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COUNCIL FOR A LIVABLE WORLD RELEASES
RESPONSES FROM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON NATIONAL SECURITY QUESTIONS

Thu, 11 Dec 2003

Washington, D.C. . . Council for a Livable World today released responses on key national security questions from five of the six major Democratic presidential candidates that revealed large areas of agreement but some significant differences as well.

The replies were received from five of the six major candidates: Gen. Wesley Clark, Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, plus Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

No replies were received from Rep. Dick Gephardt, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun or Rev. Al Sharpton despite many attempts.

John Isaacs, president of Council for a Livable World, noted that "if any of the Democratic candidates is elected President in 2004, the United States will adopt a more multilateral and less confrontational stance than the current Administration."

"The differences among the Democrats are insignificant compared to their differences with the disastrous policies followed by President Bush for the past three years," Isaacs continued.

The six candidates largely agreed on three key questions, opposing a new generation of "usable" nuclear weapons proposed by the Bush Administration, expanding the nuclear non-proliferation programs and negotiating with North Korea to verifiably end its nuclear weapons program.

The greatest differences among the candidates came on the question of supporting the Bush Administration's 2004 deployment of a national missile defense shortly before the election. Lieberman supports the deployment outright. While Dean opposes the Bush program, he did suggest that "Effective missile defense will be an important part of a Dean Administration's national and homeland security strategy." Clark and Dean indicated they would support building a national missile defense, but that the Bush plan has not been sufficiently tested or proved reliable.

Edwards, Kerry, Kucinich and Lieberman said that they would "support a multilateral international ban on placing weapons in space." Clark did not respond to that question and Dean's answer was ambiguous.

Five of the candidates responded that while they acknowledged a nation's right to self-defense, they would "oppose the strategy of aggressive preemptive or preventive military action against other states that may pose security threats as a principal policy choice of the United States." Dean's response was less clear, suggesting that he opposed preemption in Iraq but might support such action against other countries.

The questions were submitted to the candidates by seven individuals -- Ben Cohen, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities Action Fund, Father Robert Drinan, former Member of Congress, Donald Fraser, former Mayor of Minneapolis, Amb. James E. Goodby, Former Chief Negotiator for Cooperative Threat Reduction, Morton Halperin, former State Department official, Steven T. Kirsch, Founder and CEO, Propel, Admiral Stansfield Turner, Former Director of Central Intelligence -- and six organizations -- Council for a Livable World, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 20/20 Vision National Project and Women's Action for New Directions.

# # #


Responses from Presidential candidates

to six critical national security questions

1. Do you support or oppose researching, building and possibly testing a new generation of nuclear weapons, including a high-yield nuclear weapon designed to destroy deeply buried targets and a low-yield nuclear weapon? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's overall nuclear weapons policy.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: "Oppose. As President, I would ensure that the Stockpile Stewardship Program is sufficiently funded to ensure the reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent."

Gov. Howard Dean: "Nuclear weapons along with chemical and biological weapons - weapons of mass destruction - in the hands of adversaries are one of the significant threats to the United States, our allies and friends. Reducing that threat as much as possible will be a key priority of a Dean Administration. Such reduction will rely on a combination of deterrence and diplomacy, with our military capabilities enhancing our ability to generate effective diplomatic strategies. Currently, our military is the most effective fighting force in the world, and as President I will ensure that it stays that way. Because nuclear weapons are a fact of life, strategic deterrence will remain essential to the United States' security strategy. However, it is equally critical to halt nuclear proliferation - for the spread of nuclear weapons will badly undercut our security, risking among other things that such weapons fall into the hands of terrorists.

Given our existing nuclear arsenal, the deployment of nuclear weapons of low yields or new weapons to destroy deeply buried targets is unnecessary for deterrence and would undercut diplomatic efforts to halt nuclear proliferation. Research and development would therefore be a misplaced priority. Our focus should be on ensuring that our conventional capabilities can meet any military requirements and that our diplomatic efforts halt the proliferation of such weapons."

Sen. John Edwards: "I oppose the development and funding of so-called "low-yield" and "earth penetrator" nuclear weapons. Making nuclear weapons more "usable" will not make Americans more secure. Reversing the ban on developing these weapons is both unnecessary and irresponsible. This would send exactly the wrong message to the rest of the world. Stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and technology is one of our most important international goals, and we need to do much more to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and keep these weapons out of terrorists' hands."

Sen. John Kerry: "Oppose. I oppose the U.S. beginning a new nuclear arms race by building nuclear bunker buster bombs that are not necessary to achieve our missions."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Oppose. A Kucinich administration would work to end nuclear proliferation by actually setting an example for the rest of the world by turning away from the true weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear disarmament would be a priority and the madness of moving towards battlefield nuclear weapons would be reversed.

But now let's examine the underlying problem of our military spending. First, recognize that the United States spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined and some 36 times more than that of the top seven potential adversaries. Considering that we have been spending these hugely greater sums for decades insures that we have a military that is quantum levels greater than the rest of the world combined and most of those countries are our allies - or were until this administration began "It's our way or the highway" rhetoric.

I have proposed a $60 billion dollar a year reduction in the military budget for 10 years for a total of $600 billion to rebuild America's aging infrastructure. If you listen to military spending experts like Chuck Spinney you will recognize that our massive spending does not always make us safer. In fact, at times because there is so little accountability, we develop and depend on systems which don't work. For proof of this consider the V-22 Osprey whose crashes have killed 30 Marines. Its cancellation would save $26 billion. The F-22 is a fighter plane with little advantage over F-15's and F-16's which already have no peer on the planet is unnecessary and wasteful. The savings? - $42 billion. The list could go on and on but few politicians dare tell the American people the truth. The truth is that our massive military spending actually makes us less safe and deprives too many of our citizens of the necessities including universal health care, affordable educations and real job creation programs. The real Republican agenda is to so encumber our nation with debt from tax cuts to the rich and military spending that our social safety nets that express our concern for one another will wither and die. Of course, ultimately we must also recognize that this short-sighted greed and desire for empire will ultimately destroy our economy and finally erode our ability to fund our military. The proof for this is evident in the "recovery" our president is currently touting in which no new jobs are being created and white collar jobs are now hemorrhaging

Imagine what a small fraction of these wasteful programs could do in building friendships and decreasing terrorism around the world. You don't buy friends but you do expose your soul when you stoop to help those with little. Does anyone seriously believe that bigger bombs will aid our fight against terrorism more than building global friendships? The Pew Research Group has documented how our war on Iraq has weakened global support for our war on terrorism. Remember that 19 people with box cutters murdered 3,000 Americans, not an enemy with a new high-tech weapon. But still the military-industrial-congressional complex uses fear to feed the war profiteers for wars that need not be fought and which will all of us less safe.

Imagine how the rest of the views the United States when we tell them that we will not accept their development of nuclear weapons while we trivialize their immense dangers by developing battlefield nukes. Of course, this insensitivity coupled with our illegal war on Iraq and pursuit of a destabilizing missile shield has pushed the world into a new arms race. The object lesson of Iraq v. N. Korea: Get a nuclear weapon or two and they will deal with you differently. Of course, the fact that the U.S. went to war based on lies and now feels comfortable in attacking anyone around the world based on such lies sends a totally counterproductive message to the rest of the world."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Oppose. Senator Lieberman opposed attempts to repeal the PLYWD restrictions during the FY04 Defense Authorization process; he believes that any moves to diminish the so-called "nuclear firebreak," or any attempts to lower the nuclear threshold are ill advised. He was a primary co-sponsor of S.Res 77, the Senate minority's response to the Administration's stance on non-proliferation and nuclear policy."

2. Do you support or oppose the current plan to deploy a ground-based version of a national missile defense in Alaska and California by the fall of 2004? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's plans for missile defense.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: "Oppose. I support programs designed to protect the United States against the possibility of ballistic missile attack, but I am concerned that the current program is oriented toward the earliest possible deployment rather than the best possible system."

Gov. Howard Dean: "Effective missile defense will be an important part of a Dean Administration's national and homeland security strategy. In the recent Iraq War, we saw our tactical missile defenses effectively engage short-range missile attacks. Over time, our capabilities will expand to longer-range threats, and this is why President Clinton had authorized moving toward a ground-based missile defense for the United States, doing so on a time table that would ensure that the deployment would be capable of actually responding to an attack. A sound program of tactical, theatre and long-range missile defense can enhance our security but only if the systems work and the costs do not keep us from achieving other critical military objectives. The Bush program fails on both counts. It is rushing an untested anti-ICBM system, overspending and not utilizing proven methods of weapons development. My priority will be to integrate missile defense into an overall national and homeland security effort which provides real defense for Americans at home and our forces and friends and allies abroad."

Sen. John Edwards: "The best way for America to defend itself from the threat of missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction is by preventing such weapons from spreading and getting in the wrong hands. That's why we must do much more to support and fund diplomatic efforts to strengthen non-proliferation and disarmament and strengthen the international consensus against weapons of mass destruction. But to ensure that America will be protected in the event diplomacy and prevention fail, I support developing missile defense. We should work with our allies and countries like Russia -- in developing such a system. We must ensure that the resources we spend on such programs are in balance with our spending on other security needs, like non-proliferation and disarmament. And we should not deploy any missile defense system until we are confident it works and have tested it with the most rigorous standards."

Sen. John Kerry: "Oppose"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Oppose. You may be surprised by our main opposition to the missile defense shield is not the fact that it will not work. It isn't even that we may waste $100+ billion on an obsolete system. As we now know all the tests have been rigged and only one could even be partly termed a success. Imagine doing missile intercept tests with homing devices in them. This, of course, imitates what an enemy would do doesn't it? The dishonesty of the tests strain credulity. Sec. Rumsfield has had to admit that we will be deploying a system that will be perfected in the field. Once again the tired rhetoric that "we can't afford to take a chance with national security" is at odds with what our actions really do. We will all be more at risk with such a system. It will encourage proliferation and whole new rounds of weapons development. It would encourage enemies to strike us first or with unconventional weapons. Does anyone seriously believe that such a system will not be quickly circumvented? Certainly the scientific community does not hold out the illusion that such a system will work. Remember as we work on our military budget and export manufacturing jobs, the rest of the world surpasses our technology. These others countries unencumbered with massive military budgets are quickly catching - or surpassing - our technologies. When they are sick of our arrogance and preemption what might these technological super powers then do to an America which can no longer even manufacture VCRs or televisions? The fact is that the mititary system we have developed can't be maintained long term without a change of attitude and policy by our national administration. A Kucinich administration will reduce our military budget AND make us safer over the long run. A Kucinich administration will work with the rest of the world to make all of us safer."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Support. Senator Lieberman believes that any defense in the face of a nuclear missile attack is worth having, and as such he supports the fielding of the interceptor missiles at Ft. Greely, Alaska. However, the Senator believes that while NMD should be a national priority, it should be pursued rationally- with constant testing, evaluation, and progamatic as well as budgetary oversight. He feels that the Administration all too often uses the NMD program as such primarily for political theater, and has strongly disagreed with Administration proposals to do away with flight tests and further program tests."

3. Do you support or oppose a multilateral international ban on placing weapons in space? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's space weapons policy.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: No response as yet.

Gov. Howard Dean: "Space-based assets are an essential component of our nation's security - and crucial to our military's effectiveness. The United States utilizes space for intelligence, communications, navigation, and as part of the architecture of many of our weapons systems. For example, the precision-guided munitions which we have developed - and which allow us to avoid reliance on nuclear weapons - depend in significant part on navigation and communication satellites. As another example, the value of our Special Forces is greatly enhanced through their ability to rely on space assets. Technological development in space will continue and we should not reduce the technological advantages that our military enjoys by prohibiting the use of space for military activities."

Sen. John Edwards: "The United States should be a leader in keeping weapons out of space. Working with our friends and partners, America must work to promote the peaceful use of technology in space, not open a new battlefield. At the same time, we must ensure that our satellites and other assets in space are secure and have the proper defensive counter-measures."

Sen. John Kerry: "Support"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Support. I lead the fight in Congress to ban putting weapons in space. Once again our arrogant efforts at empire have made us all less safe. Great nations act with restraint. They can afford to lead the world towards peace, not war.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Support. Senator Lieberman would support a universal and verifiable ban on permanent weapons in space."

4. Do you support or oppose proposals for a major expansion and acceleration of cooperative threat reduction efforts (including the Nunn-Lugar program), designed to ensure that weapons of mass destruction and their essential ingredients around the world are secured and accounted for as rapidly as possible, reducing the risk that they could fall into the hands of terrorists or hostile states? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's non-proliferation policy toward the former Soviet Union and the rest of the world.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: "Support. Some of the most important work the U.S. does abroad is ensuring that not a single nuclear weapon -- or material that could be used to fabricate a weapon -- proliferates. On this front, as on some many others, the Bush Administration actions have not matched its rhetoric. As President, I will re-prioritize our approach to reducing the threat of a nuclear attack. In particular, about 95 percent of the global nuclear stockpile outside the U.S. is in Russia. Moreover, insecure weapons-grade materials are housed at dozens of mothballed nuclear reactors across the globe. For the sake of our own security and the rest of the world, the U.S. must ensure that bloated, insecure stockpiles in Russia and elsewhere do not fall into the hands of terrorists, hostile regimes, or their allies. The Bush administration has focused far too much on some of the least effective means of preventing a nuclear attack. As President, I will greatly accelerate efforts such as Nunn-Lugar and related programs that work to ensure that nuclear materials and weapons do not proliferate to begin with. In addition, I will supplement those activities with other efforts that attempt to stop the construction or use of a nuclear bomb once material or weapons proliferation has occurred. This work can only be accomplished through wise leadership provided by the United States."

Gov. Howard Dean: "Weapons of mass destruction pose one of the critical challenges to the security of the United States and our allies and friends. As I have said above, diplomacy is one key element in meeting that challenge, and the Cooperative Threat reduction programs are a key part of that diplomacy.

The CTR programs completely eliminated long-range missiles from three countries - Ukraine, Belarus and Kazahkstan - and have helped reduce the number in Russia, still an ongoing effort. Overall, CTR efforts have destroyed 1,700 missiles at minimal cost. In addition, they have helped add security to missile and nuclear sites, thereby mitigating the more pressing threat posed by terrorists' acquisition and use of WMD. CTR has also been an effective means of cooperative diplomacy between the United States and Russia. CTR should be expanded to other countries using additional funds above the current levels. As President, the expansion of CTR programs would be a key priority of a Dean Administration."

Sen. John Edwards: "Halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring they don't fall into the wrong hands, especially terrorist hands, is critical to America's security. We must forge a global coalition against the threat from weapons of mass destruction. We must do much more to support the many disarmament programs already in place to dismantle weapons and prevent access to weapons-grade materials in Russia and the former Soviet states; we must devote the maximum resources necessary to support cooperative threat reduction programs, including Nunn-Lugar."

Sen. John Kerry: "Support"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Support. As you know this administration's attempt to reduce funding for this critical program totally undercuts its stated policy of attempting to reduce weapons of mass destruction. Preventing nuclear materials and other incredibly dangerous technologies from leaving what was the Soviet Union is critical to world peace. Remember Russian scientists without the ability to feed their families are a far greater danger to us than the Bush administration is willing to admit. Yellow cake in Niger would still require massive processing before it would be of any use. The former Soviet Union has enough weapons grade plutonium for tens of thousands of bombs? This is not a future threat. It is real and current. The administrations reluctance to fully fund the decommissioning project is dangerous and shortsighted. Little known but especially dangerous are Russian technological breakthroughs in germ warfare in which the most dangerous of organisms have been gene spliced with others to render deadly diseases untreatable. Terrorists can never be allowed to access these doomsday weapons. These concerns should be front and center for this administration - not a war for oil. And doesn't each passing day give lie to the administration's claims that this war was about weapons of mass destruction?"

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Support. Senator Lieberman supports the CTR program fully, as well as the Cutler-Baker recommendations. He would support an expansion and acceleration of CTR programs past their current levels and scope. He is a strong proponent of non-proliferative measures as opposed to the Administration's extraordinary and almost exclusive reliance on counter-proliferation as a key method for controlling the spread of WMD technology and knowledge throughout the globe."

5. Do you support or oppose the a strategy of aggressive preemptive or preventive military action against other states that may pose security threats as a principal policy choice of the United States? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's plan for dealing with potential weapons of mass destruction threats from abroad.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: "Oppose. President Bush has created a go-it-alone approach and declared the use of preemptive military force the defining characteristic of his national security strategy. A Clark Administration would place our work with Europe and a reinvigorated NATO as a centerpiece of US policy -- and then seek not to rely on preemptive force, but instead the use of diplomatic, political, economic power and international law in support of preventive engagement."

Gov. Howard Dean: "There is also no doubt that a sovereign state has a right to fight a preemptive war against an imminent threat to its vital national security interests. But I have stated many times that the situation in Iraq did not come close to meeting this criterion. A comprehensive effort to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, will be a critical priority for a Dean Administration. Success will require a combination of diplomacy and deterrence, with our military strength making our efforts more effective. On the diplomatic side, our ability to enter into long-term steady and reliable alliances and our policy of extended deterrence have made nuclear weapons acquisition unnecessary for many nations. Effective US diplomacy, with international support embodied in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has reversed proliferation in some countries. Export controls and Cooperative Threat Reduction have denied weapons technology to proliferators. Sound WMD technical intelligence helps to ensure that we have an accurate picture of potential threats. The US also deters potential WMD attacks by our ability to generate an overwhelming and devastating response to their use. Finally, the deployment of defenses against ballistic missile and chemical and biological weapons attack addresses this threat. The Bush Administration has been almost single-minded in its focus on preemptive war as a means to combat proliferation. As President, I would not make this mistake: all means to combat the threat of WMD, cooperative and coercive, multilateral and unilateral, would be employed."

Sen. John Edwards: "We have a right to self-defense. But we must always recognize the larger framework of international law when we make decisions about defending ourselves. Instead, some in the Bush administration seem to believe that military force can and should be used as first resort to meet our foreign policy goals. By elevating the basic concept of self-defense into a so-called "preemption doctrine," the Bush Administration has hurt our credibility in the eyes of the world, and has not made Americans more secure."

Sen. John Kerry: "Oppose. American Presidents have always had a right to preemption to address imminent threats. I support the right of preemption in the face of an imminent threat, but the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is a dangerous departure from the time tested principles of American foreign policy that have kept us safe."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Oppose. I have tried everything in my power to stop this administration's world igniting doctrine of preemption and will continue to do so. Most of all I am proud to have worked with groups like yours to bring about a world of peace because it is the most important issue facing us: our mutual survival or destruction. It's time to look out upon the world for friends - not enemies. Even if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, there was no imminent threat to us and our war clearly violated both the U.N. Charter and the U.S. Constitution. It also weakened the U.N. and important alliances. The pattern of lies employed by this administration as a pretext for this war have hurt us terribly around the world. When the President of the United States referred in his State of the Union Address to a British intelligence report indicating that Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy uranium in Africa, immense damage was done to our integrity around the world. This was the consequence of the revelation that the "proof" was not just forged but already known to be suspect by our intelligence community. Yet, the fabricated evidence was used in the address and later at the U.N. According to a recent Pew Research Study our reach for Empire has softened support for our war on terrorism. This damage must be repaired by the next administration.

In Feb. 2002 I gave a speech in California to the Americans for Democratic Action called "The Prayer for America'" (on my web site at Kucinich.us) in which I challenged this administration's headlong rush to endless war. The chilling effect of the Patriot Act (which I voted against) was also a central concern in the speech. Since then I traveled across America many times to attempt to stop our march to folly speaking to hundreds of groups and on nearly every TV and radio news commentary show never once hedging my condemnation of our horrifying new national policy of "If it makes us nervous, kill it." Incidentally by "folly" I am referring to the Barbara Tuchman's description: "Countries who do things that are actually against their long term self interests despite warnings from informed people at the time is folly." While my efforts did not stop the war they have given this administration and those who helped them wage aggressive war little room to declare "We had no idea our intelligence was flawed." I knew that it was and so did millions of people in the streets.

I have spent my adult life as a peace activist from protesting the Vietnam War to proposing a Department of Peace in Congress . My proposal for a Department of Peace is intended to work on both the international level to promote understanding between countries and groups and on the local educational level to promote non-violent methods of resolving disputes. It is an idea whose time has come."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Oppose. Senator Lieberman believes that all states throughout history have had a strategic option of preemption, but that to make such an option into a strategic doctrine is ill-advised, at best. The Senator believes in 'carrots' as well as 'sticks:' namely, that states must be given incentives as well as disincentives to forswear WMD."

6. Do you support or oppose negotiations with North Korea that would include providing North Korea with strong incentives to verifiably end its nuclear weapons program? Please feel free to discuss your Administration's plan for dealing with the nuclear weapons program of North Korea.

Support

Oppose

Gen. Wesley Clark: "Support."

Gov. Howard Dean: "Unfortunately, the Bush Administration's mishandling of this crisis has made this outcome more, not less, likely. Contrary to this Administration's view, engagement is not appeasement, and it is time for a coherent approach that will effectively deal with this crisis

== Negotiate a resolution of this issue with North Korea - but do so from strength. We are the strongest nation in the world; North Korea is one of the most backward and isolated.

==Articulate a redline, making clear that the US - and it allies especially Japan and South Korea - will not tolerate NK's production of nuclear weapons

==Offer a declaration of peaceful intentions and economic exchanges - supported by our allies especially South Korea and Japan - in exchange for verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.

==Utilize a program of intrusive inspections to generate verifiability of any agreement.

==Develop an economic program with South Korea, Japan, and China that will generate change in the North Korean society

==Negotiate a resolution of this issue with North Korea - but do so from strength. We are the strongest nation in the world; North Korea is one of the most backward and isolated."

Sen. John Edwards: "The United States should always try to resolve differences with other countries through diplomatic efforts, whenever possible with the cooperation of allies and the relevant international institutions. Regarding the crisis in North Korea, I believe that the U.S. must deal with North Korea firmly and directly. The North Korean regime is one of the world's most repressive, brutal and dangerous dictatorships, and there are no guarantees that it will prove willing to negotiate in meaningful diplomacy. But we have to test them. Our urgent priority must be to shut down North Korea's nuclear program. Then, we have to try to put North Korea on a path of political and economic openness. We should demand 'more for more' we should demand that North Korea commit to full nuclear disarmament, verifiable country-wide international inspections and non-proliferation, and we should be prepared to offer something in return, such as assistance for their food and energy needs."

Sen. John Kerry: "Support"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Support. Last summer I held a public briefing with experts on North Korea because it was truly the real crisis we were facing. Instead of facing a real problem our administration went off to conduct an elective war and ignored the real danger facing our citizens. Of course I endorse speaking with potential adversaries. Is anyone surprised that North Korea has acted the way it has? Watching the U.S. administration demonize Saddam Hussein and then attack him in violation of the U.N. Charter after swearing that we had proof of weapons of mass destruction did make them more paranoid. Our arrogance and dishonesty were on display for all the world and our standing even amongst friendly nations nosedived. Concern and sympathy which had existed after 9-11 was just frittered away. How can we be safer when even citizens of friendly nations consider us to be the greatest danger to world peace?  

A Kucinich administration would be able to approach the North Koreans because we would have demonstrated that we speak the truth and do not wish to subjugate other countries for our own self interest. I would not be reluctant to extend the olive branch to North Korea and travel there personally to assuage many of their fears. Certainly, financial incentives should be used to invite the North Koreans back into the family of nations. Saber rattling will not help defuse this very real threat to our and the world's safety.

Let's be candid. This administration's footdragging and clumsy attempts to handle this true crisis have made us all less safe. The North Koreans have been in a race for more than a year to produce additional nuclear weapons. Also remember, the Taipong II missile when perfected will reach the United States. Iraq posed no such threat.

But, not to worry say our leaders. Imagine our Secetary of Defense telling Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" that Iraq was a greater danger than North Korea! In other words, a country with nuclear weapons - not programs or blueprints - a million man army, starving people and a despotic leader willing to sell technology to the highest bider need not be viewed with the same concern as a broken third world country with only remnants of a conventional military force and no usable weapons of mass destruction.

Totally irrational statements like this from our administration make the rest of the world - especially "old" Europe look at us with disbelief. They don't know if we are pathological liars or just very stupid. Or even worse, both."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "Support. Senator Lieberman believes that no option should be taken off the table. He believes that a nation as powerful as the United States must never be afraid to engage in a dialogue. He supported the Clinton/Albright "Agreed Framework" accords with North Korea, and would support such measures again."

 

 

Additional Kucinich comments: I would like to make a couple of other statements on issues of war and peace that are so near to my heart. First, I would like to address how we can reconcile the rift between the U.S. and other U.N. member nations.

I must thank the Rev. Al Sharpton for one (actually for many) of the best comments of the campaign when he said, "Duct tape can't replace diplomacy." The dangerous rift between the U.S. and most of the world including countries we normally consider friends can only be repaired by dropping our arrogant "Our way or the highway attitude." We must renew our commitment to peace and diplomacy so that America will return to its role as the most-admired - not hated - nation. Our security will be enhanced by working with other nations and the U.N. instead of acting like an Empire,arrogantly undermining international agreements such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Small Arms Treaty, the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Climate Treaty. As president, I would work to implement two measures I sponsored in Congress: the Space Preservation Treaty which bans space-based weapons which I discussed in an earlier question and a cabinet-level Department of Peace to establish non-violence as an organizing principle in both domestic and international affairs.

Clearly, one way to repair a rift is to apologize. It's time for America to apologize to "Old Europe" which warned us that Iraq was not an imminent threat with simple words: "We were wrong and you were right. Next time we will work together." Still this administration inexplicably harbors a grudge against nations who happened to be right on Iraq while we were wrong. Predictably while the Madison Avenue spinmeisters of the Republican Party continue to demonize French products in public their corporate benefactors will show up in force at the French Air Show to sell arms.

Next I would like to discuss how we could prevent another U.S.-supported regime from misusing funds, committing human rights violations, and emerging as a new enemy with arms and training we have provided.

It's time to be straight with the American people. The Iraqi people should now choose their own leaders under the auspices of the U.N. To isolate our soldiers there with targets on their uniforms while we determine what their country must be is arrogant and certainly counter productive. It also confirms the world opinion that to the victors go the spoils and that this war was truly about oil. Our use of Iraqi National Congress members like Ahmed Chalabi led us to make erroneous conclusions about weapons of mass destructions before the war and now alientates our friends in the region. Jordan, for example, a special friend is incensed by the push of this administration's neo-conservatives to install Mr. Chalabi as a leader in Iraq. Keep in mind that Mr. Chalabi was found guilty in a Jordanian court of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars. I don't think it is uncharitable to say that he doesn't appear to offer the credentials of someone we should entrust with billions of dollars. Doesn't it amaze you that the "liberal media" infrequently mentions this small event in his past?

Openness is the answer to the quagmire that is rapidly developing in Iraq. It is time to reconcile ourselves with the world community and to take our heavy hands off the country. This will lead to a world effort to help rebuilt Iraq for their people - not for outside interests.

The U. S. must come into alignment with international laws and treaties such as the International Criminal Court, Kyoto Protocol, and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

I sued the Bush administration for dropping out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and lost when the court decided he had that right. One of my first acts as president would be to take that court established authority and to rejoin the world community as a good neighbor and partner in those treaties. The International Criminal Court is essential if we wish to punish the Saddam Husseins of the world without resorting to war. Our contention that it would be used to unfairly target Americans has yet to be seen and should be first proven before we drop out of a court with a truly noble goal. A goal we should embrace in reality not just in rhetoric as we do when we now tell the world we went into Iraq to stop a brutal dictator but do little to stop other butchers around the planet.



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