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Joseph Lieberman on War & Peace

Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Saddam's overthrow caused Libya & Iran to capitulate

Q: Do you think that Libya would have given up its WMD if the US had not invaded Iraq?

A: I seriously doubt whether Libya would have given up its weapons of mass destruction if we had not overthrown Saddam Hussein, and if the Iranians would have allowed international inspectors come in and looked at their nuclear weapons sites if we had not done that. I've worked to keep our military strong and to know that in a dangerous world, sometimes you have to use that power against dangerous people.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC Jan 29, 2004

We made the right decision to send soldiers to Iraq

DEAN: We have lost 500 soldiers and 2,200 wounded in Iraq. Those soldiers were sent there by the vote of Senator Lieberman and Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards. I would have voted against that resolution.

LIEBERMAN: We made the right decision. I didn't need George Bush to convince me that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. John McCain and I wrote the law that made it national policy to change the regime in Baghdad. This man was a homicidal maniac, killed hundreds of thousands of people, did have weapons of mass destruction in the '90s, used them against the Kurdish Iraqis and the Iranians, admitted to the UN he had enough chemical and biological to kill millions of people, supported terrorism, tried to assassinate former President Bush. I repeat: We are safer with Saddam Hussein in prison than in power.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Iraq victory opens door to Israeli-Palestinian peace

Q: What's the correct road map now for Israel and the Palestinians?

LIEBERMAN: The overthrow and then capture of Saddam Hussein has made America safer and made the world safer. It has not ended all of our problems or all the threats to our security, but a president has to deal with more than one threat at a time. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict directly related. We have to stay the course in Iraq now and continue to build a stable, modernizing, democratizing country there. That will show the Arab world what happens as a result of American intervention, that you live better, freer lives, and will send a message to terrorists that we mean business.

Between the Israelis and the Palestinians, there is only one good solution, it is a two-state solution. As president, I would devote time, commit my secretary of state to it, appoint a special ambassador to be there to work with both sides to move along the path to peace. The doors are open now, in part because of our victory in Iraq.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

US and world are safer with homicidal maniac Saddam gone

LIEBERMAN: The overthrow and then capture of Saddam Hussein has made America safer and made the world safer.

DEAN: I beg to differ. Saddam is a dreadful person and I'm delighted to see him behind bars. But since Saddam Hussein has been caught, we've lost 23 additional troops; we now have, for the first time, American fighter jets escorting commercial airliners through American airspace. Saddam Hussein has been a distraction [from fighting Al Qaeda].

LIEBERMAN: We had good faith differences on the war against Saddam. But I don't know how anybody could say that we're not safer with a homicidal maniac, a brutal dictator, an enemy of the US, a supporter of terrorism, a murderer of hundreds of thousands of his own people in prison instead of in power. To say that we haven't obliterated all terrorism with Saddam in prison is a little bit like saying somehow that we weren't safer after WWII after we defeated Hitler because Stalin and the communists were still in power.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Stabilize Iraq before pulling out the troops

Q: Does anyone have a time frame for when the US troops can be pulled out?

A: We've learned from history, you cannot set a time line in this kind of situation. You've got to set a goal line. Because if you set a time line by which you're going to exit, your enemy will lay back and then strike when you leave. The goal is to stabilize Iraq. When that happens, we can leave.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

$87B for Iraq was unpopular, but that's leadership

Q: In our poll, 64% opposed Pres. Bush's request for $87 billion for Iraq & Afghanistan. The opposition was much higher, 85%, among Democrats. Is your support for the Iraq war costing you support among Democratic primary voters?

A: To me leadership is about doing what you believe is right for the country whether it is politically popular or not. That is the way I felt about my vote in support of the $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a lot of money. We could use a lot of it here at home, but we had a choice to make. I didn't duck it and I didn't play politics around it. I did what I thought was right to support the 135,000 American soldiers that are there. To finish the job of helping the Iraqi people to build a new country. I hope people who don't agree with me on this particular vote will decide that they want someone as their president who does what he believes is right, particularly when it is controversial. That is what I mean when I say I will lead America with integrity.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Wants two-state solution in Middle East without terrorism

Q: How much are you willing to do to win the trust of the Palestinian people?

LIEBERMAN: The only solution is a two-state solution; peaceful, free Israel next to peaceful, independent Palestine. And the first step must be an end to terrorism. Would I negotiate with terrorist groups? Not while they're terrorists. But, I believe that people are capable of change.

SHARPTON: Would you meet with the head of the Palestinian Authority?

LIEBERMAN: I did not meet with Arafat. Clinton gave him an offer of Palestinian statehood, along with former Prime Minister Barak, that came that close to being enacted, but he turned against it. I would not hesitate to have the US mediate between Israelis and any Palestinian leader who really had declared war against terrorism. Unfortunately, Arafat has not done that. As long as he's there, there's not going to be a real chance for peace.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Leadership means consistency on war views

Q: Please respond to the variety of opinions expressed by your rivals on the Iraq war.

LIEBERMAN: This is a test of leadership. I don't know how John Kerry and John Edwards can say they support the war but oppose funding. I've been over Clark's record. He took six positions on whether going to war was right.

EDWARDS: Leadership is standing up for what you believe in. I believe Saddam was a threat; I voted for the congressional resolution. Then the president says, "I want $87 billion." I am not willing to give a blank check.

KERRY: I have the experience of being on the front lines when the policy has gone wrong. Our troops are in greater danger because this president's been unwilling to share the burden.

CLARK: I want to make it clear that I would not have voted on $87 billion. The best welfare for the troops is a winning strategy. We ought to call on our commander in chief to produce it. He ought to produce it before he gets one additional penny.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Yes on $87B for Iraq-we must support troops

Q: [Bush has asked for] $87 billion for the ongoing war on terrorism. Your vote, yes or no, and if yes, how do you pay for $87 billion?

LIEBERMAN: [Repealing the top tax cuts] is certainly my first choice as to how we should finance this $87 billion. The fact is that the only Americans sacrificing today for our policy in Iraq are the 140,000 Americans who are there in uniform for us. If George Bush had a better, more multilateral foreign policy, we wouldn't have to finance this alone.

But we have no choice but to finance this program for two reasons. We have those 140,000 American troops there. We need to protect them. We need to protect them and bring them home safe to their families. Secondly, we are involved in a great battle in the war on terrorism. Those terrorists have poured in there. They're attacking Americans. They're attacking the institutions of civilization: the United Nations, Jordanian embassy, Muslim mosques. We cannot afford to lose this fight.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Failure is not an option in War on Terror

Q: Vietnam comparisons are now creeping up in Iraq. Is there a point that you feel it's fair for the US to cut bait and bring the troops home?

LIEBERMAN: What President Bush gave the American people on Sunday night was a price tag, not a plan. And we in Congress must demand a plan. The president, when he took us to war, which I supported, did not have a plan for what to do the day Saddam Hussein fell. We have a right to demand a plan today, how to get international peacekeepers in, how to get our allies in to help in the rebuilding of Iraq. I would be prepared as president to send American troops in there to protect the 140,000 who are there today, because international peacekeepers may not be there for months to come. Bottom line, to answer your question -- this is a battle in the war on terrorism. Failure and defeat is not an option. We can win it if we work together.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Pushing Israel out of West Bank is taking sides

Q: You criticized Dr. Dean for just saying that the US shouldn't take sides. What's wrong with a new approach, if we are to be, as Dean suggested, impartial and able to act as a force for negotiation and peace?

LIEBERMAN: All of us have quite correctly criticized Bush for breaking our most critical alliances. That is exactly what Howard Dean's comments over the last week about the Middle East have done. We have had a unique relationship with Israel. Based on values of democracy, and based on mutual military strategic interests. We do not gain strength as a negotiator if we compromise our support of Israel. Dean has said he wouldn't take sides, but then he has said Israel ought to get out of the West Bank.

DEAN: My position on Israel is exactly the same as Bill Clinton's. I want to be an honest broker. We desperately need peace in the Middle East. It doesn't help to demagogue this issue.

LIEBERMAN: Dean's statements break a 50-year record of supporting our relationship with Israel.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

$87B to never leave American troops without support

Q: Will you vote yes or no on the president's request for $87 billion to continue the effort in Iraq?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I'm going to vote for whatever it takes to protect our troops. But you can't say that you want to protect the troops unless you're willing to send more American troops to protect the ones that are there.

Q: So if the president says, "I need $87 billion to protect the troops," you're ready to say yes to that?

LIEBERMAN: The American people have a right to expect that their president will make tough judgments, and then have the courage to stick with them. I know it's more popular to say you don't want to send more troops. Of course I want international troops in there. But we may have to wait six months until they get there and before then, we may have to send troops to protect the 140,000 Americans who are there now. I'm never, as president, going to leave American troops in harm's way without giving them the support and protection they need.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

Not an inch of difference from Bush on Iraq

Q: You said in the past that there is not an inch of difference between President Bush and yourself in the war against Iraq. Still?

LIEBERMAN: That statement was made as we were about to go to war. It expressed the best traditions and values of the US, which is when American men and women in uniform go into battle, there's not an inch of space between any of us on that question.

Look, long before George Bush became president, I reached a conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US and to the world, and particularly to his own people who he was brutally suppressing. I believe that the war against Saddam was right, and that the world is safer with him gone. I said last fall and then again a month before the war, "Mr. President, here's what you have to do to get ready to secure post-Saddam Iraq." No planning was done by this administration. I believe it's because this administration divided within itself, and the president as commander in chief has not brought it together.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Purpose of war is to let Iraqis control Iraq

As president, I would have gone to NATO and the UN and asked them to join us in securing and rebuilding Iraq. I would have brought the Iraqis in, to control of the country. I didn't support the war against Saddam Hussein so we could control Iraq. Quite the contrary. I supported it so we could get rid of Saddam and let the Iraqis control Iraq. So I would negotiate whatever resolution at the UN will draw our allies with us into keeping the peace and rebuilding the country.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Send more US troops to Iraq, with UN force

Q: You would send more troops to Iraq?

LIEBERMAN: I would send more troops, because the troops that are there need that protection. And we need some of the specialized services that will help the Iraqis gain control of their country, and mean that sooner American troops could come home. Obviously, Americans have to control an international force. But a year ago I called for an international force.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Iraq was a heroic struggle against enemies of civilization

You know what I would say to the parents of Americans who are serving in Iraq? Your sons and daughters are serving in a heroic and historic cause. They have thrown over Saddam Hussein, liberated a people and protected America and the rest of the world from a dangerous dictator. They are now involved in a critical battle in the war on terrorism. These are enemies of civilization, and if we don't get together and defeat them now, shame on us.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Be tough, but no preventive war

Don't mistake my opposition to this war because of its preventive nature for a lack of toughness. The commander in chief has to be tough. This president is not executing the war on homeland security the way he should be. 98% of the containers that come into this country are uninspected. The president promised billions of dollars to states and local government which have not been delivered. We can be a lot tougher than this president is being on homeland security, and we will be.
Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Saddam was a threat; we did the right thing by invading

Q: Gov. Dean said just today that Saddam was really not much of a threat to the US and had never been one. By getting rid of Saddam, we've made things more dangerous for America. Do you agree?

LIEBERMAN: Oh, I absolutely disagree. Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US and, most particularly, to his neighbors. Remember, this was a man who said he wanted to rule the Arab world, and he invaded two of his neighbors in pursuit of that goal, using chemical weapons against them. We have evidence also over the last several years that he was cooperating with terrorists and supporting them.

We did the right thing, and we gave him 12 years and tried everything short of war to get him to keep the promises he made to disarm at the end of the Gulf War. We did the right thing in fighting this fight, and the American people will be safer as a result of it. And incidentally, no Democrat will be elected president in 2004 who is not strong on defense, and this war was a test of that strength.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

US helped depose Milosevic and should continue to help Serbs

Q: If Milosevic prevails, would you support his overthrow?

LIEBERMAN: The encouraging news is that the state news agency is reporting that Mr. Kostunica is the president-elect and there are reports that Milosevic has actually left Belgrade. That is a very happy ending to a terrible story. If that does not happen, then I think the United States, with its European allies, ought to everything we can to encourage the people of Serbia to do exactly what they’ve been doing over the last few days. I’m very proud on this night of the leadership role the United States played in the effort to stop his aggression and genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo. It was a matter of principle and America’s national interests and values. Vice President Gore played a critical role in leading the administration to do the right thing in the Balkans. Hopefully tonight we are seeing the final results of that bold effort.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Iran: Enforce non-proliferation on Russia & others

[We should] use whatever authority we have to deter and prevent Iran from developing the capacity to strike us and our allies. That is the other side of the American effort to protect ourselves from the serious threat to our security from the proliferation of ballistic missile capacity and weapons of mass destruction.

The kinds of weapons that are being developed would allow Iran to threaten friendly Arab states, making it harder for them to cooperate with the US. They would raise the risks to US military forces in the region, and would threaten the free flow of oil in this critical region, which could create crises in places far from the Persian Gulf.

We must act to try to prevent this from happening. [This bill] requires reports on the transfer of certain goods, services, or technologies to Iran. This applies to any entities anywhere in the world, including Russia. It authorizes the President to impose measures against these entities but does not mandate him to do so.

Source: Senate statement, “Iran Nonproliferation Act” Feb 22, 2000

Supported NATO expansion; arms to Israel & Saudis

Lieberman was one of the leaders in the fight for the Gulf war resolution in January 1991. Presciently, he called for “final victory” over Saddam Hussein. He is a strong supporter of Israel but favored F-15 sales to Saudi Arabia in 1992; in spring 1998 he spoke against an American ultimatum to Israel. He favored US ground troops in Bosnia. He backed NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. In 1998 he successfully led a fight for sanctions to stop Russia from exporting missile technology to Iran.
Source: Almanac of American Politics 2000 (Barone & Ujifusa) Jan 1, 2000

In US vital interest to support NATO and use of force

Citing the vital interests at stake in Kosovo, Lieberman cosponsored a bipartisan resolution in the Senate authorizing the President to use “all necessary force and other means” to achieve victory, possibly including the deployment of ground troops. On the Senate floor, Liberman said:
I hope and pray that NATO ground forces are not needed, I hope common sense, sanity, will prevail in government in Belgrade. But it would be irresponsible not to prepare NATO’s forces now for their potential deployment.

While we all pray for peace in the Balkans, I think it is important that the peace be a principled peace. NATO has clearly stated objectives here, and we can settle for nothing less than the attainment of those objectives, which are reasonable -- that the Serbian invaders be withdrawn from Kosovo; that the Kosovars be allowed to return; and that there be an international peacekeeping force, to monitor that peace that we will have achieved.

Source: Press Release, “All Necessary Force” Apr 20, 1999

Co-sponsored breaking the UN embargo on Bosnia

The one time Lieberman challenged the Clinton administration on a major foreign policy matter was in 1995, when he and Bob Dole cosponsored legislation requiring the president to break the United Nations embargo on sending arms to Bosnia.
Source: David E. Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 Aug 8, 2000

Send uncompromising message to Milosevic

I am proud to propose the Kosova Self Defense Act of 1999, legislation that would provide funding to help arm and train the Kosovars to repel further aggression by the Yugoslav forces. I hope this plan never needs to be implemented. I hope we never need to appropriate the money we would authorize with this bill. Indeed, I hope Slobodan Milosevic soon realizes that it would be in his and the Serbian people’s best interests to accept the Rambouillet Agreement and end the violence in Serbia. All the people in Serbia deserve the promise of peace and a chance to rebuild their lives and their communities.

However, if, after extended air strikes, it becomes clear that Milosevic intends to continue his war of aggression against the Kosovar people, we must have an answer to the question of what next. The bill sends an uncompromising message to Milosevic: we will not stand idly by and allow Milosevic to brutalize the people of Kosovo any longer.

Source: Senate statement, “Kosova Self Defense” Mar 25, 1999

Voted YES on $86.5 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill S1689 ; vote number 2003-400 on Oct 17, 2003

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

H.J.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
Bill H.J.RES.114 ; vote number 2002-237 on Oct 11, 2002

Voted NO on allowing all necessary forces and other means in Kosovo.

Majority Leader Trent Lott motioned to kill the resolution that would have authorized the president to "use all necessary forces and other means," in cooperation with U.S. allies to accomplish objectives in Yugoslavia.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: Motion to table S. J. Res. 20; Bill S. J. Res. 20 ; vote number 1999-98 on May 4, 1999

Voted YES on authorizing air strikes in Kosovo.

Vote to adopt a resolution to authorize the President to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with NATO against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
Bill S.Con.Res 21 ; vote number 1999-57 on Mar 23, 1999

Voted YES on ending the Bosnian arms embargo.

Ending the Bosnian arms embargo.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)29; NV)2
Reference: Bosnia Herzegovina Self-Defense Act of '95; Bill S. 21 ; vote number 1995-331 on Jul 26, 1995

Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.

Lieberman sponsored the Resolution on bigotry against Sikh Americans:

Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR255 on Oct 4, 2001

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Lieberman sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.1595. Became Public Law No: 104-45.
Source: Bill sponsored by 77 Senators and 78 Reps 95-S1322 on Oct 13, 1995

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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts