an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the war. It is the role of Congress to ask questions and find the truth. Only when we have all the facts can we then decide how best to proceed.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Pay any price and bear any burden to win war

I can assure you of this: there were two parties tonight in the House chamber, but one resolve. Like generations that came before us, we will pay any price and bear any burden to make sure that this proud nation wins the first war of the 21st century.

To our enemies, we say with one voice, no act of violence, no threat will drive us apart or steer us from our course, to protect America and preserve our democracy. And make no mistake about it. We’re going to hunt you down and make you pay.

As Americans, we need to put partisanship aside and work together to solve the problems that face us. On the day after the attacks, I went to the Oval Office for a meeting with the president. I said, “Mr. President, we have to find a way to work together.” I said, “We have to trust you, and you have to trust us.” Since that day, there’s been no daylight between us in this war on terrorism. We’ve met almost every single week and built a bipartisan consensus that is helping America win this war.

Source: Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002

Congressional authority united country for Kuwait invasion

[With regards to the invasion of Kuwait], I felt strongly that we should not put our military in harm’s way without an authorizing vote by Congress. I knew full well the damage done to our nation and to our system of checks and balances when we became embroiled in a protracted, costly conflict in Vietnam with no formal declaration of war. A congressional vote to legitimize action in the Gulf would do much to unite the nation behind our military.

In a close vote, the motion to invade passed. And immediately thereafter, we passed a unanimous resolution declaring that the Congress fully supported our troops in their mission to expel the Iraqis from Kuwait. I hate to think of the second guessing that would have resulted had the president launched an invasion without the consent of the Congress-particularly if the war had proven to be lengthy or unsuccessful.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.192-93 Jul 2, 1999

Voted YES on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

States that the House of Representatives:
  1. affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
  2. commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
  3. commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
  4. commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted NO on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

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

Gephardt 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

Solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism.

Gephardt sponsored a Congressional Resolution expressing solidarity with Israel:

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 02-HR392 on Apr 18, 2002

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