What is the lesson of the Iraq war?
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
We shouldn't have to shed our open-endedness, says Kennedy.
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