Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq

Reuters – Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found. Taking up a challenge from President Bush, whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: “I’ll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively.”

Speaking to reporters from the Powell’s Landing on the rim of the Grand Canyon above a mile-deep drop, Kerry also said reducing U.S. troops in Iraq significantly by next August was “an appropriate goal.” “My goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it’s appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time,” he said. On that timetable, Kerry’s aim would be to pull out a large number of the 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in the first six months of his administration. “Obviously, we’d have to see how events unfold,” he added. “I intend to get more people involved in that effort and I’m convinced I can be more successful than President Bush in succeeding in doing that. It is an appropriate goal to have and I’m going to try to achieve it.”

Kerry refused to say if he had any private assurances from Arab or European nations that they would help with security and reconstruction in Iraq but said “right now the administration … is scrambling and struggling to try to find a way to do that.” “All of this should have happened in the beginning, all of these things should have been achieved beforehand,” he said. “American presidents should not send American forces into war without a plan to win the peace.”

Well, that clarifies things.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Iraq War, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Ya know… Kerry better hope he does not win… When he gets in the chair and he can’t just snap him fingers and make it all better as he promised he is going to look like a horse’s ass.

  2. Bithead says:

    Only one problem, James… he didn’t answer what the President asked.

    He didn’t ask if he’d have voted for it, he asked if he’d have supported the action of going to war. If we take Kerry’s reasoning as to why he voted against funding out troups as an honest reason, then we must also assume there is a major difference between voting for an action, and actually supporting it.

  3. LJD says:

    Shameful how Kerry says anything to get elected. Especially a promise to bring troops home in August… It might work to get the families of soldiers out to the polls, but Kerry cannot keep this promise.

    We’ve already heard “I voted for the funding before I voted against it” and “I support authorizing the President to take action, but not actually take it”. How about “I am against the Vietnam War and it’s atrocities, but I am proud to have been a part of it”.

    What’s next? ” I support bringing the troops home in August, but we’d have to see how events unfold”.