Friday, September 24, 2004

Kerry's Premption Plan circa 1997

In the spirit of link whorage, I am going to link to the hat tip I gave to my buds at Kerry Haters. By the way, I hate the term, "hat tip." I prefer to thank people by saying, "thank you, X."

Anyway, the quip of the day found in the Washington Times today is the following:
During a 1997 debate on CNN's "Crossfire," Sen. John Kerry, now the Democratic presidential nominee, made the case for launching a pre-emptive attack against Iraq.

So reveals Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, who appeared with Mr. Kerry on the program.

Mr. King says the U.N. Security Council had just adopted a resolution against Iraq that was watered down at the behest of the French and the Russians. Yet the candidate who now criticizes President Bush for ignoring French and Russian objections to the Iraq war blasted the two countries, claiming that they were compromised by their business dealings with Baghdad.

"We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians," said Mr. Kerry.

"We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest."

While no "Crossfire" transcripts from 1997 are available, Mr. King in recent days produced a tape of the show, sharing it with New York radio host Monica Crowley for broadcast, and this Inside the Beltway column for publication. Stay tuned.
UPDATE!!!: It appears the Washington Times needs to post a retraction and quick. The above account, from the transcript given to me in the comments section--and vetted with the folks on the Kerry Spot at NRO--seems to be the bad memory and wishful, partisan memory of Rep. King.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are indeed CNN transcripts from 1997 - you just need to know where to look. Try using Lexis-Nexis sometime. And by the way, there is no such statement by Senator Kerry from the Crossfire segment you are talking about. The text is down below, and of course if you search 1997 CNN transcripts for John Kerry with Lexis-Nexis, you can find it there, too.

Copyright 1997 Cable News Network
All Rights Reserved


November 12, 1997; Wednesday 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Transcript # 97111200V20


SECTION: News; Domestic

LENGTH: 3756 words

HEADLINE: United Nations Security Council Votes on Iraq Weapons Inspections

GUESTS: LEXIS-NEXIS Related Topics Full Article Related Topics Overview

This document contains no targeted Topics.

BYLINE: John Sununu, Bill Press

Tonight's show focuses on the vote by the United Nations Security Council to Iraq to let U.N. weapons resume or else. That's the message sent to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today in a resolution adopted 15 to nothing by the U.N. Security Council.>

BILL PRESS, CROSSFIRE (voice-over): Tonight, all 15 security council members vote to condemn Iraq.

BILL RICHARDSON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: The old coalition is back. There is unanimity in a very strong sense that the international community is not going to tolerate continued action by the Iraqis.

PRESS (voice-over): Is the old coalition back or has it fallen apart under Bill Clinton?

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, CROSSFIRE. On the left, Bill Press. On the right, John Sununu. In the crossfire, on Capitol Hill, Republican Congressman Pete King of New York, member of the International Relations Committee, and in Boston, Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

PRESS: Good evening. Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Let U.N. weapons inspections resume or else.

(voice-over): That's the message sent to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today in a resolution adopted 15 to nothing by the U.N. Security Council. That resolution, however, did not do what the United States wanted, it did not include any direct threat of military action if Iraq fails to comply because Russia, China and France refuse to go that far. For its part, Iraq remains adamant. Even before the vote, Iraqi officials accused the United States of blackmailing allies and later today they repeated Iraq's refusal to accept international inspection teams which include American citizens and repeated their threat to shoot down U.S. reconnaissance planes, an action that President Clinton has warned could trigger a direct U.S. military strike against Iraq.

(on camera): So, six years after the Persian Gulf, it's deja vu all over again, the United States versus Iraq, and that's tonight's CROSSFIRE. Is the U.N. resolution strong enough? Is the United States tough enough and whatever happened to that broad coalition of support we enjoyed six years ago? John?

JOHN SUNUNU, CROSSFIRE: Senator Kerry, in fact, in spite of the administration claiming it has restored unanimity, that has not occurred. All the strength of this resolution had to be pulled out of it get any votes at all other than our own. Isn't this exercise actually counterproductive in sending a signal to Iraq that the coalition still remains frayed?

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, John, you're correct that this resolution is less than we would have liked. I don't think anybody can deny that we would have liked it to have threatened force and we would have liked it to carry the term serious consequences will flow. On the other hand, the coalition is together. I mean the fact is there is a unanimous statement by the security council and the United Nations that there has to be immediate, unrestricted, unconditional access to the sites. That's very strong language. And it also references the underlying resolution on which the use of force is based. So clearly the allies may not like it, and I think that's our great concern -- where's the backbone of Russia, where's the backbone of France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity, but in a sense, they're now climbing into a box and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq.

SUNUNU: But senator, the whole process of presenting this through the security council had each of those allies you have mentioned giving a warning in fact to the U.S.. Let's take a look at what each one of 'em had to say. First of all, France said, "The resolution doesn't encourage nor does it justify any escalation." Russia said, "Actions involving force or threatening the use of force could wipe out all of our achievements." And China said, in that very same debate, "We are opposed to the use of force or the threat of force or any actions that might further exasperate tensions. This whole process gave our allies an opportunity not only not to follow America's leadership, not only not to allow us to lead, but to tell us we'd better not do what the president is now saying he might do.

KERRY: Well, John, there's absolutely no statement that they have made or that they will make that will prevent the United States of America and this president or any president from acting in what they believe are the best interests of our country. And obviously it's disappointing. It was disappointing a month ago not to have the French and the Russians understanding that they shouldn't give any signals of weakening on the sanctions and I think those signals would have helped bring about this crisis because they permitted Saddam Hussein to interpret that maybe the moment was right for him to make this challenge.

SUNUNU: But isn't what he has seen is a loss of U.S. leadership and an erosion under an administration that has failed to lead?

KERRY: On the contrary. The administration is leading. The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war.

PRESS: Congressman King, let me pick up there and look at the United States' action over this crisis of the last couple of weeks. It seems to me that the president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the ambassador to the U.N. on one track have been warning Saddam Hussein you either are going to comply or you face the threat of a U.S. military strike. At the same time on a second track they've been trying, through diplomatic means, to bring our allies abroad. Isn't that the tough, responsible, correct course of action for the United States?

REP. PETE KING, (R), NEW YORK, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE: No. Only if it turns out that President Clinton is able to get the allies behind him the way President Bush got the allies behind him in 1990 and 1991. I think Bill Richardson is doing the best job he can at the U.N., but that resolution is not strong enough. The conduct of our so-called allies, especially the French, is absolutely despicable and disgraceful. I mean, you would have thought France would have learned something back in June of 1940. But the fact is that what has to happen now is I think President Clinton has to try to show the same talent and ability that George Bush did in 1990 and 1991, do whatever has to be done behind-the-scenes using diplomacy, using cajolery, using whatever means at his disposal to present a united front. Because what we're doing here is we're sending Saddam Hussein a very mixed message and when you give a dictator and someone such as he, a psychopath such as he is such a mixed message, it just increases the chance that we will have to use force. So I think if it's essential that the president do what he can behind-the-scenes diplomatically to line up the allies behind us, but as Senator Kerry said, in the end, the United States has to, in any event, reserve the right to use whatever force is necessary, because this is a real crisis.

PRESS: Congressman, other than John Sununu, nobody but George Bush knows how difficult it was to put that coalition together. He knows what it takes on the part of a president. So listen to what George Bush himself last week said about what President Clinton's, this week, actually, earlier this week said about President Clinton's handling of this latest Iraqi crisis.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: I think he's got to comply with these resolutions. We must not be alone, but even if we are alone in making the tough decisions, we've got to do what's right and I support President Clinton in trying to get others to come along with us and insist that Saddam Hussein follow the letter and the, well, everything about the United Nations resolutions.

PRESS: Sounds to me, congressman, like President Bush is saying that George, that Bill Clinton is doing the right thing, he's trying to get these other nations to come alone. You can't blame Clinton if France doesn't see everything our way, can you?

KING: Yes, you can. The fact is that I think Bill Clinton is trying to do the right thing but in the, you know, the bottom line is it's results that are the pay off. That's how you judge someone is by the results and the fact is George Bush did have a tough time in 1990 and 1991, but he was able to get the job done and I'm just hoping that Bill Clinton will get ...


KING: But all of us stand behind the president. Let's make that clear.

PRESS: Yeah, but congressman, speaking of results, three weeks ago Russia and China and France said no even to the sanctions that were adopted today. Today they were unanimously on board. They're moving in our directions. The next vote they'll probably be there for military action, don't you agree?

KING: Well, if they are, then I'll be the first to give President Clinton credit, believe me. No one is looking to take partisan advantage of this. What I'm saying is that he can't just hide behind the fact by saying it's hard to deal with the French, it's hard to deal with the Russians, it's hard to deal with the Chinese. It was also hard for President Bush, who still had a communist government in the Soviet Union but was still able to line them up and stand with us on this, in the Gulf War. So that's, again, you judge somebody by the results.

SUNUNU: Senator Kerry, I think the issue that concerns a lot of us who have seen the process in the past and have been watching what has been going on now is that the previous administration, President Bush, Jim Baker worked to weave the fabric before rolling out the goods and the tough talk. This administration's got the tough talk now, but it let the fabric get unraveled and that is the problem. We have to at least understand that failure if we want to move forward correctly.

KERRY: John, again, I think you're prejudging this. I mean, the fact is that over a period of time France and Russia have indicated a monetary interest. They on their own have indicated the desire to do business. That's what's driving this. I mean, as Tom Freedman (ph) said in a great article the other day, France, Inc. wants to do business with oil and they are moving in the exact sort of opposite direction on their own from the very cause of the initial conflict, which was oil.

SUNUNU: But that's not new, Senator Kerry. You're pretending that this desire...

KERRY: Correct, but ...

SUNUNU: ...of commercial interest is new. That's always been there. They were there in 1990, they were there in '91, they were in the tough times and they stood with us.

KERRY: Correct, absolutely correct, and I believe, and they stood with us today and I am saying to you that it is my judgment that by standing with us today and calling for the unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, you know, access, they have now taken a stand that they are duty bound to enforce and if Saddam Hussein doesn't do that, the president, I think, has begun a process which you remember very well, John, was not done in one week, in one day, in one month. It took months to weave together the fabric to lead up to an understanding of what was at stake. I am convinced that many people have not yet even focused in full measure on what is at stake.

SUNUNU: All right ...

KERRY: This is not just a minor confrontation. This is a very significant issue about the balance of power, about the future stability of the Middle East, about all of what we have thus far invested in the prior war and what may happen in the future.

SUNUNU: Thank you. We'll be back in a second, senator, but when we do, before we come back, let's listen to some words of wisdom from the previous administration.


I think the United States is quite comfortable with all its coalition partners.

I think the coalition stayed together quite well both in terms of dealing with the hostilities and overall issues.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, SECRETARY OF STATE: Frankly, what Saddam Hussein tried to do was to drive a wedge through the coalition and the unity in the security council, but instead he ran into a brick wall.




MOHAMMED SAID AL-SAHAF, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: What we are witnessing of the historic preparation to adopt a new seek resolution, it is the product of the American blackmailing.

RICHARDSON: That's rubbish. That's Iraqi delay tactics, Iraqi tactics of non-compliance. We reject those arguments.


SUNUNU: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. More than six years after the Bush administration led the Gulf War coalition in a war against Iraq, President Saddam Hussein is again posing problems for the Clinton White House. But if it comes down to a military response, will this administration have the same support from the allies as in the past? We're posing that question to Senate Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts. He's a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and he is in Boston. And Republican Congressman Pete King of New York, he's a member of the International Relations Committee. Bill?

PRESS: Congressman King, three times, January '93, June '93 and September '96, President Clinton sent U.S. missiles against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Any doubt in your mind he'd be willing to do it again?

KING: I think the president ultimately will do what he has to do. I'm not here to bash President Clinton on this issue. I am saying, though, that we can't fall into the position of allowing

excuses to be made by saying that the allies are being recalcitrant. It's up to the president to do all that he possibly can to get them on board using whatever pressure has to be done and also to let Saddam Hussein know, to let him know for certain that we are willing to use whatever force is necessary because this is a very, very critical situation.

PRESS: All right, let's get specific congressman. You're a member of the House International Committee. What do you advise the president to do tonight now?

KING: Well, first of all, most of this has to be done behind- the-scenes. I mean, as John was there with George Bush in the White House, these are things, when you're talking about diplomacy where the fabric is woven, where you know who to deal with, who to -- what buttons to push, exactly what has to be done. That is really up to the president. That is statecraft. No one can tell him how to do it.

PRESS: Are you ...

KING: That's something that he and his foreign policy advisers have to do and you judge them by the results.

PRESS: Are you suggesting, are you calling for a military, U.S. military strike against Iran now before...


PRESS: Iraq, I'm sorry, before any other United Nations action is taken?

KING: No, I'm saying is that very soon, though, we would have to use the threat of military force because as Bill Richardson said that this, these are delaying tactics brought about by the Iraqis and this is very serious. When you're talking about biological warfare and when you're talking about the fact that they've already adjusted the cameras, they've already fooled around with the equipment which gauges the air, they've already moved some of the devices away from the U.N. inspectors. This is a very, very serious situation and I'm saying that we would have to, I think, threaten very severe military action at an early date. Now exactly what that would be is obviously, we have to get more information on it, but based on I think what all of us know, it is very, very critical and not too much time more can be wasted.

SUNUNU: Senator Kerry, you, rightly so, pointed out some of the commercial interests in France that may be tickling this whole process. Let's take a specific action in which this administration didn't do, in my opinion, what it should have done. A few weeks ago, Total (ph) entered into a commercial agreement in Iran. Total is a French petroleum company.

KERRY: Right, petroleum company.

SUNUNU: After we had policies in place in which the allies would not do that. We did nothing. We squeaked not at all. Why, then, do we think that that was not a signal to Saddam saying you can enter into the same kind of an agreement in the future?

KERRY: Well, John, frankly neither you nor I know that we did nothing. I don't know that for a fact. We certainly didn't publicly, I agree, but I don't know that we did nothing. But it's not the first time France has been very difficult, as the congressman said. I think a lot of us are very disappointed that the French haven't joined us in a number of other efforts with respect to China, with respect to other issues in Asia and elsewhere and also in Europe. These are, this is a disappointment. But the fact is this. The president has, in effect, put military action on the table. Secretary Cohen canceled his trip, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff canceled a trip, troops are deployed, the aircraft carriers are being brandished. There's no misunderstanding here about where the United States is prepared to go and I think that people need to just sort of back off. It's funny how in Washington inevitably there are always distinctions to be found, even if they're only at the margins here, and I would suggest that if all we're doing is suggesting that the president needs to be doing some diplomacy behind-the-scenes, that's not a bad criticism because he's obviously doing that behind the scenes.

SUNUNU: OK, let's talk then -- suppose we get through this crisis. There will be other opportunities for us to display leadership and other opportunities and obligations to deal with our allies. Once we get through this crisis what do you recommend to the president to do to our friends like China, to our friends like France, to Russia on what they ought to be doing as part of leadership roles, followership roles in dealing with these kinds of issues?

KERRY: Well, I think that what has been missing in the past half the multilateral effort. There's this perception people have, particularly, some of the dissenters to MFN policy and other policies in the United States that we can just stand up on our own and have the economic clout in today's world to punish those who don't do what we want to do. Those days are gone. And it is important for the United States to build a stronger multilateral effort. We have ...

SUNUNU: How? How? How?

KERRY: John, we have many, many things at our disposal, not the least of which -- I think this is part of what the most recent fast- track debate has been about is whether or not market access and other kinds of things don't need to somehow be part of this. Whether we can have this just run away sense of sort of robber bearing capitalism versus a more enlightened capitalism that is somehow associating certain values with our actions.

SUNUNU: Are you saying the message on French wines is the most effective way to deal with their recalsa trends (ph) the middle east?

KERRY: No I am saying there are many other things with respect to our relationships, other things that matter to them, other places to place votes as we did last year, for instance the vote we pressed last year in Geneva John at the Human Rights Commission. I think that was an important effort. It should have gotten more coverage.

PRESS: Senator, senator, real short on time here I want to get a quick question in to Pete King. Pete, Liberals like me like to quote

conservative Mona Sharon this morning in the "Washington Times" says this whole thing goes back to terrible mistake made by Colin Powell and a decision made by Bush, when we had a chance to take out Saddam Hussein we did not do it. Do you agree we would have been better to do it back then, congressman?

KING: Yeah, I think in hindsight we should have but the fact is bush did get the job done 98 percent. I am saying if Clinton gets the job done as bush did, as effective as George Bush was, that the United States will prevail and we'll come out on top of this. As far as the French we have to let them day in and day out, when the crisis is over. When it is over, we have to let them know we're not going to let them to continue to deal with their enemies the way they do with Iran, and the way they're trying to do with Iraq.

All right, congressman 98 percent as they say. Not bad for government work. Thank you Pete King for coming in this evening. John Kerry, thank you for being there with us again. John Sununu and I resolve when we come back with our closing comments.


PRESS: Pete King thank you for being with us. John Sununu and I will I am Joie Chen at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, just ahead judgment day for the man accused of masterminding the deadly world trade center center bombing also Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein remains defiant in new United Nations demands. The latest ...


SUNUNU: Bill, this is a crisis. We all do support President Clinton on this. But the point that I was trying to make tonight is that leadership is not tough talk in a crisis. It is the hard day to day work that creates respect amongst your allies that has them follow you when you need them. They didn't follow us a couple weeks ago. At least they've come back. We should never have lost them.

PRESS: I think, you know, John, you have to understand, you do, the countries are not like sheep. You can't herd them. They're like kittens, they run all over the place, they're hard to keep together, but you know what? Saddam Hussein acts, that coalition will be there, John.

SUNUNU: But like sheep, you've got to pay attention to 'em on a day to day basis. This administration hasn't done that.

PRESS: From the left, I'm Bill Press. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

SUNUNU: And from the right, I'm John Sununu. Join us again tomorrow night for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

LOAD-DATE: November 12, 1997

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