CAMPAIGN 2004: WHERE THEY STAND
Defense of the Nation in a
Time of Global Economic Crisis
The following is Part 3 in a series of documentary comparisons of the views of the 2004 Democratic Presidential contenders. The topics are those raised by Lyndon LaRouche's candidacy since Jan. 1, 2001, and therefore we place him first. The other candidates are listed in the order of the number of their itemized campaign contributions. (LaRouche is number two by this count.) Part 1, in EIR of Dec. 12, 2003, dealt with the Iraq War and the Cheney neo-conservative coup (we touch on Iraq policy in what follows below, but see Part 1 for more details); Part 2, in EIR of Dec. 26, 2003, was on economic policy. Part 4, in EIR of Jan. 30, 2004, is on Attorney General John Ashcroft and the threat of police-state rule. Part 5 is on how to reverse the breakdown of the United States' economic infrastructure. Part 6 is on the Middle East Crisis. Marcia Merry Baker, Roch Steinbach, and Susan Welsh prepared this report.
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
LaRouche has for three decades been a unique spokesman for a Classical conception of strategic defense, as the cornerstone of military policy for the United States. Strategic Defense combines economic and scientific/technological progress; the developing skill levels of the population; and a foreign policy based on fostering a community of sovereign nation-states, to form a coherent military policy which is the opposite of the currently predominant "utopian" conception.
LaRouche was the conceptual author of the policy which became known as Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. LaRouche had elaborated a program for anti-ballistic missile defense, based on technologies using "new physical principles," which would involve cooperation between the United States and Soviet Union, to end the Cold War—the age of Mutual and Assured Destruction (MAD)—and replace it with a doctrine of Mutual and Assured Survival. This, he conceived as a "science-driver," which would revive the moribund economy of the Soviet Union; shift the economies of the West toward high-technology, capital-intensive production; and raise the skill levels and living standards of the Third World.
Most recently, LaRouche discussed the history of that policy fight in a Dec. 12, 2003 webcast from Washington, D.C.:
"I'd been working on this since 1977. The idea was that if the United States and Soviet Union could agree on the development of certain technologies which existed scientifically, that in itself would not prevent a nuclear attack, but the fact that they had agreed to develop such systems would change the policy away from Mutual and Assured Destruction to a new policy. And this would work, particularly if we would use these technologies—which had multiple uses, shall we say—to help developing countries as well as benefit in terms of military application. Reagan, who, apart from all his other problems, was actually a Roosevelt Democrat by breeding, was struck on this.
"On economics, he was unreachable. You couldn't touch him on economics; he was just gone. And also, of course, he adapted to Truman and the right wing, in Hollywood, famously, in the post-war period. But on this thing, the SDI, he agreed. There has to be an alternative to MAD.
"So, I was then put in a situation of back-channel discussion with the Soviet Union on exploring this possibility. Reagan at some point—I don't know exactly what point, I think it might have been around January of 1983—finally decided to go with it, and had a meeting with people to make sure that he would say in his speech—in a five-minute segment of his March 23, 1983 speech—that he would say in that speech exactly what I had been saying to the Soviet government in these back-channel discussions. He said it.
"Well, Andropov turned it down."
In an Oct. 22, 2003 webcast, from Washington, D.C., LaRouche also addressed strategic defense policy, denouncing the doctrine of preventive, or pre-emptive war:
"Instead of the lunacy of nuclear preventive war, especially the preventive nuclear war policies revived by Vice-President Cheney, we must return to that principle of strategic defense which was introduced by Carnot and employed by Scharnhorst, a principle has been the policy of all of our great Presidents and military commanders, such as MacArthur and Eisenhower, since. Among these lessons learned were the emphasis upon the role of an Army Corps of Engineers, and the importance of shifting the training of soldiers and sailors to the principle of mission-orientation introduced under Scharnhorst."
Asymmetric Warfare, "Mini-Nukes."
Since the announcement of a pre-emptive warfare strategy by the Bush-Cheney Administration—including pre-emptive nuclear war—LaRouche has discussed the measures of "asymmetric warfare" that nations that are possible targets of such warfare will take, in their own defense. He outlined the general idea in an Aug. 17, 2003 campaign policy paper, "World Nuclear War When? McAuliffe's Deadly Delusions: or, How Harry Truman Defeated Himself":
"Take one relatively obvious example of the kind of systems and their measures presently in the making," he wrote. "Take relatively very small, very quiet submarines, much quieter than today's nuclear-powered military submarines, smaller submarines loaded with small objects to deposit in places relatively most difficult for defenses to detect. Or, consider very, very deep-diving submarines which can do special tricks. Meanwhile, nuclear and thermonuclear devices can be produced in a wide range of effects, many of these relatively small. Also, there are possibilities for producing global effects, which we, then involved in the proposed SDI, had considered, back during the mid-1980s, in our defining of the requirements to alter the environment for short, but significant intervals of time; that, on a relatively large scale.
"The point being illustrated by the references made, is that there are many ways in which the U.S.A. nuclear Triad can be made relatively, asymmetrically obsolete; as by, in effect, bypassing it with warfare in a different technological space than it is designed to fight. This is not a matter of a particular weapons-system, but it could be a matter of a threatened adversary's dreaming up a feasible technological dimension which you, perhaps, had simply not thought about....
"The rampant incompetence in military and related matters shown by Bush Administration economists generally, and by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's pack of neo-conservatives—and, in that context, in events such as the recent, not really very secret meeting in [Offutt Air Force Base] Nebraska—demonstrates that any notion of an assumed invincible strategic doctrine in the intentions of these characters, is such that any capable, otherwise weaker nation, is intrinsically capable of discovering how to defeat it, if they have not already defined such solutions."
In a speech on Nov. 1, 2003, LaRouche spelled out the danger of the Cheney policy, and particularly the Pentagon discussion of using mini-nuclear weapons today: "We live in a world," he said, "in which thermonuclear weapons, and related things, define an environment of Mutual and Assured Destruction, really. Now, what is Cheney talking about, therefore? What's the problem we're living under? What Cheney is talking about, and others are talking about—the neo-cons—is: Let's have a sub-Mutual and Assured Destruction regime. Let us conduct nuclear warfare, in such a way, that we never go to full-scale thermonuclear war, but that we use mini-nukes, and other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, in order to find a level between what used to be called 'conventional warfare'—pre-nuclear warfare—and thermonuclear warfare, generally. So therefore, to find a 'middle area' to fight limited nuclear warfare, as preventive nuclear warfare: to establish a world empire; to eliminate all nation-states, and establish imperial control over the planet, by this method."
LaRouche has been an opponent of the "all-volunteer Army" since its inception, and an advocate of universal military service. As a Democratic Presidential contender back in 1979, he issued a Presidential Campaign Paper titled Military Policy of the LaRouche Administration, in which he described the all-volunteer army as "the most lunatic approach" to the strategic threats facing the United States, and called for "constructing a pyramid of reserve capabilities, with the base of the pyramid provided by a national organized militia grounded in universal military training." Citing the experience of Lazare Carnot and Gaspard Monge in France during 1793-1804, and of West Point under Commandant Sylvanus Thayer, he elaborated: "Every person not disqualified by physical or mental disabilities, should enter universal military training at the age of eighteen, following some significant degree of pretraining as part of secondary-school programs. Universal military training should be based on a combination of university UMT programs plus two-year engineering-academy training, including a twenty-five percent or greater military-training component.... The national militia reserve is interchangeable with the reserve forces of a national Corps of Engineers." He explained that, except for the purely military aspects of the program, UMT should cost the nation nothing in net, since it would provide enormous gains in productivity, relative to the costs of the engineering training, by raising the skill levels of the workforce."
This concept has featured in LaRouche's work throughout the intervening years.
In an Oct. 22, 2003 webcast, from Washington, D.C., LaRouche announced:
"It is also my present intention, that during the first hours of my Presidency, I shall present a proposed bill to Congress restoring national military service of qualified citizens. We may recall, that it was the lunatic folly of the so-called preventive U.S. war in Indo-China which led to the destruction of national military service of citizens. As we have seen lately, the reform ending the draft did not solve the problem we experienced in Indo-China, but actually made it worse, as we have seen the same great folly re-enacted in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"It has been largely forgotten that national military service was the tradition upon which our constitutional republic was founded."
Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
At his Oct. 22, 2003 webcast, LaRouche stressed: "Despite our healthy abhorrence of war, national military service is an integral part of citizenship in a functionally sound republic. The urgent need for building up the Army Corps of Engineers at this time is a relevant example.
"We have a social problem of first magnitude of importance among the generations of young Americans who have little or no qualification for the kind of productive employment in which they could expect to support a normal family household. In Franklin Roosevelt's time, we attacked this kind of problem with the quasi-militarized Civilian Conservation Corps. On my first day in office, I shall take a series of related actions on this problem.
"The fundamental solution for the present bankruptcy of our nation, lies in halting the cutting of general levels of good-producing employment in the misused name of balancing budgets, and, instead, expanding the level of total productive employment, up to the point that the value of the goods produced exceeds the costs and expenses currently incurred for the operation of the national economy. We must bring the level of productive employment up, such that current output exceeds the current component of costs of maintaining the nation. The measures we must take immediately to bring this problem under control, must include measures which remedy the lack of competence for good productive employment among a very large ration of young Americans.
"Our experience with World War II war-time selective service, when combined with the experience of the CCCs, shows us the road to transforming presently marginally-employable young Americans into a quality of employable labor force needed for a successful national economy recovery effort overall. Since more than half of the economic recovery effort needed today will be in basic economic infrastructure at the Federal, state, and county/municipa1 level, the combined role of an Army Corps of Engineers with auxiliaries resembling the CCCs is an obvious leading element of the national economic-recovery process.
"These forces, both military and civilian, shall function under a principle of mission-orientation. The orientation will proceed from the role to be accomplished for the nation and its economy as a whole, by the infrastructure-building program as a whole; and from the integral importance of the function of the particular project to which they are currently assigned. We must shift the idea of labor, back to the personal satisfaction of the worker in getting the job well done which is needed for the nation."
Iraq Policy. A Nov. 24, 2003 press release from the LaRouche in 2004 campaign is headlined, "LaRouche: 'I'm for the Immediate Withdrawal of U.S. Forces From Iraq.' " He emphasized that "U.S. troops in Iraq are now absolutely useless, because of the crimes that have been committed by our government. We have lost all credibility in the situation. So I wouldn't want a single American in that area, at this time." He proposed that, through the United Nations Security Council, we establish the arrangements under which Iraq could be rebuilt as a nation.
"My withdrawal plan is very simple: can we get them all out overnight? Physically? No. You have to move them. How do you move them? What you do is, your policy says you're going to withdraw your troops into certain areas of concentration for withdrawal. So you pick these territories, and your little hedgehogs, and you begin to fly the troops out. And the other forces or whoever comes in to assist the Iraqis, will replace them. So, effectively, on the day the orders are given, they will be effectively on the way out. The order will be believed, and it will be as rapidly as possible. They will withdraw to positions which are predetermined as places of concentration. And they will be removed, as units. And the other nations will take over responsibility."
At his Oct. 22, 2003 webcast, from Washington, D.C., titled, "Preparing for the Post-Cheney Era," LaRouche prioritized military policy under the topic, "Honor the Veteran." He began his discussion of this, saying, "It is also my present intention, that during the first hours of my Presidency, I shall present a proposed bill to Congress restoring national military service of qualified citizens...." The principle involved in this, and the related points he then made about building up the Army Corps of Engineers, and other measures, all serve the purpose of restoring the economy of the United States.
In early January 2004, LaRouche commissioned work for a mass-circulation policy document on the economic crisis, and the crisis of military personnel—active duty, reserves, and veterans, saying, "The time has come to end the turning of our military into unpaid mercenaries."
During his campaign, LaRouche has stressed the measures necessary to assure a sound economy, with an adequate infrastructure base (hospitals, medical corps) and institutions (Veterans Administration system, pensions) in order to provide for the livelihoods of veterans and civilians alike—jobs, housing, medical care. Among the points he specified on Oct. 22, for example, was health care. He said, "I shall also take immediate action, within the power of the Executive, and by proposed legislation to the Congress, to fully reactivate the Veterans Hospital System."
For health care, LaRouche has repeatedly focussed on the need to restore a full-service system of VA facilities, and to stop the shutdown and denial of health care. He calls for repeal of the HMO system, and all the various forms of "managed care" being promoted in the military. He calls for a return to the principles of the post-World War II Hill-Burton Act, to provide adequate medical facilities for all (referring to the 1946 bipartisan national hospital-building program).
On Oct. 28, 2001, at the time of the anthrax attacks, LaRouche issued a document, "Building a National Defense Against Germ Warfare," which called for building up public health and hospital capabilities, on the basis of military principles of logistics in depth. This has been a theme for decades. In 1983, in a 15-page paper on the SDI, LaRouche wrote a detailed profile of the principles involved, under the heading of "Tasks of Civil Defense," stressing, "a practicable civilian defense medical assistance system will be one modeled on military medical organizations." (Fusion, September-October 1983)
Earlier in 2001, LaRouche waged an international effort to prevent the shutdown of D.C. General Hospital in Washington, and his campaign pointed out the disastrous process of destruction of both the military and community facilities across the nation. Significant health-care infrastructure was lost when 100 bases in 28 states were closed under the Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1988 and 1990; then even more, over the past decade. In Washington, D.C. the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was designed to treat 1,260 patients. As of 2000, it had eliminated all but 240 beds.
In another issue of urgent concern to veterans, LaRouche's campaign committee on Sept. 15, 2003 put out a press release stating that when he enters the White House in January 2005, "he will launch a full probe into the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty, during the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War. He added that he would call on President Bush and on all other candidates in the 2004 Presidential race to join him in endorsing such an official probe, so that there would be no need to wait for 16 months to get the investigation moving—while many key witnesses are still alive and able to provide their eyewitness evidence."
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Howard Dean's major speeches and campaign website present his view of military policy, almost entirely in terms of defending against terrorism and lowering the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), through improving "intelligence," and otherwise undertaking individual combat actions. He indicates no grasp of strategic military principles, nor history.
On Dec. 15, 2003, he gave an overview speech, titled, "Fulfilling the Promise of America: Meeting the Security Challenges of the New Century," to the Pacific Council on International Policy, in Los Angeles. He identified the "central challenges" as defeating global terrorism and curbing weapons of mass destruction.
"First," he said, "we must strengthen our military and intelligence capabilities so we are best prepared to defend America and our interests. When the Cold War ended, Americans hoped our military's job would become simpler and smaller, but it has not. During the past dozen years, I have supported U.S. military action to roll back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, to halt ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, to stop Milosevic's campaign of terror in Kosovo, to oust the Taliban and al-Qaeda from control in Afghanistan. As President I will never hesitate to deploy our armed forces to defend our country and its allies, and to protect our national interests...."
Dean's specifics about how to strengthen the military involve "keeping promises about pay, living conditions, family benefits, and care for veterans," and providing "the best leadership, the best training, and the best equipment."
Dean stresses building alliances with other nations, rather than taking unilateral action; he denounces "makeshift coalitions that have to start from scratch every time the alarm bell sounds."
In terms of force deployment, Dean uses the concept of "prevention" efforts abroad. From his website: "Governor Dean would increase military, intelligence, and police focus on offensive operations against terrorists operating overseas. With increased support of our allies, Governor Dean would provide a multi-layered defense to deter and defeat such attacks. Hand in hand as an integral piece of our overall national security strategy, homeland security 'prevention' efforts aboard would be designed to ensure that no terrorist ever reaches the U.S. homeland and that all terrorists are denied access to any WMD capacity."
Dean states that one of his priorities is to expand the Nunn-Lugar program for Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), for dealing with the "vast nuclear, chemical, and biological material inventory left over from the Soviet Union.... We need a global fund to combat weapons of mass destruction, not just in the former Soviet Union, but around the world—that is much larger than current expenditures...." He calls for spending $30 billion over ten years—triple current rates; and for allies to match that, for a total of $60 billion, for a "global alliance to defeat terror."
From an undated item on the Dean website: "A Dean Administration would be guided by the notion that CTR and related programs are a more urgent priority than National Missile Defense and would transfer $1 billion per year from the over $8 billion ballistic missile budget to CTR and related programs. As President, Howard Dean will increase our intelligence, police, and military special-forces capabilities abroad to thwart and disrupt terrorist operations...."
From his speeches and website, Dean appears to not recognize that key figures of the Bush Administration back an explicit policy of "pre-emptive" or "preventive" war. Dean's characterizations of the Bush Administration military policy remain in the category of general negatives, as stated in Dean's Dec. 15, 2003 speech (above): that the Administration is following, "a go-it-alone approach," a "new radical unilateralism," and "a brash boastfulness."
In that speech, he hinted at the issue of "mini-nukes" and similar technologies, when he said, "I also will get America's defense spending priorities straight, so our resources are focussed more on fighting terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and honoring commitments to our troops and less, for example, on developing unnecessary and counterproductive new generations of nuclear weapons" (emphasis added).
Dean is not calling for a resumption of the draft.
Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
Dean indicates no recognition of the West Point tradition of military engineering, the Army Corps of Engineers, and so on. He makes passing references to nation-building. For example, to attack Bush over the debacle in Iraq, Dean said in his Dec. 15, 2003 speech: "When he ran in 2000, this President expressed disdain for 'nation building.' That disdain seemed to carry over into Iraq, where civilian officials did not adequately plan for, and have not adequately supported, the enormous challenge—much of it borne by our military, of stabilizing the country."
In the same speech, Dean called for the United States to act to narrow the "now widening gap between rich and poor" in the world, because "ignorance, poverty, and disease" trap people. "Their misery is a breeding ground for the hatred peddled by bin Laden and other merchants of death."
For the U.S. domestic economy, Dean offers unscientific "post-industrial" proposals for increased energy independence as a way to combat terrorism, calling for wind power, ethanol usage, etc. "We must also reduce our over-dependence on Mideast oil. Until we develop alternative sources of energy, we will continue to send billions of dollars every year to countries that finance radical educational systems that teach young people to hate Christians, Jews, and Americans. Although these objectives cannot be reached overnight, we must begin to implement an aggressive diplomatic strategy and rational energy policy that will be necessary to achieve success on these fronts."
Dean said in his Dec. 15, 2003, two days after the announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein: "Let me be clear: My position on the war has not changed. The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show that the Administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at unbelievable cost. An Administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk." As of December 2003, Dean continued with these generalities, making no specific mention of the Cheney/Halliburton policy nexus, or other differentiations.
Dean has been confronted on where he stands on veterans, because of his 1995 backing for Newt Gingrich's neo-con Contract on America. In January 1995, Dean said that the Congress had become "fossilized," and the Conservative Revolution meant, "now we have an opportunity for historic change, and the question is, how far are we going to go?" Dean subsequently favored many of the proposed sweeping program cuts, including for defense and veterans.
On Sept. 28, 2003, Bob Schieffer, on the TV show "Face the Nation," read a quote from Dean from 1995: "The way to balance the budget is for Congress to cut Social Security, move the retirement age to 70, cut defense, Medicare, and veterans' pensions." Schieffer asked Dean, "How about veteran's pensions? Do you want to cut veterans' pensions now" Dean replied, "No, I do not. I want to restore the health benefits of President Bush's cut to veterans."
Dean's "Empowering Veterans" statement now calls for: 1) legislation to fully fund the VA health care system; 2) ending the "Disabled Veterans Tax" by legislation to authorize full concurrent receipt; 3) "return the Department of Veterans Affairs to its mission of serving veterans, and educating them about their rights to quality health care rather than hiding their rights from them"; 4) full funding for VA programs treating mental illness; 5) provide resources for homeless veterans; 6) legislation for sufficient G.I. Bill funding for putting vets through college or vocational school; 7) "enforce veterans' preference statutes applicable to all executive branch agencies."
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Senator Kerry most often addresses defense in terms of how to deal with the threats of "global terrorism," and in particular, he stresses using diplomacy, not resorting to warfare. In 1997, Kerry wrote The New War, described on his campaign website as, "an in-depth assessment of the national security issues facing the United States in the 21st century."
In a speech on Dec. 16, 2003 in Des Moines, Iowa, titled, "Foreign Policy in a Post-Saddam World: Rebuilding Our Alliances and Iraq," Kerry stated some general points on defense, without addressing military strategy as such. He said: "I believed then [a year and a half ago], and I believe now, that Americans deserve better than a false choice between force without diplomacy, and diplomacy without force. To provide responsible leadership, we need to take the third path in foreign policy—a bold, progressive internationalism—backed by undoubted military might—that commits America to lead in the cause of human liberty and prosperity....
"Nowhere it that clearer than in Iraq.... The Administration's reluctance to share power and responsibility is all the more stunning because it prevents them from investing Europe and Middle Eastern neighbors in their own self-interest not to have a failed state on their doorsteps and borders....
"The threat of terror continues to reach from the streets of Baghdad and the Middle East to the streets of Asia, Europe, and America itself. We must not waste this opportunity to rebuild alliances, both in Iraq and against global terrorism.
"We owe this kind of internationalism first of all to our troops.... We need tools of diplomacy equal to the tools of war" (emphasis in the original).
On Sept. 25, 2003, in an interview on CNN with Paula Zahn, he said that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld should resign over his failed Iraq policy. Kerry accused him of rushing to war without adequate planning. "Our military is weaker today; they're overextended."
The future of the U.S. military is referenced on Kerry's website, in an undated item titled, "Priorities—Giving Our Military the Tools and Support It Needs." Kerry says: "It is up to Democrats to understand and prepare for the Fourth Generation Warfare—fighting unconventional forces in unconventional ways—so our nation can be better prepared to wage and win the new war.... A modern military means smarter, more versatile equipment; better intelligence; advanced communications; long-range air power; and highly mobile ground forces."
He also calls for supporting members of the armed forces with "quality health care, housing, and competitive wages," and similar measures. He was co-sponsor of an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Bill to allow the military to transport family members of those service people wounded in active duty.
On June 17, 2003, in an interview for MoveOn.org, Kerry was asked whether he would repeal Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine, and replied, "I spoke out against it during the Senate's Iraq debate, stating that we should not be 'giving Bush carte blanche to run roughshod over every country that poses—or may pose—a potential threat to the U.S.' Bush's position is a blanket doctrine that can easily be misinterpreted and misapplied. As President, I will use force when it is necessary to defend core American values and interests against imminent threats."
In October 2002, Kerry voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.
Kerry uses the formulation, "Fourth Generation" warfare, to refer to "unconventional" combat with unconventional weapons, but, on his website, he does not differentiate, nor denounce those in the Administration today, who seek mini-nuclear weapons and pretexts for war.
He supports more international weapons control, stating, "It is time for the most determined, all-out effort ever initiated to secure the world's nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction." He fought against U.S. withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
On Oct. 16, 2003, in Franklin, New Hampshire, a voter asked Kerry if he would re-institute the draft, in order to make the burden of military service equal, because, "the poor people fight the war, while the rich people stand by." According to the Union Leader coverage, "Kerry said he wouldn't bring back the draft to deal with the situation in Iraq, and would consider it only in a situation where there was a much larger war. He said, if the draft were re-instituted, he would want to see it administered 'without politics and favoritism.' "
On Dec. 2, 2003, at a speech at Boston University, Kerry said he does not believe there is a need to re-instate the draft, which Kerry described as a source of conflict during the Vietnam War.
Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
Kerry's website has no reference to the U.S. military tradition and role of engineering for infrastructure provision for nation-building. On May 19, 2003, he called for creation of "A New Army of Patriots" for "a nationwide commitment to national service" for civilians. Functions cited include firefighting, police-work, and other functions, some potentially connected to security of infrastructure.
In his Dec. 16, 2003 speech, Kerry outlined four main points on Iraq: 1) give the UN authority in the rebuilding process, and development of a new Iraqi constitution and government. "Ambassador Bremer and the coalition Provisional Authority should be sincerely thanked for their service—and replaced by a UN Special Representative in Iraq who will remove the stigma of foreign occupation from our presence there." 2) Increase the size of the U.S. force in Iraq. "In the face of grave challenges, our armed forces are spread too thin." 3) Set a timetable for transferring political power and responsibility for reconstruction, over to the people of Iraq; and also, arrange for a trial for Saddam Hussein in Iraq, in which international participants (jurists, prosecutors, and investigators) work alongside Iraqis. 4) Restore "a sense of basic order" in Iraq. Lawlessness undermines civil society. For order, "The job properly belongs to the new Iraqi security forces. And the United States and the allies we enlist need to do a far better job of training them—and then transferring authority to then."
Kerry lists nine priorities: 1) mandatory funding of veterans' health care; 2) granting full concurrent receipt to disabled veterans (to receive both military retirement pay and disability compensation); 3) making the Veterans Administration responsive; 4) proper financial compensation for soldiers and their families; 5) full accounting for POW/MIAs; 6) combating homelessness; 7) supporting members of the National Guard and Reservists; 8) protecting family members who lose a loved one; 9) not overstretching the military. For the last point, Kerry calls for a temporary increase of about 40,000 active-duty Army troops, to last out the remainder of this decade.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Edwards' website does not discuss military policy as such, but only under the rubric of Homeland Security, and specific foreign policy/military situations such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since 9/11, he has given considerable attention to the issue of protection of ports, airports, etc. On Sept. 14, 2001, he proposed the Airport and Seaport Terrorism Prevention Act; and on Oct. 9, 2001, he introduced to the Senate, with Sen. Charles Hagel (R-Neb.), a bill to provide $1.6 billion in funding to increase the ability of the "first responders" at the state and local level to prepare for a possible bioterrorist incident.
Edwards gave a comprehensive speech on Homeland Security on Dec. 18, 2002 (before the Iraq War), at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Among his points were: We must do more for disarmament, including to support many programs already in place to dismantle weapons and prevent access to weapons-grade materials in the former Soviet Union. We need a new relationship with Saudi Arabia that doesn't ignore its "tolerance of terrorism."
The bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission said recently that America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack. That is intolerable, Edwards said.
He supported the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, but said it has gotten mired down in bureaucracy, and is not doing its job. Meanwhile, the Administration gives tax breaks to the super-rich. Congress passed legislation to strengthen border security, port security, cybersecurity, and guard against bioterrorism, but for the most part they're not being funded the way they should be. Bush has vetoed billions of dollars for domestic defense, "and he is refusing to release $1.5 billion that should go to police, firefighters, and first responders who face layoffs as I speak."
Major new initiatives are required in four basic areas, Edwards said: finding and tracking terrorists, border security, target protection, and domestic readiness. His proposals include the formation of a new homeland intelligence agency—a proposal that had been put forward by Democratic Leadership Council President Bruce Reed and Senior DLC Policy Advisor Jose Cerda, in the July-August 2002 issue of the DLC's Blueprint magazine. According to this argument, the FBI, as a law enforcement agency, is not properly trained and equipped to serve an intelligence function, and is botching its efforts to deal with domestic security post-9/11. Edwards has proposals for better securing ports, container shipping, nuclear plants, chemical facilities, and others. He says that the administration was moving toward a commonsense solution to protecting chemical facilities, but after lobbying by the chemical industry, that approach was abandoned. Once again, corporate special interests have trumped the interests of ordinary Americans.
He proposes to solve manpower shortages in many homeland security professions, like public health and cyberdefense, by offering young people a deal: "If you'll serve for five years, we'll pay for your college."
Under the rubric of "economic security," he stresses "a return to fiscal discipline." This can be done by measures that include eliminating 10% of government employees outside national security, cutting wasteful spending, closing tax loopholes, and putting off tax cuts only for the most fortunate Americans. He claims these measures would save over $1.6 trillion over 20 years.
Under Defining America's Role he has this blooper, equating the opposed policies of FDR and Truman: "In the tradition of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, Edwards believes that we must seize this opportunity to define how America uses its power—whether it's defending against threats, promoting prosperity and freedom, or giving help to those who need it. We must strengthen international institutions and alliances to help America meet these challenges."
On Dec. 15, 2003, Edwards gave a speech, "Strategy of Prevention, Not Pre-emption," in Des Moines, Iowa, whose prepared text, on the website, says that today's main challenge is to diminish the threat of WMD, especially nuclear weapons. He states that to "win the global war on terror, America does not need a new doctrine of pre-emption; we need a new strategy of prevention." He calls for a new "Global Nuclear Compact" to aid the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty process in preventing legal civilian nuclear programs from being adapted for military use: "We cannot accept the false choice between the administration's dangerous doctrine of pre-emption, and a multilateral regime that isn't up to the current challenge."
However, Edwards names no names nor networks in government in connection with the "doctrine of pre-emption." For example, on Vice President Dick Cheney, the most prominent backer of the doctrine, Edwards' website offers only his Sept. 26, 2003 statement, "It's Time Cheney Put the People's Interest First," denouncing Cheney for potentially violating Federal ethics standards by mis-representing his Halliburton connections. The statement concludes, "He is Vice President of the United States of America—not of Halliburton—and it's time he put the people's interests ahead of his old employer's."
Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
Edwards mentions on his website that he has proposed a bipartisan plan to improve America's efforts to achieve stability, democracy, and growth in war-torn societies, but he does not say what his plan is.
Edwards voted for the Senate resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, in Fall 2002, and continues to support the war, while taking a swipe now and then against Bush Administration policies linked to "corporate greed," such as Halliburton's contracts in Iraq, tax breaks for the super-rich while homeland security needs are underfunded, etc.
Edwards says he will put an end to mismanagement in veterans' health care, by using technology to strengthen management controls and holding managers accountable for meeting benchmarks for quality and access of care.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
On the Lieberman campaign website, there is no separate defense, military, nor any related strategic category among his 24 issues, except for "Iraq," "Israel and the Middle East," and "Veterans Issues." Lieberman most frequently addresses military defense in association with U.S. security regarding terrorist threats, and statements expressing generalities about freedom and morality. On Sept. 10, 2003, in an address to the New York Council on Foreign Relations, he said, "As President, I want to lead America back to safety—with a might that is expressed through our military, but also through our moral purpose and the moral purpose of every nation that shares our values and the vital cause of freedom."
Lieberman has served for many years, in tandem with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), as national spokesman for the warhawk faction, demanding war on Iraq, support for Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, and potential warfare elsewhere. His theme has been to call for more military actions, faulting the Bush Administration and others for flaws in their implementation.
On Oct. 2, 2002, in the countdown to the Congressional vote for the Bush resolution authorizing force on Iraq, Lieberman appeared for a photo opportunity in the Rose Garden with President Bush, to signify bipartisan backing for the Iraq War. McCain was by his side; also present were Dick Gephardt, House Minority Leader, as well as other Republicans, Senators Lott and Warner.
On Sept. 4, 2003, Lieberman said in the Democratic primary debate, "Look, long before George Bush became President, I reached a conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S. and to the world, and particularly to his own people, who he was brutally suppressing. I believe that the war against Saddam was right."
In the last few years, Lieberman and McCain have led a Congressional delegation to the Wehrkunde annual defense conference in Munich—an annual gathering of military officials and political and business leaders. On Feb. 8, 2003, speaking at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, as it is now called, Lieberman said that NATO nations must be aggressive in "protecting peace in the world." They should, in particular, be supporting the United States and UN to put "backbone" into mandates against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He faulted the Bush Administration for refusing NATO's offer of help in Afghanistan. He said that the present American policy on Iraq was actually based on a joint initiative by McCain and himself—the Iraq Liberation Act: "You might therefore say that when it comes to Iraq, President Bush is just enforcing the McCain-Lieberman policy."
On a Dec. 15, 2003 MSNBC campaign special, Lieberman was questioned by Chris Matthews about the pre-emptive warfare doctrine. Citing Lieberman's longstanding demand for war on Iraq, Matthews asked Lieberman to provide a "consistent standard" for when and where "pre-emptive war" is justified—something, Matthews said, suitable for printing in a "first grade textbook." Lieberman replied circuitously, eventually using the formulation of "imminent danger."
On Oct. 5, 2003, Lieberman appeared on Fox News Sunday, praising the Israeli bombing strike on Syria. He likened Israel to the United States—"we're both victims of terrorism"—saying, "What the Israelis appear to have done in attacking Syria is not unlike what we did after Sept. 11 in attacking training camps of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan."
Universal Service and Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
There is no indication on the Lieberman website of any policy on the draft, or any recognition of the role and tradition of military involvement in either U.S. or other nation-building.
Lieberman's website gives a chronology covering more than 12 years of his record in demanding warfare to disarm and remove Saddam Hussein, because, "it was a matter of national security to demand that Saddam declare and destroy his illegal weapons of mass destruction—weapons that, according to the United Nations, had been hidden from the world for over a decade."
On Nov. 12, 2003, in an interview with Stars and Stripes, he declared, "I supported the war. I believed it was very much the right thing to do." Lieberman calls himself "the lead Senate sponsor of the legislation authorizing force against Iraq," initiated in January 2002, and he supported many other resolutions in years earlier. It was Lieberman, not Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who stood next to President Bush at the White House signing of the Congressional resolution authorizing war on Iraq, in October 2002.
On Dec. 15, 2003, after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Lieberman called for an Iraqi tribunal to try Saddam, to let him "face the death that he's brought to his own people."
Lieberman lists seven points under a program called, "Keeping Our Promise to Veterans": 1) Setting up a Department of Veterans Affairs, "with more than a billion dollars in extra funding"; 2) "Improving Veterans Benefits," including providing the armed forces with the "same quality health care as other Federal employees"; 3) "Fighting for Full Concurrent Receipt" for disabled veterans who retire after full careers in the military; 4) "Expanding Job Opportunities," for those discharged, by legislating "tax credits to employers who hire veterans living in poverty"; 5) "Expanding Educational Opportunities," through a bill called the "Veteran Higher Education Opportunities Act; 6) "Supporting Military Spouses," by measures increasing the annuity to surviving spouses aged 62 and over; 7) "Keeping Veterans Mobile" by letting disabled vets use surplus space on military aircraft.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Gephardt's website has nothing on military policy as such; the issue is discussed in terms of Homeland Security, the Iraq War, and the war against terrorism.
In Fall 2002, it was Gephardt, as House Minority Leader, who broke the back of Democratic opposition to Bush's Iraq War resolution. On Oct. 2, 2002, in the countdown period to the Congressional vote, Gephardt appeared with Bush in the White House Rose Garden, to show bipartisanship for authorizing force against Iraq. This and other actions by Gephardt, undercut Senate opponents of the war, including Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).
Gephardt has continued to defend his own support for the war, while castigating the Bush Administration for "unilateralism," failure to work constructively with allies, and for lying to the American people in the matter of the "16 words" in Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech falsely alleging that Iraq tried to buy uranium "yellowcake" from Niger.
In a speech to the San Francisco Bar Association on July 22, 2003, titled "American Engagement and the War Against Terror," Gephardt accused the Administration of treating "our own allies like so many flies on the American windshield." He said he advocates a strong military, that it is a lie to say that Democrats are not pro-defense, since "it was the Clinton-Gore military that defeated the Taliban after September 11th." The troops deployed in Iraq are "the finest in the very history of conflict." He said he stood with Bush's efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. "I believed then, and I believe now: either Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or components [!] of weapons of mass destruction." He boasted that he crafted the resolution that helped lead the President to make his case at the UN, when he eventually did so.
Pointing out that even NATO was not asked to play a formal role in post-war Iraq, Gephardt said that if he were President, he would ask NATO to join us to secure peace and stability there.
He joined the neo-con campaign to bash Saudi Arabia, charging that "the Bush-Cheney Administration remains shackled to Saudi oil producers.... I've proposed an aggressive plan to achieve total energy independence within 20 years. This administration needs to stop behaving like the United States of Saudi Arabia and it needs to start mobilizing international pressure to get Saudi Arabia to stop funding, training and breeding global terror in the first place."
On the "16 words" in the State of the Union speech, he said Bush is to blame, and doesn't mention Cheney's guiding role.
In a Dec. 1, 2003 speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, "Homeland Security We Can Count On," Gephardt continued his drum-roll against Saudi Arabia, saying that while the Justice Department was rounding up anyone of Mideastern descent who seemed even remotely suspicious, the Administration was allowing relatives of Bin Laden "and other wealthy Saudi Arabians" to leave the country on chartered aircraft. "To put the interests of Saudi Arabia before the safety of American citizens is appeasement for the sake of oil."
The President, he said, had abandoned key elements of his own homeland security package for the sake of a tax cut for the wealthy. Bush froze funding for "first responders"; there's no new funding for port security grants, and almost no funding at all to hire additional immigration or customs staff.
Gephardt said that he had fought side by side with Senator McCain to enhance airline security with Federal screeners, but they had had to fight Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and George Bush nearly every step of the way. We have 15,000 chemical production and storage facilities, but Bush has done nothing to secure them, he charged.
Gephardt enunciated the basic principles of his Homeland Security plan: promoting stability and democracy abroad by raising living standards through fair trade and social reform; building consensus with other nations; eliminating our dependence on Persian Gulf oil and confronting countries like Saudi Arabia; and heading off problems like nuclear proliferation, by improving our foreign intelligence.
He charged that Bush has polarized our country and alienated the world community, such that it will now be extremely difficult for any President to rally support when the next rogue regime threatens our security. "No one will believe us when we say another dictator is an imminent threat and must be stopped." Short-sighted rhetoric about an axis of evil helped provoke North Korea and Iran into dangerous games of nuclear escalation.
Gephardt called for the creation of a Homeland Security Trust Fund—$20 billion per year for five years, to give states and local communities the resources they need. Out of this, he would establish a First Responder Grant Program, to hire and train first responders, and provide equipment and support services.
How do we pay for this? He said he has co-authored legislation with John McCain to form a Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission, to weed out special interest provisions and pork from the Federal tax code. Corporate welfare costs our country $150 billion in lost tax revenue every year, he said.
In his speech of July 22, 2003, Gephardt attacked "the Bush-Cheney policy known as 'pre-emption,' " on the grounds that "it is up to them, and them alone, to decide what will constitute a threat even five, 10 years from now; when they don't even recognize the value of consensus among like-minded nations. it is an invitation to abuse...." Rather than "pre-empting" threats, he said he would work to prevent threats from emerging in the first place, by securing nuclear materials and facilities worldwide, as we began to do in post-Cold War Russia—"a far cry from this administration's approach to North Korea."
Universal Service and Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
There is nothing on the website on these issues.
On Nov. 3, 2003, Gephardt gave this reply, during an online Q&A by Concord Monitor/Washingtonpost.com, to a question about why he supported the Iraq War, and what was his disengagement policy: "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."
Gephardt says that as President, he would reverse efforts to reduce funding for critical programs, and ensure that veterans receive the health care, retirement, and other benefits they were promised. He was a cosponsor of the bill that elevated the Department of Veterans Affairs to a Cabinet-level agency.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Wesley Clark, a retired four-star general with service as Commanding General of the U.S. Southern Command (1996-97), and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-May 2000), does not offer on his website, his view of strategic defense, nor even list military or any related topic among his "issues." He has written two books, Waging Modern War (2001), about the Kosovo war, and Winning Modern War (October 2003). The first defined "modern war" as coercive diplomacy, or the use of force to persuade other nations to do what you want them to. Not modern at all, it is simply the barbarism of medieval "cabinet warfare."
Restoring NATO is a major theme of Clark's today. On Nov. 20, 2003, he gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, on "Restoring America's Alliances," in which he called for rebuilding relationships, especially NATO. "The use of military force is our last resort, not our first," he said. He opened this speech with high praise for Winston Churchill's demand for joint action in the Cold War: "Fortunately, in those fateful days, America listened to Winston Churchill. Together we built NATO and we led the world to security and peace." And he praised Tony Blair for asking for U.S. partnership today.
This bears on Clark's role during the 1999 Kosovo War, while he was both NATO Supreme Commander and U.S. Commander in Chief for Europe: He was drawn into the scheme of a British-centered faction, supported by U.S. neo-cons, which demanded a NATO land invasion of Kosovo and a ground war there, contrary to U.S. policy and any sane approach. When he found he couldn't win this fight within the U.S. government, Clark took to the world's airwaves in behalf of that ground war. Newsweek, in a feature on Clark in September 2003, reported that finally, Defense Secretary William Cohen had to order Clark, through Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton, "Get your f—ing face off of TV!"
British Gen. Michael Jackson's subsequent refusal to carry out Clark's order to seize Pristina airport from the Russians, with the words, "I'm not going to start World War III for you," is well known.
At long last, General Shelton was forced to fire Clark, because of what Shelton recently characterized as "character and integrity issues." Lyndon LaRouche responded: "That's fair. This is one thing I would certainly agree with Hugh Shelton on. That's my opinion, too."
In general, Clark today, as candidate, identifies terrorism and nuclear weapons as today's strategic threats. On Dec. 9, 2003, at a New Hampshire candidates' debate, he was asked about the danger of Russian nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, and called it "a significant national security problem." He points to legislation put together by Senators Nunn and Lugar, funded at a billion dollars or so a year, to work on the problem. "You can get a whole lot more security for the United States of America in nonproliferation out of a billion dollars spent on this program than by putting another billion dollars into Iraq."
On Dec. 3, 2003, in Exeter, New Hampshire, Clark said, "I don't want a draft. I don't believe in military universal training." Clark spoke in response to a question from an elderly veteran, who asked about how levels of service would be maintained, under the Iraq War circumstances where people don't want to re-enlist, and tours of duty are being extended, and so on. Clark said, "I'm not into the draft. We're not bringing it back."
Nation-Building/Army Corps of Engineers
General Clark's campaign website provides no recognition of the tradition of the military engineering corps role, for the United States, or the Balkans, or elsewhere abroad, though he is a West Point graduate of 1966.
He calls for a Civilian Reserves corps, as part of his plan for "A New American Patriotism," which he announced at an Oct. 14, 2003 speech at Hunter College, and is elaborated on his website. It includes attention to repairing domestic infrastructure, by ranks of volunteers. As of Nov. 27, 2003, as described on the website, the plan is intended "to expand opportunities for national service to address day-to-day challenges like crumbling schools and securing the homeland." Elements include voluntary enrollment, open to all over age 18.
Then, in times of crisis, members of the Civilian Reserves would be asked to volunteer for military duty. But, "if sufficient volunteers were not available, the President would have the authority to call up as many as 5,000 Reserves, through a lottery of the Reservists with required skills," with service to last up to six months. Deployment for domestic or international needs might include: fighting forest fires, "contributing to nation-building" in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere.
Clark backs the Kennedy/Bayh legislation for "Call to Service Act of 2003," which has components of short-term enlistment for civic functions.
Clark has called for considering sending more troops to Iraq, as well as counterinsurgency measures. He advocates "transforming the military operation in Iraq into a NATO operation." His website states, "General Abizaid, commander of US forces in the Middle East, would remain in charge of the operation, but he would report to the NATO Council, as General Clark did as commander of NATO forces in Kosovo." He calls for the UN to be involved.
On Sept. 18, 2003, Clark said that he would "probably" have voted for the war authorization, and compared his position to that of Kerry and Lieberman in wanting to put maximum pressure on Saddam. But on Sept. 19, 2003, he corrected that, saying "I would never have voted for this war. I've got a very consistent record on this."
Clark's website presents, "A Veterans' Security Plan," with seven main points: 1) call for a National Soldiers Memorial; 2) adequately fund veterans' health care, beginning with $2 billion more than proposed by Bush; 3) expand access to health coverage for National Guard and Reservists, through the same system that serves members of Congress; 4) protect the Tricare system by protecting Medicare from cuts; 5) protect schools on military bases; 6) care for homeless vets; 7) eliminate the "Disabled Veterans Tax," which bars concurrent receipt of both retirement and disability pay.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
Kucinich's website contains no military policy, apart from the issue of Iraq; he has been a consistent and outspoken opponent of the war, not hesitating to identify Dick Cheney's role in lying to the American people on Iraq's alleged threat (terrorist support, weapons of mass destruction).
In his March 19, 2003 statement following the American attack on Iraq, he described the war as "in violation of American traditions of defensive war that have lasted since George Washington."
On anti-ballistic missile defense and the issue of "Pentagon spending," he takes a leftist line. In a press conference on Sept. 7, 2000 following a seminar on "Reviving the Idea of U.S.-Russian Strategic Partnership," he denounced the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative, which he called "an idea in search of an enemy" and "a disaster on a scale that hasn't been seen in this country with respect to trying to maintain American leadership for peace in the world." Referring to strategic defense as the idea of "peace through proliferation," he called it an "Orwellian construction which defies credibility; that you cannot tell the world, as we are in a new millennium, that the way that we can achieve peace is through an arms buildup." Claiming that the concept of strategic defense is "technically impossible," he called it "an idea that, for some reason, like the movie, The Alien, just when you think it's gone, Ahh!—it comes out of some compartment."
In July 8-9, 2003 speeches on the House floor, Kucinich called for cutting the "bloated" Pentagon budget in order to fund education. In the debate on the $368 billion Defense Department Appropriations Bill on July 8, he singled out the F22 fighter plane, the V22 Ospry, and "other unnecessary weapons systems." On July 9, he called for passing the Ready To Teach Act, spending $300 million on teacher preparedness and retention, which everybody agrees we need; but the President wants only $90 million. "Yesterday we passed a Defense spending bill that spends $8.9 billion on the National Missile Defense system that doesn't work, and today we will pass an education bill that, if fully funded, would work. But we won't fully fund it.... National Missile Defense doesn't work. Teachers do. They work for our children, they work for America, and they work for our future."
On April 9, 2003, he reintroduced legislation for the creation of a Cabinet-level Department of Peace. It would promote non-violence as an organizing principle in our society, domestically and internationally. "It would analyze foreign policy and make recommendations to the President on matters pertaining to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict."
In a statement on Nov. 7, 2003, Kucinich opposed draft registration for women, on the grounds that he opposes the Iraq occupation and does not want to see anybody drafted to fight there. "I am not prepared to accept the loss of a single life for any oil in Iraq or the profits of Halliburton," he said.
In a speech to the Democratic National Committee on Oct. 3, 2003, he described himself as having led the Democratic effort in the House against the Bush Administration's march toward war, resulting in 126 Democrats voting against the war—"nearly two-thirds of our caucus went against our own leadership and voted against the war." But, having thus defied the DNC for a moment, he then went on to toe the DNC line, in writing Lyndon LaRouche out of the campaign, with this blatantly false statement: "No one else, no one, in this race for the Democratic nomination actually organized against the war both in the Congress and around the nation or persistently challenged the Bush Administration's attempts to tie Iraq to 9-11, or put the lie to the Bush Administration's claims about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Of the members of Congress in this race, only Senator Graham and I voted against the war. No other members of Congress voted against the war, against the money for occupation, nor will they join me in voting against the $87 billion. Nor did they join me in speaking out against the now widely despised 'Patriot Act.' "
In a campaign speech on Dec. 18, 2003 at Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Kucinich said that most Presidential candidates and people in the Administration, including military officials, have resigned themselves to a long occupation of Iraq. This is wrong; we need to bring in UN peacekeepers and bring our troops home. He proposed going to the UN with a new plan: 1) United States gives up ambitions for the control of the oil of Iraq; 2. United States hands over to the UN the contracting process. No more Halliburton sweetheart deals; 3) United States must give up ambitions to privatize the Iraqi economy, in violation of international law; 4) United States must turn over to UN the business of helping the people of Iraq develop a new constitution.
At the Dec. 9, 2003 New Hampshire campaign debate, Kucinich stressed that Iraq "is actually what this debate is about." Our entire domestic agenda is at risk because of our occupation of Iraq, he said, and $400 billion in the bloated Pentagon budget means we don't have money for health care and housing and education.
Kucinich emphasizes that "something is inherently wrong with the way the current Administration is treating our veterans. They have sent troops into battle one day, and slashed their benefits the next." He underlines his support for veterans' health care.
Sharpton's campaign website does not present the candidate's military policy, but from media reports of his comments attacking President Bush, the following are his views on the relevant points:
Military Doctrine; Strategic Defense
On May 2, 2003, in an interview with TheState.com, Sharpton said, "Bush's imperialistic go-it-alone military-oriented foreign policy is shortsighted, unworkable and will be too costly—in money, lives, good will, and sound international relations. A UN-ignored, but U.S.-led, pre-emptive policy of invasion in Iraq has weakened the United Nations, the structures of collective security and international law." Before the Iraq War, Sharpton said on Fox TV, March 6, 2003, "I would work with the Security Council. I would work with allies. I would not be telling Americans, let's get ready for war. I'll be warning reporters and families and others to get out of Iraq, but, at the same time, I'm going to engage in dialogue in North Korea." He said on March 4, 2003, to The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, on the grounds for deploying military force, "I don't know of anyone that thinks Saddam Hussein is a great head of state. I think that we have to establish what is meant when we say that he is an imminent danger to the United States that would warrant military action. My priority as President would be to capture Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who has already attacked us."
In an interview on June 17, 2003, with MoveOn.org, when asked whether he would repeal Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine, Sharpton said, "It's a dangerous and traditionally un-American doctrine. We cannot pre-emptively attack Iraq using shaky intelligence, by using 'facts' and 'an imminent threat theory' that was not convincing to most of the rest of the world. Within the framework of the UN, if an attack on the United States is imminent, we already have the right of pre-emptive self-defense under existing international law."
On Nov. 5, 2003, Sharpton said, in a question-and-answer session on the Concord Monitor/WashingtonPost.com, "We must go back to the United Nations. I would say that Bush was wrong and that we are willing to sumit to a multilateral redevelopment plan. That will set the tone for the world community to come in. The reluctance of the world community is that we insist they come in under our directives and under our coordination with our sweetheart deals in place. If we took a different attitude we would get a different result and take our troops out of harm's way."
Sharpton does not appear to differentiate the networks in the Bush Administration—Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others, in terms of responsibility for the Iraq War policy. He focusses on Bush. For example, on June 17, 2003, Sharpton said to MoveOn.org, "I have challenged the Bush Administration—one of the most closed and secretive in our history—to explain the apparent discrepancies in its words and deeds. It said Iraq was an 'imminent' threat to U.S. national security. That appears not to have been the case. it said U.S. intelligence 'knew' that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons."
Carol Moseley Braun
Apart from her consistent opposition to the Iraq War, the only statement regarding military policy on her website is a call for an end to the abuse of women cadets at the Air Force Academy. From the televised campaign debates, and media reports of her comments, Moseley Braun's views on the relevant topics are the following.
Military Doctrine/Strategic Defense
In the New Hampshire debate on Dec. 9, 2003, discussing the fight against terrorism, she emphasized the Constitutional issue: "Article I, Section 8 says that it is the Congress' job to make decisions about when we go to war. And the practice of just passing resolutions saying the President can make these decisions unilaterally has got to stop. It puts us on a slippery slope toward arbitrary, unilateral, pre-emptive war, shooting first and making decisions that have no relation to protecting the domestic security of the American people."
In a June 17, 2003 interview with MoveOn.org, Moseley Braun said, "Since World War II the Congress has essentially abdicated the power to declare war by passing resolutions authorizing the President to decide. The Congress erred in giving Bush that authority. Repealing the resolution is a bit like closing the barn door too late, but I believe that Bush's claim of a right to start a war based not on aggression but on suspicion is dangerous and ought to be rejected by the American people."
At the Sept. 9, 2003 Black Caucus debate, Moseley Braun said, "The problem was caused in the first place when Congress abdicated its Article 1, Section 8 authority under the Constitution and have a President the right to go on a free-for-all with a preemptory attack in Iraq. But that's behind us. Bush frittered away internatioanl goodwill, our international institutions, our friends around the world. So now we're in a position of having to go back to those allies that this Administration thumbed its nose at, and asked for help and burden sharing. We need to go back and make up. We don't have to relinquish command and control. But at the same time, we have every responsibility to engage a multinational force to help us out of the quagmire in Iraq."