Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009
Late U.S. Senator (D) Massachusetts
02:22

What is the lesson of the Iraq war?

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We shouldn't have to shed our open-endedness, says Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009

Senator Edward M. Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-six years. He was elected in 1962 to finish the final two years of the Senate term of his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, who was elected President in 1960.  Ted Kennedy was re-elected to seven full terms.

Throughout his career, Kennedy fought for issues that benefited the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation. His primary focus was making quality health care accessible and affordable to every American, but he was also active in education reform and immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

Kennedy died after a long battle with brain cancer on  August 25, 2009.  He was 77. 

Transcript

Ted Kennedy: Well the overarching lesson was don’t go to war unless you’re imminently threatened. That’s don’t commit American troops to battle unless you have also a plan about how you’re going to bring the American troops back, and bring them back victoriously.

And also the lesson is from the 9/11, is who attacked us in 9/11? And shouldn’t we give focus and attention on who attacked us, which was Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, rather than diverting our focus and attention off into a different direction. This is the great foreign policy disaster of our time.

And the final point I would make is that we are effectively outsourcing our national security and our foreign policy to Iraqi politicians. We are making an open-ended commitment that Americans are going to stay there until they get their act together. I do not believe that we ought to commit American servicemen, to have them lose their lives, shed their blood in the streets of Baghdad. I don’t think we ought to have an open-endedness in terms of the American tax payer ‘til the Iraqi politicians decide that they want to have reconciliation.

Every military leader that has appeared before our committee--I’m on the Arms Services Committee and I’ve listened carefully to all of them. General [David] Petraeus, General [George W.] Casey [Jr.], I’ve listened to them all. General [William L.] Nash. I’ve listened to General _________ from Massachusetts, highly decorated Marine. And every one of them says that there’s not the military solution. You have to have military and reconciliation. The military has done everything it’s been asked to do for the last four and a half years [i.e. from 2003 to 2007]. They’ve done it bravely. They’ve done it with courage. They’ve done it with valor. They deserve a policy that recognizes their courage and valor, and this administration [i.e. the George W. Bush administration] does not have one.

 

Recorded on: September 14, 2007


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