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BOB KERREY
Bob Kerrey
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June 1, 2007

"We must not allow terrorist sanctuaries to develop any place on earth. Whether these fighters are finding refuge in Syria, Iran, Pakistan or elsewhere, we cannot afford diplomatic or political excuses to prevent us from using military force to eliminate them."
--Bob Kerrey, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/22/07

Read the full commentary here.

Former Democratic Governor (1983-1987) and Senator (1988-2001) from Nebraska, Bob Kerrey was a strong proponent of the Iraqi invasion from the get-go. "Regime change is the only way we can safely reduce our military commitment to the region," he wrote in a WALL STREET JOURNAL Op-ed in 2002.

In his recent WALL STREET JOURNAL Editorial entitled "The Left's Iraq Muddle: Yes, it is central to the fight against Islamic radicalism," Kerrey calls for "a bipartisan strategy to deal with the long-term threat of terrorism," for which, due largely to the American-led invasion there, Iraq has become "the primary battleground."

"No matter how much we want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq."

Kerrey was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service as a Navy Seal in Vietnam. He is currently the President of the New School in New York City.

Did Democrats Capitulate on Iraq Troop Withdrawal?

"Democrats Back Down On Iraq Timetable," headlines the WASHINGTON POST, and THE NEW YORK TIMES called the recent war spending bill that does not include a specific troop withdrawal timetable, "a wrenching reversal for leading Democrats, who saw their election triumph in November as a call to force an end to the war."

But Kerrey disagrees: "The President vetoes the supplemental that calls for timetables. And what do they do? Send him another bill that he vetoes? That supplemental funds the troops. So at some point, you either just keep sending him bills that he vetoes and score points with your base, or you do the right thing. And I think they did the right thing by sending the President a bill that he will sign," he explains in his interview with Bill Moyers.

This latest $120 billion appropriations bill, which recently passed the Senate (80 to 14) and the House (280 to 142), will likely hold off further funding debate until at least July 15, when the President has to make his first report to Congress on the progress of benchmarks set for the Iraqi government.

Read an excerpt from the spending bill here to learn more about the specific benchmarks laid down by Congress for the Iraqi government.
Related Media:
Watch Representative Ron Paul on NOW with Bill Moyers discuss, prior to invasion, why he opposed a war with Iraq.

MARILYN B. YOUNG on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL
Historian Marilyn B. Young, co-editor of IRAQ AND THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM: OR, HOW NOT TO LEARN FROM THE PAST
References and Reading:
Read UN Resolution 1483 (pdf) from May 22, 2003 to which Bob Kerrey refers in his interview, regarding the nature of US occupation in Iraq. Also read a summary of the resolution here from The American Society of International Law.

Fighting the Wrong War
By Bob Kerrey, THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 11, 2004.
"I believe President Bush's overall vision for the war on terrorism is wrong. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. The real enemy is a small group of radical Islamists who have chosen to wage a war on all infidels -- military and civilian alike."

Finish the War, Liberate Iraq
By Bob Kerrey, WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 13, 2002.
"We civilians cannot expect to liberate 25 million Iraqis on the cheap. Just as it has been a terrible and tragic mistake for the U.S. to be in favor of freedom every place on earth except in Arab nations, it would also be a tragic mistake if we do not give our military the resources necessary to succeed. As one of the authors of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, and as one who pushed President Clinton to change our policy towards Iraq, I strongly favor regime change."

Iraqi Lawmakers Back Bill on U.S. Withdrawal
By Joshua Partlow, WASHINGTON POST, May 11, 2007.
"But as in the United States, Iraq's lawmakers are moving further away from the views of the government, particularly on the basic issue of the American presence in their country."

U.S. Maps New Course for Troubled Iraq - Again
By John Walcott and Jonathan S. Landay
MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS, May 24, 2007.
"Bush won an important victory this week when Democrats abandoned their effort to attach a withdrawal timetable to the latest war-spending bill. But Republican lawmakers have warned that their support could erode quickly if there's no significant progress by September."

Iran: No Detail on Missing American
By NASSER KARIMI, TIME, May 27, 2007.
"'We have no exact report about him from official authorities,' said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry, when he was asked about Tajbakhsh, who is also a research fellow at the New School in New York."

Bush envisions U.S. presence in Iraq like S.Korea
By Steve Holland, REUTERS, May 30, 2007.
"President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday."

Download the 9/11 Commission Report. (pdf)

Photo by Robin Holland

Also This Week:

CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS
With Democrats in charge in DC the JOURNAL asks what's the state of the ethical reforms under consideration in Congress.

BOB KERREY
Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey is making his case for a refocused mission in Iraq. The 9/11 Commission member and Vietnam war veteran tells Bill Moyers why having US military forces in Iraq is necessary in fighting terrorism, but calls for a bipartisan plan to end US policing and occupation in the war torn nation.

LISTENING TO HISTORY
Bill Moyers reflects on a taped conversation from 1964 between LBJ and his National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy.
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