Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bush and Saddam, brothers in arms-destruction

     Saddam fell because he couldn't prove he'd destroyed Iraq's weapons.  Wouldn't it be fitting if Bush fell because he couldn't prove he'd destroyed Iraq's weapons?

     Sometimes people simply just don't notice things.  Take the Marc Rich pardon, for example.  Rich didn't pay taxes on arms sales to Iran in the early 1980s.  Can anyone name, say, a President, who made illegal arms sales to Iran in the early 1980s, and didn't pay the proper taxes?

Friday, October 29, 2004

One of the Worst

     I'm certainly not the only person to loathe NRO's "The Corner."  Nor am I the only person to think Jonah Goldberg is on board more because of heredity than talent.  If I were a GOP-like Democrat, I'd scream Jonah Goldberg Excuses Americans Who Want to do Osama's Bidding!  Here's the quote... "If Bin Laden's aim is to get Bush elected, that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong to vote for Bush."

Saddam's Shoes, Clinton's Tailor, Bush's Lies

     You were aware that Saddam in "his palaces" wears the same shoes as Dear Leader, George "Wilhelm" Bush, thanks to top Italian cordswain(shoemaker), Vito Artiolo, undoubtedly.

     Now, you may have heard that a top NASA/JPL image analyzer has said that Bush's excuse of a poorly tailored shirt is a lie.  Did you realize that Bush's tailor, Georges de Paris, has been making shirts for the Presidents since Lyndon Baines Johnson?

     Bush has Saddam's shoemaker, and Clinton's shirtmaker, and his own lies.

Disgruntled Ex-Employees

     Forthright International Capitalists know that disgruntled ex-employees are never worth a hearing.  This one's job?  He helped ghostwrite ten or more chapters of Bush's auto-biography "A Charge to Keep," but didn't get to finish the job.  I forget who to thank for the link.  Learn...

  • conflicts between Presidents 41 and 43
  • How being President doesn't matter, but _seeming_ to be a leader is critical.
  • Learn which dog-wagging tail said "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade." back when he worked for Reagan

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Taking Your Head and Shoving It Up: On Lyndon LaRouche

     Dave Niewert, over at the well-read Orcinus blog, was talking about conspiracy theories, after having been labelled such a person, and also after having been labelled a LaRouchie.

    Lyndon LaRouche is one of the more interesting people who always runs for President.  I find the very idea of John Hagelin and the Transcendental Meditation types over at the Natural Law Party to be boring.  LaRouche, however, thinks everything revolves around intelligence and covert ops.  For example, his magazines (American Almanac, Executive Intelligence Review, the New Federalist, the Campaigner) have published articles arguing that the black plague was caused by bankers, we are all ruled by a 500 year old Venetian banking conspiracy, and has regularly posted the works of the "renowned" Webster Tarpley.

     No one is more expert at taking a million facts, wrapping them all up together and getting the wrong conclusion than LaRouche.  One of my favorite is called Wall St. Meets Tobacco Road.  I can't even pick a section to quote from, it's all so droolingly steamy, but I think everyone would be enlightened by A Bit of Texas History.

Stupid Neo-Con Pet Tricks

     Neo-conservatism is, in fact, a blending of 50s-70s leftist internationalism with realist theories of power.  To wit, we can bomb people, and we want to help them, so lets bomb them to help them.  It's most colorful example is Iraq.

     This doesn't stop neo-con nitwits from lying.  Take this spoonful of shit, for example...

The distinction between this “neoconservative” position and a “progressive” position amounts to the weight one attaches to two sets of claims. One set, the “progressive,” manifests itself as the demand for expanded freedom or the demand for greater substantive equality in the particular case at hand (that is, in the object of a political dispute). The other set, “neoconservative,” concerns itself with whether a demand for greater freedom might impinge excessively on substantive equality or whether a demand for greater substantive equality might impinge on freedom.
from the article Neoconservatism’s Liberal Legacy by Tod Lindberg of the (seemingly utterly morally bankrupt) Hoover Institute at Stanford University (they come to praise Herbert Hoover, not bury him).

     This fraud labels the progressive movement as completely lacking in rudder, apparently picking and choosing equality or freedom as they feel fit, while ascribing to neo-conservatism the ability to discern courses where neither freedom nor equality is diminished.

     This is, of course, a lie.  Take the international perspective... Iraqis are worse off, we are worse off.  Iraqis are living in the sort of violent world, the kind we would only wish on the neo-cons who lied us into Iraq, and Americans are footing the bill to fatten the bottom line of a few, well-connected corporations, leeches on the Republic.  Then take a quick look at the situation at home, with tax cuts for the rich.  These do not expand equality, but inequality.

     In the future, perhaps Iraqis will have some amount of freedom.  Not the freedom, mind you, to actually own their own oil fields.  Fuck no, not that.  We can already see that the tax system in Iraq, and based on past results in other countries "liberated" by America, that a small set of Iraqis will become fabulously wealthy, and the vast majority will stay incredibly poor.  This rank inequality won't be the result of tyranny, like it was under Saddam's regime, but of laissez-faire inspired capitalism.  It is neither "fair" nor "just" (values which apparently can exist entirely outside the spectrum of freedom and equality), since US firms are picking and choosing who gets rich in Iraq, and mostly they are choosing flunkies of former terrorist masterminds like Allawi or fuckwads like Chalabi.  In America, similarly, the neo-conservatives push to have crony firms, with no apparent records at promoting either freedom or equality, get rich while shifting the tax burden to the poor.  No future Iraq will see a flourishing of either Freedom or Equality with this bunch of malfeasants in power.

     What are progressives?  I believe in more equality.  I believe that the proof that, as income approaches infinity, the marginal tax rate must exceed 50%, is intuitively obvious.  I believe, like Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison and likely Hamilton, Jay and Adams, that the price of liberty is taxation.  That, like Teddy Roosevelt, after a certain point, freedom is the freedom of the strong to take advantage of the weak.

     I believe even capitalism appreciates a justice system that says that if a billionaire breaks a contract with a pauper improperly, the pauper wins in court.  I believe Tod Lindberg is either Stupid, Ignorant, Duped or Evil in describing neo-conservatism or progressivism as he has done.  No doubt Mr. Lindberg becomes wealthier, paid by the wealthy, to push the theories that further enrich the wealthy. 

     Here's a big Remain Calm FUCK YOU to Tod Lindberg and the Hoover Institute.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Democratic Nomination Fraud

     I'd like to turn your minds back a moment, to the Democrat's primary process, which winnowed the field down from nine or ten candidates to one, that one being the nominee, John Forbes Kerry.

     Being realistic, or limiting the discussion to those candidates who won statewide polls on more than a single occasion, we are talking about Clark, Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman.  Examinations of all the state polls available to me via DKos and personal e-mails with Markos, I graphically represented the polls using the most sophisticated representation scheme I so-far yet seen, somewhat surprisingly, one I programmed myself.  But first, let's backtrack.

     To lay the cards on the table, I became a Dean supporter because of the war in Iraq, and even went to Dean meet-ups on a couple of occasions.  Then I volunteered for a few weeks for the Dean campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Afterwards I briefly volunteered for their office in Manhattan.

     After Iowa and New Hampshire losses to Kerry, like many Dean supporters, I was left wondering what happened, but there was more, since I had been watching quite closely.  I was a full-time observer, having quit my job the day the Iraq War began.  Of course, at the most obvious level, the 100s time repeated (always out of context) "scream" was what destroyed the campaign.  It wasn't so much, to all viewers, that the scream itself was bad, it was the media's insistence on repeating it, as if it were most important happening on the face of the planet.  This left the less educated voter in a position of thinking "Hmm, maybe the media is trying to say Dean is unbalanced, without actually being that impolite."

     Is that all that happened, though?  How did Dean surprise the Democratic establishment and do so well in the first place?  Why did his support emerge from the internet, even though his supporters were not the most internet-connected of all the candidates?  The answer to the first question I blogged before, to recap, the war was supported by all the mainstream media, and so Dean's anti-war stance was forced to emerge somewhere else.  My answer to the second question puts me firmly in the conspiracy theory camp.  Simply put, FOX and the Wall St. Journal want Bush to win...

     In the early days of the war, who believed WMD existed in Saddam's arsenal?  Not I.  And even though I didn't believe it, I was still worried as our troops rolled into Baghdad.  Just because I knew the adminstration had been deceiving the corporate news machines, and/or the corporate news machines were part of the active deception matrix, did not mean that some weapon had not been secretly developed, however unlikely.  Luckily for the troops, and the world in general, no WMD were used in the defense of Iraq.  But, as the corporate media repeatedly ran to the presses with breathless stories that the WMD had been found, and then later, if ever, embarassedly reported their early stories had been debunked, the truth started sinking into even the hardest of heads.  But if someone, like Roger Ailes, truly believed the weapons were there, of the five candidates listed, who would have been the easiest for Bush to beat?  Why, Dean, of course.  It was easy to imagine in those days the monkey-like dancing of Republicans waving Iraqi WMD under Dean's nose, perhaps uttering a "Told Ya So" for good measure.

     Yes, if you, like most Americans, had been deceieved into believing Iraqi WMD, and you wanted Bush to win, Dean was the most logical choice to surreptitiously endorse.  And how did FOX/WSJ manage to endorse Dean?  It's as simple as calling Dean an "internet phenomenon."  Dean's internet appearance became a story because the media willed it.  Now, of course, I'd be dubious if I were hearing this, so I am going to jump ahead, nine months forward, to Christmas time, less than a month before the Iowa Caucus.  Edwards had polled in first in the Carolinas, but nowhere else, Gephardt had some support in Missouri and surrounding areas in the middle of the country, but little else. Clark had done well in some polls, mostly in the West. Lieberman had done well in many more polls in the northeast than he ever got credit for winning. Dean, by this point, however, was pretty much in 1st place in every single statewide poll except where he was in 2nd place against the native son.  Dean was beating Kerry in Kerry's homestate of Massachusetts.  In fact, Kerry was ahead in zero polls as New Year's approached, coming in his best 2nd in Massachusetts against Dean's first.

     So how did the last place (not including Braun, Kucinich or Sharpton) candidate become the first place candidate in three weeks?  Simply put, FOX/WSJ made a cold calculation that goes as follows.  Clark attracts some of the military vote, and erases a lot of the leverage Bush might get for being a "war time President."  Edwards had a very loyal following, would attract women voters, and could peel some of the Southerners away from Bush's strongholds.  Gephardt had the union vote.  Unions may put most of their money and endorsements for Democrats, but union members split something like 60/40.  Recapturing those votes would be a coup across the whole country, especially with efforts involving volunteers.  Lieberman had the name recognition.  I didn't like him, because of his very conservative positions and his position on the Iraq war. Like me, the mainstream media never gave Lieberman a fair go at it.  And then there was Kerry, a smart, liberal, Taxachusetts lawyer.  What possible demographic could he add to the Democrat ticket come this November?  Answer: none.

     Dean attracted Republicans against the war, he was a Governor of a small state (which means any programs he pushed towards his home state wouldn't be big urban programs, Vermont has no cities, he was clear and outspoken on abortion.  One of the biggest things coming down the pike is government health care, and he was a Doctor.  He had had to implement the fraud "No Child Left Buttocks Act."  He had an A rating from the NRA.  He had actually talked about the Confederate Flag and pickup trucks!  And, most embarassingly, as the bigheads at FOX/WSJ were figuring out for themselves around Christmas time, he had been right about the WMD.

     No, it couldn't be Dean.  Kerry, why, why, he's "electable!"

Riverbend, Our Favorite Iraqi

     Riverbend has this to say about the upcoming elections.  I usually like to write more than I quote, but she is living it, she's there, she doesn't get to come home, she doesn't get to vote

Who am I hoping will win? Definitely Kerry. There’s no question about it. I want Bush out of the White House at all costs. (And yes- who is *in* the White House *is* my business- Americans, you made it my business when you occupied my country last year) I’m too realistic to expect drastic change or anything phenomenal, but I don’t want Bush reelected because his reelection (or shall I call it his ‘reassignment’) will condone the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. It will say that this catastrophe in Iraq was worth its price in American and Iraqi lives. His reassignment to the White House will sanction all the bloodshed and terror we’ve been living for the last year and a half. I’ve heard all the arguments. His supporters are a lot like him- they’ll admit no mistakes. They’ll admit no deceit, no idiocy, no manipulation, no squandering. It’s useless. Republicans who *don’t* support him, but feel obliged to vote for him, write long, apologetic emails that are meant, I assume, to salve their own conscience. They write telling me that he should be ‘reelected’ because he is the only man for the job at this point. True, he made some mistakes and he told a few fibs, they tell me- but he really means well and he intends to fix things and, above all, he has a plan. Let me assure you Americans- he has NO PLAN. There is no plan for the mess we’re living in- unless he is cunningly using the Chaos Theory as a basis for his Iraq plan. Things in Iraq are a mess and there is the sense that the people in Washington don’t know what they’re doing, and their puppets in Iraq know even less. The name of the game now in Iraq is naked aggression- it hasn’t been about hearts and minds since complete areas began to revolt. His Iraq plan may be summarized with the Iraqi colloquial saying, “A’athreh ib dafra”, which can be roughly translated to ‘a stumble and a kick’. In other words, what will happen, will happen and hopefully- with a stumble and a kick- things will move in the right direction. So is Kerry going to be much better? I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s going to fix things or if he’s going to pull out the troops, or bring more in. I have my doubts about how he will handle the current catastrophe in Iraq. I do know this: nothing can be worse than Bush. No one can be worse than Bush. It will hardly be fair to any president after Bush in any case- it's like assigning a new captain to a drowning ship. All I know is that Bush made the hole and let the water in, I want him thrown overboard. Someone once wrote to me, after a blog barrage against Bush, that I should tone down my insults against the president because I would lose readers who actually supported him. I lost those readers the moment I spoke out against the war and occupation because that is what Bush is all about. He’s not about securing America or Iraq or ‘the region’- he’s about covering up just how inadequate he is as a person and as a leader with war, nonexistent WMD, fabled terrorists and bogeymen. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Americans, the name of your country which once stood for ‘freedom and justice’ is tarnished worldwide. Your latest president has proved that the great American image of democracy is just that- an image. You can protest, you can demonstrate, you can vote- but it ends there. The reigns were out of your hands the moment Bush stepped into the White House. You were deceived repetitively and duped into two wars. Your sons and daughters are dying, and killing, in foreign lands. Your embassies are in danger all over the world. ‘America’ has become synonymous with ‘empire’, ‘hegemony’, and ‘warfare’. And why? All because you needed to be diverted away from the fact that your current president is a failure. Some people associate the decision to go to war as a ‘strength’. How strong do you need to be to commit thousands of your countrymen and women to death on foreign soil? Especially while you and your loved ones sit safely watching at home. How strong do you need to be to give orders to bomb cities to rubble and use the most advanced military technology available against a country with a weak army and crumbling infrastructure? You don’t need to be strong- you need to be mad. Americans- can things be worse for you? Can things be worse for us in Iraq? Of course they can… only imagine- four more years of Bush.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mexico, Colombia and Bulgaria

     According to Mowbray(NRO hack), published at the Washington Times, Kerry didn't meet with the Ambassadors of Mexico, Colombia, Bulgaria, and the Ambassador of a country that didn't want to be named.  A fifth Ambassador told Mowbray that Kerry did meet with him.

Invasion Handled Badly

     What are they talking about?  It's called RDX (HMX is almost identical), it's been around since WWII, and it is often an ingredient in plastic explosives.

     On the good side, the Right wing blogosphere is positively pissing itself waiting (just try to get to tonight) to find out that the Bush administration failed to secure 350 tons of plastic explosives in Iraq, material the IAEA had a handle on, and a story which the DoD has been sitting on for more than a year.

     At least, if Josh Micah Marshall has the story straight, then the NRO Hack "Writer" Joel Mowbray is going to get the credit for bombing the Bush campaign.

     However, it must be noted that a wide variety of materials to start a nuclear reaction, and that CDX and HMX are both made of readily available ingredients (nitric acid, formaldehyde, ammonia, water and sodium bicarbonate).  Don't let the nuclear ruse get you off on a tangent.  The IAEA had tagged all this stuff, and Saddam had kept it safe, and because of the war, it got out, 350 tons of plastic explosives.

     I was confused. The "story" Mowbray is working on alleges Kerry didn't meet with the whole Security Council, even though he said "So I sat with the French and British, Germans, with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein."
Here is the NY Times story about the missing explosives.  Note the egregious mentioning of nukes in the first sentence.
Tidbits, funny

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Join Me In An Intervention

     Want to do something in this election cycle to counter the un-surprising fact that Bush supporters have their heads (ahem) in a world where Saddam had WMD?  And yet, you can't seem to get away?

     Join the Intervention!

     Working from the privacy of your own computer (but please, do wear clothes, top hat and tails preferred).  So, send an email [josh at narins dot net], or, leave a comment if you want to join.

     Also, get yourself an IRC client for the meetings.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bush more Conservative than Kerry Liberal

     I am very fond of the psychometric (yes, that's what it is called) work of Doctors Poole and Rosenthal, which they have left online for many years now.  First linked to me by my friends who were reading Salon because of this image (now with even more!), I have checked back regularly, and only wished they'd update this puppy.

     In response to the instantly debunked by National Journal, yet constantly repeated by the shit-shoving-down-your-throat President (while smiling! always smile!), it turns out that, compared to everyone who has served in the House or Senate for the last 75 years, Bush is more Conservative than Kerry is Liberal.  Although the article doesn't come out and say that, it gives Kerry #478 out of 3,320, while it gives Bush #2,971 out of the same 3,320.  In other words, in seventy five years, Bush is more conservative than all but 10.5% of all Congresspeople, while Kerry is more liberal than all but 14.4% of the same.  Using their own system of numbering, Bush has a +.408 while Kerry is a -.366, 0 is neutral, obviously.

     To help you get the gist of Poole/Rosenthal's methodology, you can read most of their book, here, and a short, less-math-required intro, here.  It's all very mathematical, actually, one of their papers is called Proof that if Voting is Perfect in One Dimension, then the First Eigenvector Extracted from the Double-Centered Transformed Agreement Score Matrix has the Same Rank Ordering as the True Data, but my favoriate articles are Changing Minds, Not in Congress, and Political Polarization and Income Inequality.


     Edwards is #995 (more liberal than all but 30% of 3,320 congressfolk, -.239
     Cheney is #3189 (more conservative than all but %4 of 3,320 congressfolk, +.517)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

  • I'm sure you all have been to, but here's the link, just in case
  • An old story on the right wing money machine, done well.
  • The biggest stupidity in the Cold War era?  To think we were fighting for Capitalism, against Communisum, instead of Self-Determination, against Totalitarianism.  A whole host of yahoos think America=Capitalism, and that free markets breed freedom.  Such odious lies are beneath the standards to which Representatives of the People must adhere.
Safer In Iraq than America

     Gentle readers, have you worried about the brutish opposition in America, of being shouted down by pap sloganeering?  Well, worry no more!  It turns out, in Iraq, if you are posting cool shit the kidnappers just might let you go.

     Since I have a tiny sense of my (currently) tiny readership, let me say that you all would be welcome in Iraq, unlike the mouth-breathers who just blindly comment on blogs for the linkbacks, e.g. comments from Bush supporters on this site lately.

What Have I Been Doing?

     Well, I try to get all sides of an argument.  Otherwise, it isn't really an argument.  Now, reading the psychopaths+/-morons over at TownHall, WorldNetDaily or NewsMax isn't really my cup of tea, but I do it.  Maybe every month or so.  I tend to follow the religio-political bloggers, like Marvin Olasky, much more seriously.  There is no god, so I am most interested in how this imaginary super-being is being used/mis-used by the humans who have a say in the matter.  There is also, for the fearless in the face of the non-Almighty, the Envangelical Aggregator.  For those just interested in news stories that cover any religion, and these people have a more sophisticated sense about them, there is Religion News Blog.

     Well, one of the real (National Review, Weekly Standard, Al-Qaeda=Terrorists=Saddam) nutters is Hugh Hewitt.  However, he has hit on an idea that I think other people who like to think "meta" have missed.  Namely, what he calls Symposia.  It's a bad name, since there is little-or-no give-or-take, but I bet Joi Ito, who is a savvy technobabbler, would like the idea.

     What have I been doing?  I've been going to all the blogs listed here, and commented, where possible, trying to debunk their mysterious, and always misinformed notions about why Bush would make a good crackhead, I mean President.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Not A New Post

     Please recall that the "offshore tax havens" frequented so regularly by US corporate scum and wealthy individuals, are all part of the British Empire.  Bermuda, Bahamas, Cayman all owe their allegiance to Queen Elizabeth (The Bahamas and Cayman Islands still have the Union Jack on their flags).  Among the top two locations for people looking to dodge the inheritance tax are Ireland and Belize, both former members of the British Imperium.  Nice to know President Bush picks such great, grand friends for America.  Why, this alliance with Britain is really great for, what did I just call them, war-mongering, theocratic, oil-plutocratic, police-state corporatists.

Policing Our Own

     Who would you want writing up the official version of a lefty scandal... FOX and the Wall St. Journal, or someone like the Nation?  We can all assume that FOX/WSJ wouldn't even bother to print most of the left's side of the story, but will the left go after the perpetrators hard enough, or will the risk of damaging their own political fortunes (in the face of rampant corruption, uninvestigated, on the other side) mellow their tone?  Well, I found this nice non-news/news aggregator yesterday.  I'm sad, since there is so much to read there.  One of the people writing there is Jason Leopold, who I also know from CounterPunch, which has this article on Terry McAuliffe today.  Shady deals.  Here's a quote that surprised me.  I only vaguely know the name Coelho.  I'm not particularly old, nor young.

More than anyone, Coelho laid the foundations for the Democratic Party's open courting of big business.

     Ever read the Angry Arab?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Afghan Election Fraud, Perpetrated From On High

     Well, maybe not with the ink, perhaps, but no one is covering broadcast death threats to those who wouldn't vote for Karzai.  The original of the post is available in the source of the web page.  This is what supposedly really happened with the indelible ink.

The Supreme Rationality At Work, or, Middle Eastern Update

     Sopme stuff from the Middle East.  All from friends or family of the more famous Iraqi blogger known as Salam Pax

  • Can anyone explain to me why noone but Iraqis will be allowed to attend Iraqi Universities.  Apparently, this friend of the Iraqi blogger Salam Pax emigrated to Iraq when he was a child, but now has to attend a foreign University, thanks to the Ministry of Higher Education.  Go, Higher Ed, Go!  This is supremely rational!
  • Salam's Mom teaches Arabic
  • Khalid Jarrar reports on goings on at the family home.  A sad state of explosive affairs
  • Rafah has some pictures from Palestine
  • This space left for a lefty type who was very interested in Palestine, but I forgot the link for now.  He was in the area just a month ago.  I've actually met quite a few.
     Thanks to American Samizdat I found a link to Rolling Stone's hi-fucking-larious adventures of a self-proclaimed "dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days" as one of Central Florida's top Central Florida GOP workers!

     I predict there will be a bunch of copycat criminals.


     OK, the Coalitional Provisional Authority is missing millions of dollars, and the people they picked to do the work had no real experience, but they did have one thing in common, they all had applied to work at the Heritage Foundation.

     Isn't your fucking Pentagon NEAT?  Can we say THANK YOU FUCKING Mr. PENTAGON.  Good, I knew you could.  Thanks to TBogg.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Stupidest Presidents

     Is Bush the stupidest President ever?  Quite possibly.  I'll argue he's certainly the stupidest since President Truman.  I've heard Pendergast said he could get "anyone" elected Senator, and picked Truman to prove it.  From this random link:

Truman was not always a great judge of character. He was associated with political boss Tom Pendergast (and was initially know as "the Senator from Pendergast"). Truman also misjudged Stalin, saying of him after their meeting at Potsdam, "He seemed a man you could do business with."
    This next link is from an American expat in Japan, John Barry Kotch, writing for the Japan Times, and is all about Truman forcing on-time elections in Korea in 1948.  It is an interesting peice for me, just because I had never heard about these elections.
Iraqi Bribes

     All told, less than the US tried to bribe Turkey, for which to launch 62,000 troops into northern Iraq.  Yes, the US has definitely bribed many, many other countries in the 1997-2003 period, but, if you just look at Turkey, Bush (tried to) use more money to bribe a foreign country than Saddam Hussein al-Majid ever did.


     Ron Suskind is anti-Bush.  He is very careful in his mocking, though.  The NY Times gives him a huge chunk of their magazine this week.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Name one

     Can you name a single more paranoid, afraid-of-Iran country on Earth than Iraq during Saddam's tyranny?  I can't.  According to page 59 of the pdf of the Duelfer report, Iraq found that Iran's claims about its nuclear program were truthful, that it was civilian energy related, and not nuclear weapons related.

He Whom I Won't Bother To Name

  He asked something like "What are good movies about fathers?"  His silly audience named, almost exclusively, garbage.  What sprang to my mind was this list...

  • William Powell in "Life With Father"
  • Cary Grant in "Houseboat"
  • Bob Hope in "The Seven Little Foys"
  • Clifton Webb in "Cheaper by the Dozen"
  • Jimmy Stewart in "Dear Brigitte"
Blogging the Third Debate

     Kerry has won.  It would be like asking, who would win a horse race, a race horse, in perfect health, or a George Walker Bush?

Question 1: Will we ever be as safe again? Kerry restates his earlier debates, then goes macho.  Bush claims Afghanistan is a success, the proof.  Kerry's rebut mentions OBL, Bush said it had been "one of those exaggerations" to say he wasn't important now.

Question 2: The flu. Bush points the finger at a British firm, puts his faith in Canada. He didn't get a flu shot, and suggests that the young and healthy don't, either. Kerry makes it about health insurance. Bush says Kerry's complaints aren't a plan.

Question 3: How will it all get paid for, isn't the price of everything going up?  Note, inflation is very low.  Kerry talks about Pay-Go, and the fiscal irresponsibility of the curretn administration.  Bush cracks wise, repeats numerous old fibs.

Question 4: How do you explain outsourcing to the outsourced?  "I'm growing the economy" and here, go get an education.  Kerry cracks vicious.  Notes Bush has cut Perkins and other loans for students.

Question 5: Can one blame the administration for job losses?  Kerry says of course not.  Brings up shutting outsourcing loopholes again.  Promises a "level playing field."  Honestly, that is still a strategy that is great for the wealthy.  Notes Airbus violations, and fair trade playing field.  Bush says they've increased Pell grants by a million students.  Kerry notes that they are all getting less now, and more are getting it because there are more poor people in America.  Bush totally interrupts.

missed a few

Schieffer shows his huge pro-Bush bias when emphasizing the price of Kerry's health care plan, calling it "massive." What is massive in terms of budgets.  Kerry notes that two major news organizations have called Bush wrong, one calling his description "fiction" and another "untrue." And yet, Schieffer-scum calls it "massive." Explains its details, boring. : Note: Boring is good!  What wouldn't you have given for President Gore today?  Bush impugns all news organizations, a stab at the CBS fiasco.  Bush seems to be wanting to prop up the uniquely American system of employer-provided health care, calling our system the "envy of the world."  If you are rich, sure!  A poor person in America would be healthier in Cuba.

Question A+1: Where does the Social Security money come from?  Bush cites the rigged committee that looked into Social Security, but it only was allowed to suggest privatization schemes.  Kerry calls privatization schemes a recipe for disaster.  WaPo apparently says Bush has already promised 3 trillion in goodies at the RepubNat'lConvention, and the privatization gap costs another 2 trillion. 

Question A+2: What about your plan, Senator Kerry?  Kerry notes that the top-1% tax cut cost more than the Social Security gap till 2075.  Bush says that "most" of the tax cuts went to the Middle and Lower income people, a flat out lie.  Bush dissembles on the stock market fall.

Question A+3: Immigration.  Bush likes this question, which probably explains why Schieffer got so many questions.  He says he is against Amnesties, but he was _for_ Amnesties before.  Good for him?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The UN Oil-For-Food Program
  Were sanctions being ignored by Saddam Hussein al-Majid?  Why, the King of Jordan told us that he was importing 70-90,000 barrels of oil a day from Iraq.  Later, the Iraq-Syria pipeline opened up, and there is no doubt that oil flowed through it.  Again, later, the US knew that Saddam was charging between 20 and 50 cent surcharge on each barrel of oil (although claims that this could have amounted to 2 billion in profits implies exporting more than 5 billion barrels of oil, while the Congressional Research Service, in a nice table on page 11CRS-7 shows that only three billion barrels were ever sold under the Oil-For-Food guidelines, and after Sept, 2001, the surcharges were not allowed.  In other words, 1. the Bush maladministration knew the whole time about the illegal exports, even though they were never a subject of discussion in important speeches or addresses to Americans, and 2. they know full well that most of the illegal money wasn't accrued through Oil-for-Food.

     And yet you may be left wondering, where does that 11 billion dollar number come from, which the neo-con inveterate liar, David Brooks, and others, keep harping upon?  Well, part of it is the above, pre-war known figures of Syrian and Jordanian oil sales, combined with the pre-war (legal under sanctions rules until it was made illegal) "surcharges" and some amount of "kickbacks" (no evidence produced). But the main way to get to that amazing total is to rely on the Energy Information malAdminstration(EIA).  They estimated total Iraqi production, subtracted estimated total Iraqi consumption, subtracted known Oil-for-Food contracts, and was left with... total horseshit, also known as, the total amount of illegal sales (and profits) cited in the GAO report.  9 billion of the alleged 11 billion comes from this EIA estimate.  I still haven't called them to ask how they got to these figures.

Even if they came off the back of an envelope, that wouldn't stop the bloodthirty Brooks!

Duelfer Report, Page 53

     "While he may have said he had the desire, no source has claimed that Saddam had an explicit strategy or program for the development or use of WMD during the sanctions period.[1991-2003]"

     So, if you combine page 30 and page 53, you can learn that there is no documentation or source that says Saddam even had _plans_ for WMD.

A fuckwad over at The Volokh Stupidity says there might be non-documentary evidence, without being more definitive.  He's already said David Brooks could say there were plans based on, for example, interviews.  Hmm, guess not, fucknuts.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Duelfer Report, Page 30

     Of course, Saddam Hussein al-Majid could have had some secret unwritten plan, sure.  Unlike the Bush maladminstration, I don't spread absolutes when I know partials.  That said, here is a great quote from page 30 of Volume 1 of the Duelfer Report "The former Regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions.  Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam [Hussein al-Majid]."

Page 30 refers to the thirtieth page of the .pdf file known as Iraqs_WMD_Vol1.pdf

Duelfer Report
     Wow, is it just me, or is the entire thing done without footnotes?

     Have you ever read a 1,000 page government document before?  I have.  No footnotes?  Is Duelfer on crack?

New, Improved Spelling!

     The CIA bastiches supposedly protect "sources and methods."  Now, I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but the CIA is flat out sitting on one peice of evidence which would really embarass Bush, even though it is the least tarnished of any Iraqi source.

     In the Duelfer report, they concoct a new spelling for the man's name.  That's to throw one off the scent.  If you really want to learn some weird shit about Iraq, google "Hussein Kamel."  In the Duelfer report, they spell it Husayn Kamil.  It's Saddam Hussein al-Majid's son-in-law, and the director of Iraq's Military Industrialization Corporation(MIC), in charge of Iraq's weapons programme.

     Now, as I said, the CIA is legally allowed to keep things secret if they protect sources or methods.  However, Gen. Husayn Kamil is dead, killed by Uday Hussein, Saddam's son.  Therefore, by no possible stretch of the imagination is Gen. Kamil a source that needs protecting.  Now to the method.  What method did the CIA use to gather information from Gen. Kamil?  Kamil defected and volunteered interviews with the UN, the US and the UK.  By anyone's reckoning, is volunteering information a secret method?  No, in fact, it wasn't really a "method" at all, just a voluntary interview.

  I can only suppose that President Clinton kept this secret from America also.  At least, DCI George Tenet did keep this secret.

  To help confuse you, Mr. Duelfer will respell his name from now on.

The Duelfer Argument
     What I can see so far is this.
  1. Saddam Hussein al-Majid was lied to by his subordinates
  2. SH al-Majid would kill his subordinates if they didn't make him happy
  3. SH al-Majid ordered the destruction of his WMD arsenals and stockpiles in the summer of 1991
  4. SH al-Majid rule was based on his appearance as a strongman
  5. Some of his subordinates could have lied to al-Majid, keeping the weapons undestroyed, risking death, even though no regional powers, nor his own people, would know of Saddam's secret strength
     What a fuck Duelfer is.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


     Since no one cares, I will be spending the next period of time ripping the inane, spurious and oft-times idiotic Duelfer report to shreds.  Anyone want to host the 2,000 page output?

     Thanks in advance.

Interesting Debate Coverage

     I was just planning to grab the transcript, but I found the Washington Post's second debate "referee" system to be more than a little interesting.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

In Case You Were Relaxed

     Why is this blog called "Remain Calm" and not "Remain Clammy?"  Simply put, what is going on, and how I'll bluntly state it, is liable to send Richter-detectable (and he is dead!) shivers through an intact central nervous system, but I hope, like a Douglas Adams "Don't Panic" blanket, the friendly orange words "remain calm" might help.

     Ever wondered how the US would get nuked?  Ever heard of Mara Salvatrucha?  William Lind is an ultra-conservative, however, he does have information that I didn't.  Enough to make me want to recheck my blog title...

A Hero In Karzai

     Standing up for Women's Rights, Hamid Karzai, unopposed elected leader, said, passionately, that men to allow their wives and sisters to register to vote, assuring them, "later, you can control who she votes for, but please, let her go [to register]."  Ah!  The fresh breeze of democracy!

     Or this little snippet, "Many voters in rural areas say the [warlord] militias have already told them how to vote, and that they're afraid of disobeying them."

FUCK John O'Neill

     Fuck him hard.

     I went back and recorded all the different FIRST PERSON accounts of the events back in 1968-69, which John O'Neill LIES AND LIES AND LIES about, and he was never there. PCF-23 skippered by William Rood, PCF-43 skippered by Dan Droz(deceased), PCF-51 skippered by Larry Thurlow, PCF-94 skippered by John Kerry.  There were five boats on the river, three of which were near the action in question.  All told, there were 18 men who could have seen what happened, and at least one of the men has since passed away.

William RoodNewspaper EditorPCF-23August 22nd
RassmannPolice OfficerPCF-94?May 20th
Larry Clayton LeeInsurance Company Senior ProgrammerPCF-23August 26th
Runyon  August 20th
Zaladoni  August 20th
Russ LambertCareer MilitaryPCF-51Aug 26
Wayne LanghoferGunpowder Plant EmployeePCF-43August 21st
Jim RussellLodge OwnerBoat BehindAugust 24th

Widow of Officer Droz

Others there that day: Benjamin Cueva, Kenneth Martin, Jerry Leeds, Larry Thurlow.

Other Info:Courdier and Gallanti Called Liars by POW Held With Them, Falsely Use Another Vet For Smear and more.

Alfred French signs false affadavit:Links between GOP and Swift Boat Veterans

Many, many thanks to The Daily Howler.

Check This Out

No More Mister Nice Blog alerts us that the Sinclair Broadcasting Group is planning to pre-empt its programming (it has 20 networks) to show a fraudulent anti-Kerry movie, days before the election.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Kerry, 8 of 10 rounds

     Kerry has a little trouble with abortion.  Should take notes from Dean.  Also, Bush's stem cell position was entirely consistent, and not grabby, and I consider it one of his least evil acts.  For a good recap, try Sisyphys Shrugged

Proving the Conspiracy
     It is kinda tough, isn't it?  Well, I found some, well, evidence.  The "Name the October Surprise" contest is being sponsored by Mark Green.  Mr. Green was New York City's first, and only real (screw Gotbaum) Public Advocate, second in line to become Mayor in case of death or incapacitation.  Mr. Green ran for Mayor against Mike "That's Better Than A Blowjob" Bloomberg, the Billionaire who has been a Republican since the Democrats wouldn't let him run.

     Anywho, as you can easily imagine, Mr. Green's "Name the October Surprise" contest was a bit of an embarassment to BushCo.  On the one hand, sure, it is just a website, no one will notice.  However, as many bloggers have noted (e.g. Oliver Willis) GOP strategic svengali, Karl Rove, is planning surprises.  Could an agent of Rove's win the contest, trying to collect from both sides?  Could someone guess, and therefore prove that Rove wasn't as imaginative as he'd thought?  Could a correct contest entry somehow lead to a post-surprise investigation?

     In order to help fight this menace, they invented October Surprise blog, which now is first on Google if you try "October Surprise."  The new website studiously avoids mentioning George Herbert Walker Bush's and Ronald Wilson Reagan's treasonous deal with the Iranians, to keep the hostages until after the election of 1980.

     Although the website is pretty well done, the person responsible for the "concept & content", Camron Assadi, has no home page of their own, just a blank template.  The person who did the "Web Design & Development" has some lefty work on their website, but it is lacking any contact info, which seems odd, since it is allegedly trying to attract business.

     At least the Republicans are looking out for me!
Negotiators Approve Big Tax Cuts for Business, By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 - In an act of pre-election largess, House and Senate negotiators approved a sprawling corporate tax bill on Wednesday that would shower corporations and farmers in politically sensitive states with about $145 billion worth of new tax cuts...
Some people want the media to use the word liar.  I, on the other hand, need them to start using the word BRIBE.

    Euphemized by the NY Times.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Why do I blog?

     Obviously, so people like me.  But beyond that, there is the fact that the regular press corps are a pathetic group of ignoramii or liars, I often can't tell which, and Democrats (OK, and Republicans) mostly have spines of a certain gelatinous product.  I was for Dean, certainly.  And I still think he had the best chance to beat Bush, until the press decided to fuck him in the ass.

     Today, however, John Forbes Kerry said

[T]he president of the United States and the vice president of the United States may well be the last two people on the planet who won't face the truth about Iraq.
     Today, I could stop blogging.  That's the kind of statement I have been needing to hear.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not actually going to stop.  But, at least I know we aren't going to have another jellyfish play the part.  The media will still lie, lie and lie about Kerry.  He is going to be attacked incessantly should he win.  But, hopefully, he will just tell the truth when asked, and act responsibly when given the authority.  Covered widely, here is the Reuters link.
Since This Is Sooooo Bush

     You've all read President James Madison's little conversation between the Republican and the Anti-Republican?  It is hard for me to imagine anyone reading the aforelinked, and not come away thinking that the Republican Party are the forces of Anti-Republicanism.

1,000 Page "No WMD" report released

     From the report

Well, first we didn't find anything.  Then we looked some more, and, well, we didn't find anything again.  Someone suggested we look harder, so we tried that.  Then Dave tripped over something, but it was nothing.  So, we kept looking, and we found... guess what? Nothing again.  Then there was more nothing, some people said mountains of nothing, some people a lot less.  And then someone told me I had to write 1,000 pages about nothing, so I wrote this sentence, just to take up space.  Then they said if it was very, very long, people would think it was about something, even if it isn't.  So that's basically why I wrote that sentence.  I was hoping I could use a bigger font, but they said no.  I have to use this one.  So I did.  I hope they don't notice the margins.
and on and on for another 1,000 pages.
Channeling the President
     Well, it is significant.  It's significant to me, and the people who want me to win.  Everyone is saying I didn't win the other night, so I have to have a debate by myself.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Eight Months of Lies

     For the last eight months, and more, President Bush & Co. have been promising that the (lie) "Road Map to Peace" was going ahead.  Let's ignore that the whole thing was behind schedule before it was even made public, now, Ariel Sharon's Negotiations Minister said

I believe he[Dov Weisglas, Sharon's Chief of Staff] has revealed the true intentions of Sharon. We told the quartet [of U.S.-led peace mediators] eight months ago that the Gaza plan was designed to undermine their road map
which followed Weisglas's comment, quoted in Ha'aretz
The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process[.] And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders, and Jerusalem. Effectively this whole package called the Palestinian state with all that it entails has been removed indefinitely from the agenda.... All of this with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both Houses of Congress.
Of course, Bush has been lying for months, according to the Israelis.  This from many sources, including the Christian Science Monitor.
Too Cute

     Rush Limbaugh is getting, hold your breath, a Statesmanship Award.  Long overlooked for his mature, respected outlook, tix are $250, or $500 to breathe closer, and a table for 10 can go for anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000.  This is an honor that is long overdue for Mr. Limbaugh.  Let's all thank the Claremont Institute for their "disintereted promotion of the public good."

OPERATION: Distraction

     Yes, in honor of the imminent release of the 1,000 page report that shows that Saddam Hussein al-Majid, like many Americans, coveted nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and that he, in fact, like many Americans, had none, World Net Daily, that bastion of untruth, injustice and the GOP way, has decided to distract their mindless readers with stories of, guess what, mobile balloon filling devices.

     Thanks have to go out to PowerLineBlog for their truly excellent catch here.

A Small Request

     It's just a few days till Australians go to the polls.  Their conservatives, called the Liberal Party, have been in charge since 1998.  Their Prime Minister, John Howard, sent Australians off to fight in Iraq, peddling the same exact lies that the Bush administration sold Americans.  Far worse than in the US, Rupert Murdoch basically runs the Australian media.  Their radio is worse than Clear Channel all the time.

     So, please do me a favor, and check out an Australian political website.

     I know, you can't vote there, but you probably already know a bit about England's system, and the US/UK (You Suck?) alliance was definitely given a ringing endorsement by the douche, John Howard.

     You might also learn about Australian's voting system, called the Single Transferable Vote, which is one step up from Instant Runoff Voting, but still not full Condorcet.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Coalition of the Unwinning
Thesis: Elected Leaders who took their countries to Iraq will not be re-elected.

Source for most election data came from the CIA World Factbook, election results from the news.

The country with a blue background has the next election.
Republic: Democratically elected leader who controls foreign policy, X equals Yes
US/UK: Former possession of the US or UK, former or currently militarily occupied by the US/UK
Next Vote: Date of next elections. L means the elections are for the Legislature only, and no Presidential elections are held.
If possible it will be indicated whether the government in power SUCCEEDED or FAILED to win re-election.

One of the camps of Anti-Federalists had the rallying cry "Where Annual Elections End, Tyranny Begins!"

UPDATE:  Looks like former members of the British Empire are immune.  Probably a linguistic (culture vector->news) element.

Country Republic US/UK Next Vote  
IcelandX,f 04/03FAILED, change in Head of Government
Rwanda  08/03Strongman Kagame wins 95% of vote
Azerbaijane 10/03Son of former Soviet Commissar elected!
Marshall IslandsbX11/03SUCCESS
Latviab 03/04Coalition falls apart day after election, PM rules with minority
El-SalvadorX 03/04New Leader, Same Party
Spainc L 03/04FAILED
MongoliaX 06/04FAILED
MacedoniaX 10/04President dies in plane crash, same party wins in early elections
Dominican RepublicXX05/04FAILED
PhilippinesXX05/04Arroyo, unelected Pres., wins first term
SlovakiaX 05/04FAILED
JapancX06/04LDP has lost majorities in both Houses
Australiaa,cXL 10/04HOWARD RETURNED
AfghanistanXX11/04Karzai stays, not elected in first place
UkraineX 11/04Yuschenko finally wins, had promised troop pull out
RomaniaX 11/04Former Communist, Promised to Withdraw, Unseated.
HungaryX 06/05
SingaporeX by 08/05
Denmarkc L by 10/05
PolandX 11/05
Solomon Islandsa,cXL by 12/05
GeorgiaX ??/05
PortugalX 01/06
Great BritaincX05/06
Costa RicaX 05/06
ColombiaX 05/06
NicaraguaX 11/06
BulgariaX ??/06
EstoniaX ??/06
MicronesiadXL 05/07
TurkeyX 05/07
AlbaniaX 06/07
EthiopiaX 10/07
Netherlandsc L ??/07
LithuaniaX ??/07
South KoreaX 12/07
Uzbekistane ??/07
CzechX ??/08
Angola  Elections indefinitely cancelled, last held in 1992
Eritrea  Isaias national leader, elections postponed indefinitely since 2001
Kuwait  Hereditary Monarchy
Tonga  Monarchy
Uganda  Museveni in power since 1986, no elections for President

A: A hereditary Monarch selects the President/Governor-General/Whatever
B: President is elected by the Parliament.
C: The leader of the Majority Party becomes Prime Minister
D: To even call this a "country," when it is actually run by the United States, is a joke.
E: Not a politically free society.
F: Ceremonial President which is popularly elected.

Don Rumsfeld, Ignoramus or Liar?

  Many people are currently quoting the aging Donald Rumsfeld saying "[W]hen I'm in Washington, I pull out a piece of paper and say, I don't know, because I'm not in that business, but I'll tell you what the CIA thinks[.]"

  Is that f*cking so, Mr. Rumsfeld?  So, when I read this, which says that the Department of Defense controls 85% of the intelligence budget of the entire United States of America, it really means that you aren't in the intelligence business?  Even though you have more than five times the intelligence budget of all the other intelligence agencies combined, you aren't in the intelligence business?

  Well, it is clear that you aren't interested in the defense of the United States, could someone ask you think you are "in that business?"

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bush Disses Romania

Kerry forgot Poland?

Bush claims Kerry "forgot" Poland when listing members of the group of countries that invaded Iraq with America.


Well, Poland took the opportunity to announce they were pulling their troops out next year, but what will the Romanian President do?

Some Tidbits

My joke for today: picture this, Bush standing under a banner that says "Homeland Secured."

I like Old Fashioned Patriot.  I think I just might like old things in general.

The new "oh-we-are-so-innocent, Official right-wing-shovelfull-of-shit" website is _definitely_ Powerline.  More on this tactic later.

Spotted: This Just In: The Ultimate Neo-Con Newswire(?), run by Eleana Benador, is apoplectic over the Iraqwar News Net website.  Check out the Benador-inspired shenanigans here.  Also note the weird post-dating on the article, and another.  Is this october surprise revealed?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Kerry/Bush, Debate I Wrap-Up

I'm conflicted.  I think Bush is a horrid President, but it is true that Kerry is no saint.  He's going to continue loads and loads of stupid, evil, even racist policies that are already in effect.  However, in the spirit of "We can't have that religious wing-nut in there any longer, especially since he brings along Rummy, Ashcroft, Rove, Evans, the Iran-Contra Crew, et cetera, et cetera," I bring you...what the sage saw in the transcripts.

  1. Bush says "The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat [for them.]"
    • The enemy is not singular, the enemy is manifold.
    • One of Bush's main tactics is to try to lump all separtists, militants, revolutionaries, reactionaries and the plain 'ol oppressed-and-sick-of-it in together.
    • This is false.
    • There are different tactics for each, often enough.
  2. Bush says "We're going to reform our intelligence services to make sure that we get the best intelligence possible.
    • This was priority one, it has been over three years.
    • Ask yourself, what could have been more valuable than intelligence?
    • What could have been more important to fix?
  3. Bush says of Saddam Hussein al-Majid, "He had the capability of making weapons and he would have made weapons"
    • Bush has never shortened the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" to the three letters "WMD."
    • In his interview with Tim Russert, he once used the phrase "weapons" instead of "weapons of mass destruction" and the sentence became true (i.e. if he had been talking about WMD, he would have been lying).
    • Weapons include rifles and artillery.
  4. Bush says "I certainly hope so." in response to the question of whether diplomacy will work in stopping proliferation in North Korea and Iran
    • Hope? Is it up to a coin toss?
    • No sufficient distinction is made between Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein al-Majid
    • Why should we believe one and not the other?
    • No explanation is given for similar circumstances and different approaches.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Debate

Iraq1945  29%140  30%2475  34%161  37%
Afghanistan107  1.6%10  2.1%111  1.5%5  1.1%
Other countries836  12%62  13%515  7.1%32  7.3%
DHS99  1.5%9  1.9%229  3.1%12  2.7%
FBI90  1.3%8  1.7%46  0.64%3  0.68%
USA PATRIOT Act24  0.36%2  0.42%0  0.00%0  0.00%
Proliferation221  3.3%13  2.7%729  10%44  10%
Terrorists274  4.1%22  4.7%186  2.5%14  3.2%
Safety (catch all)99  1.5%8  1.7%18  0.25%2  0.45%
Philosophy/Beliefs2715  41%194  41%2430  33%152  34%
History (facts?)114  1.7%12  2.5%368  5.1%22  5%
Taxes13  0.19%1  0.21%46  0.64%3  0.68%
Spending18  0.27%1  0.21%21  0.29%1  0.22%
LEHRER: Good evening, Mr. President, Senator Kerry. As determined by a coin toss, the first question goes to you, Senator Kerry. You have two minutes. Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?
KERRY: Yes, I do. But before I answer further, let me thank you for moderating. I want to thank the University of Miami for hosting us. And I know the president will join me in welcoming all of Florida to this debate. You've been through the roughest weeks anybody could imagine. Our hearts go out to you, and we admire your pluck and perseverance. I can make America safer than President Bush has made us. And I believe President Bush and I both love our country equally, but we just have a different set of convictions about how you make America safe. I believe America is safest and strongest when we are leading the world, and when we are leading strong alliances. I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But I also know how to lead those alliances. This president has left them in shatters across the globe, and we're now 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq and 90 percent of the costs. I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better. I have a better plan for homeland security. I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror, by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world, which the president has almost not done, and beginning to isolate the radical Islamic Muslims, not have them isolate the United States of America. I know I can do a better job in Iraq, where I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies, something this president has not yet achieved, not yet been able to do to bring people to the table. We can do a better job of training the Iraqi forces to defend themselves, and I know that we can do a better job of preparing for elections. All of these, and especially homeland security, which we'll talk about a little bit later. 
LEHRER: Mr. President, you have 90 seconds for rebuttal.
 BUSH: I -- I, too, thank the University of Miami, and -- and -- and say our prayers are with the good people of this state, who have suffered a lot. September the 11th changed how America must look at the world. And since that day, our nation has been on a multi-prong strategy to keep our country safer. We pursued al Qaeda wherever al Qaeda tries to hide. Seventy-five percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. The rest of them know we're after them. We've upheld the doctrine that said if you harbor a terrorist, you're equally as guilty as the terrorist. And the Taliban no longer in power. Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election. In Iraq, we saw a threat, and we realized that after September the 11th, we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell; America and the world are safer for it. We continue to pursue our policy of disrupting those who would proliferate weapons of mass destruction. Libya has disarmed. The A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice. And as well, we're pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want.
LEHRER: New question. Mr. President, two minutes. Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?
 BUSH: I don't believe it's going to happen. I believe I'm going to win, because the American people know I know how to lead. I've shown the American people I know how to lead. I have -- I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions that I've made. And I've made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand. People out there listening know what I believe, and that's how best it is to keep the peace. This nation of ours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate. And that's what they are; this is a group of killers who will not only kill here, but kill children in Russia; that will attack unmercifully in Iraq hoping to shake our will. We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren. The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal; is to constantly stay on the offensive, and at the same time spread liberty. And that's what people are seeing now is happening in Afghanistan. Ten million citizens have registered to vote. It's a phenomenal statistic; that if given a chance to be free, they will show up at the polls. Forty- one percent of those 10 million are women. In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. You know why? Because an enemy realizes the stakes. The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. That's why they're fighting so vociferously. They showed up in Afghanistan when they were there because they tried to beat us and they didn't, and they're showing up in Iraq for the same reason. They're trying to defeat us. And if we lose our will, we lose; but if we remain strong and resolute, we will defeat this enemy.
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Senator Kerry.
KERRY: I believe in being strong and resolute and determined, and I will hunt down and kill the terrorists wherever they are. But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking it off to Iraq, where the 9/11 commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein. This president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment, and judgment is what we look for in the president of the United States of America. I'm proud that important military figures are supporting me in this race. Former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili. Just yesterday, General Eisenhower's son, General John Eisenhower, endorsed me. General -- Admiral William Crowe, General Tony McPeak, who ran the Air Force war so effectively for his father, all believe I would make a stronger commander in chief. And they believe it because they know I would not take my eye off of the goal: Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora. We had him surrounded. But we didn't use American forces, the best-trained in the world to go kill him. The president relied on Afghan warlords that he outsourced that job to. That's wrong. 
LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry. Colossal misjudgments. What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in these areas?
KERRY: Well, where do you want me to begin? (Light laughter.) First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through with the inspections. In fact, he first didn't even want to do that. And it wasn't until former Secretary of State Jim Baker and General Scowcroft and others pushed publicly and said, You got to go to the U.N., that the president finally changed his mind -- his campaign has a word for that -- and went to the United Nations. Now, once there, we could have continued those inspections. We had Saddam Hussein trapped. He also promised America that he would go to war as a last resort. Those words mean something to me, as somebody who's been in combat: last resort. You've got to be able to look in the eyes of families and say to those parents, "I tried to do everything in my power to prevent the loss of your son and daughter." I don't believe the United States did that. And we pushed our allies aside. And so, today, we are 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost -- $200 billion -- $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors. And it's in Iraq. And Iraq is not even the center of the focus of the war on terror; the center is Afghanistan, where, incidentally, there were more Americans killed last year than the year before; where the opium production is 75 percent of the world's opium production; where 40 to 60 percent of the economy of Afghanistan is based on opium; where the elections have been postponed three times. The president moved the troops so he's got ten times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is. Does that mean that Saddam Hussein was ten times more important than Osama bin -- than -- excuse me -- Saddam Hussein more important tha[n] Osama bin Laden? I don't think so. 
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Mr. President.
 BUSH: My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared, in 2002, that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. He also said, in December of 2003, that anyone who doubts that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein does not have the judgment to be president. I agree with him. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I was hoping diplomacy would work. I understand the serious consequences of committing our troops into harm's way. It's the hardest decision a president makes. So I went to the United Nations. I didn't need anybody to tell me to go to the United Nations, I decided to go there myself. And I went there hoping that once and for all the free world would act in concert to get Saddam Hussein to listen to our demands. They passed a resolution that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. I believe when an international body speaks it must mean what it says. But Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming. Why should he? He had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. As a matter of fact -- my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors. That wasn't going to work. That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, to hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place. He was hoping we'd turn away. But there was, fortunately, others beside myself who believed that we ought to take action; we did. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein.
LEHRER: New question. Mr. President, two minutes. What about Senator Kerry's point, the comparison he drew between the priorities of going after Osama bin Laden and going after Saddam Hussein?
 BUSH: Jim, we've got the capability of doing both. As a matter of fact, this is a global effort. We're facing a group of folks who have such hatred in their heart, they'll strike anywhere with any means. And that's why it's essential that we have strong alliances, and we do. That's why it's essential that we make sure that we keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of people like al Qaeda, which we are. But to say that there's only one focus on the war on terror doesn't really understand the nature of the war on terror. Of course we're after Saddam Hussein (sic) -- I mean bin Laden. He's isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice. The killer in -- the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is in prison. We're making progress. But the front on this war is more than just one place. The Philippines. We've got help -- we're helping them there to bring al Qaeda affiliates to justice there. And of course Iraq is a central part of the war on terror. That's why Zarqawi and his people are trying to fight us. Their hope is that we grow weary and we leave. The biggest disaster that could happen is that we not succeed in Iraq. We will succeed. We've got a plan to do so. And the main reason we'll succeed is because the Iraqis want to be free. I had the honor of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He's a strong, courageous leader. He believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people. He doesn't want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people. He believes like I believe that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom; they just need the help to be trained. There will be elections in January, we're spending reconstruction money, and our alliance is strong. That's the plan for victory. And when Iraq is free, America will be more secure.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 90 seconds.
KERRY: The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it. The president made the judgement to divert forcesfrom under General Tommy Franks from Afghanistan before the Congress even approved it to begin to prepare to go to war in Iraq. And he rushed to war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace. Now that is not the judgment that a president of the United States ought to make. You don't take America to war unless you have a plan to win the peace. You don't send troops to war without the body armor that they need. I've met kids in Ohio, parents in Wisconsin, places -- Iowa -- where they're going out on the Internet to get the state-of-the-art body gear to send to their kids. Some of them got them for a birthday present. I think that's wrong. Humvees, 10,000 out of 12,000 humvees that are over there aren't armored. And you go visit some of those kids in the hospitals today who were maimed because they don't have the armament. This president just -- I don't know if he sees what's really happened o[ver] there, but it's getting worse by the day. More soldiers killed in June than before, more in July than June, more in August than July, more in September than in August. And we see beheadings, and we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up. And we don't have enough troops there.  
 BUSH: Can I respond?
LEHRER: Let's do a -- one-minute extension. You have 30 seconds.
 BUSH: Thank you, sir. First of all, what my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force, and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place. I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis? No, the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan that I just outlined.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Senator.
KERRY: Yes, we have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops now that we're there. We have to succeed. We can't leave a failed Iraq. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake of judgment to go there and take the focus off of Osama bin Laden. It was. Now we can succeed. But I don't believe this president can. I think we need a president who has the credibility to bring the allies back to the table and to do what's necessary to make it so America isn't doing this alone.
LEHRER: We'll come back to Iraq in a moment, but I want to come back to where I began, on homeland security. This is a two- minute new question, Senator Kerry. As president, what would you do specifically, in addition to or differently, to increase the homeland security of the United States than what President Bush is doing?
KERRY: Jim, let me [tell you] exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of things. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you've got $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq and the president is cutting the COPS program in America? What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open fire houses in Iraq, but we're shutting fire houses, who are the first responders here in America? The president hasn't put one nickel, not one nickel, into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most-exposed subway systems. That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there. We haven't done the work that ought to be done. The president -- 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected. Civilians get onto aircraft and their luggage is x-rayed, but the cargo hold is not x- rayed. Does that make you feel safer in America? This president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren't my values. I believe in protecting America first. And long before President Bush and I get a tax cut -- and that's who gets it -- long before we do, I'm going to invest in homeland security, and I'm going to make sure we're not cutting COPS programs in America, and we're fully staffed at our firehouses, and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants. The president also, unfortunately, gave in to the chemical industry, which didn't want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure. And there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That's a whole other subject. But -- I see we still have a little bit more time. Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union, former Soviet Union, for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years, and we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.  
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Mr. President.
 BUSH: I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap and -- anyway, that's for another debate. My administration has tripled the amount of money we're spending on homeland security to $30 billion a year. My administration worked with the Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security so we could better coordinate our borders and ports. We've got a thousand extra border patrol on the southern border; more than a thousand on the northern border. We're modernizing our borders. We spent $3. 1 billion for fire and police -- $3. 1 billion. No, we're doing out duty to provide the funding. But the best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense. You know, we have to be right a hundred percent of the time, and the enemy only has to be right once to hurt us. There's a lot of good people working hard. And by the way, we've also changed the culture of the FBI to have counterterrorism as its number-one priority. We're communicating better. We're going to reform our intelligence services to make sure that we get the best intelligence possible. The Patriot Act is vital. It's vital that the Congress renew the Patriot Act, which enables our law enforcement to disrupt terrorist cells. But again, I repeat to my fellow citizens, the best way to protect you is to stay on the offense.
LEHRER: Yes, let's do a little -- yes, 30 seconds.
KERRY: The president just said the FBI changed its culture. We just read in the front pages of America's papers that there are over 100,000 hours of tapes unlistened-to. On one of those tapes may be the enemy being right the next time. And the test is not whether you're spending more money. The test is, are you doing everything possible to make America safe. We didn't need that tax cut. America needed to be safe.  
 BUSH: Of course we're doing everything we can to protect America. I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job. I work with Director Mueller of the FBI. He comes into my office when I'm in Washington every morning, talking about how to protect us. There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so. It's hard work. But again, I want to tell the American people we're doing everything we can at home, but you'd better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again.
LEHRER: New question. Mr. President, two minutes. What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?
 BUSH: Let me first tell you that the best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job, and that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, over 200,000 by the end of next year. That is the best way. We'll never succeed in Iraq if the Iraqi citizens do not want to take matter into their own hands and protect themselves. I believe they want to. Prime Minister Allawi believes they want to. And so the best indication about when we can bring our troops home -- which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective -- is to -- is to see the Iraqis perform, is to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility. And so the answer to your question is when our generals on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that there's stability, and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation of -- of -- that's free, that's when. And I hope it's as soon as possible, but I know putting artificial deadlines won't work. My opponent one time said, well, get me elected and I'll have them out of there in six months. That's -- you can't do that and expect to win the war on terror. My message to our troops is thank you for what you're doing, we're standing with you strong, we'll give you all the equipment you need, and we'll get you home as soon as the mission's done, because this is a vital mission. A free Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror, and that's essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Senator Kerry.
KERRY: Thank you, Jim. My message to the troops is also thank you for what they're doing, but it's also: Help is on the way. I believe those troops deserve better than what they are getting today. You know, it's interesting, when I was in a rope line just the other day, coming out here from Wisconsin, a couple of young returnees were in the line -- one active duty, one from the Guard. And they both looked at me and said, "We need you. You got to help us over there." Now, I believe there's a better way to do this. You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra, and the reason he didn't is he said -- he wrote in his book -- because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation. The only building that was guarded when the troops went into Baghdad was the Oil Ministry. We didn't guard the nuclear facilities. We didn't guard the foreign office, where you might have found information about weapons of mass destruction. We didn't guard the borders. Almost every step of the way, our troops have been left on these extraordinarily difficult missions. I know what it's like to go out on one of those missions where you don't know what's around the corner. And I believe our troops need other allies helping. I'm going to hold that summit. I will bring fresh credibility, a new start, and we will get the job done right.  
 BUSH: Jim?
LEHRER: New -- all right, go ahead. Yes, sir?
 BUSH: I think it's worthy for a follow, if you don't mind?
KERRY: Sure, fine. Happy to.  
KERRY: Sure, let's change the rules, we can have a whole --  
LEHRER: We can do 30 seconds each here.
 BUSH: All right. My opponent says that help is on the way. But what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm's way -- "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? That's not a message a commander in chief gives. Or this is "a great diversion." As well, help is on the way, but it's certainly hard to tell it when he voted against the $87 billion supplemental to provide equipment for our troops, and then said he actually did vote for it before he voted against it. That's not what commander-in-chiefs does when you're trying to lead troops.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.
KERRY: Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse? I believe that when you know something's going wrong, you make it right. That's what I learned in Vietnam. When I came back from that war, I saw that it was wrong. Some people don't like the fact that I stood up to say no. But I did. And that's what I did with that vote. And I'm going to lead those troops to victory.  
LEHRER: All right, new question. Two minutes. Senator Kerry, speaking of Vietnam, you s poke to Congress in 1971, after you came back from Vietnam, and you said, quote, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake. " Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?
KERRY: No. And they don't have to, providing we have the leadership that we put -- that I'm offering. I believe that we -- we have to win this. The president and I have always agreed on that. And from the beginning --I did vote to give the authority, because I thought Saddam Hussein was a threat, and I did accept that intelligence. But I also laid out a very strict series of things we needed to do in order to proceed from a position of strength. And the president in fact promised them. He went to Cincinnati, and he gave a speech in which he said, "We will plan carefully. We will proceed cautiously. We will not make war inevitable. We will go with our allies." He didn't do any of those things. They didn't do the planning. They left the planning of the State Department in the State Department desks. They avoided even the advice of their own general, General Shinseki. The Army chief of staff, said. "You're going to need several hundred thousand troops." Instead of listening to him, they retired him. The terrorism czar, who has worked for every president since Ronald Reagan, said, "Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor." That's what we have here. And what we need now is a president who understands how to bring these other countries together to recognize their stakes in this. They do have stakes in it. They've always had stakes in it. The Arab countries have a stake in not having a civil war. The European countries have a stake in not having total disorder on their doorstep. But this president hasn't even held the kind of statesmanlike summits that pull people together and get them to invest in those stakes. In fact, he's done the opposite. He pushed them away. When the secretary-general, Kofi Annan, offered the United Nations, he said, "No, no, we'll go do this alone." To save for Halliburton the spoils of the war, they actually issued a memorandum from the Defense Department saying, "If you weren't with us in the war, don't bother applying for any construction." That's not a way to invite people.  
LEHRER: Ninety seconds.
 BUSH: That -- that's totally absurd. Of course the U.N. was invited in. And we support the U.N. efforts there. They pulled out after Sergio de Mello got killed, but they're now back in helping with elections. My opponent we didn't have any allies in this war? What's he say to Tony Blair? What's he say to Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland? I mean, you can't expect to build an alliance when you denigrate the contributions of those who are serving side by side with American troops in Iraq. Plus, he says the cornerstone of his plan to succeed in Iraq is to call upon nations to serve. So what's the message going to be? Please join us in Iraq for a grand diversion? Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time? I know how these people think. I deal with them all the time. I sit down with the world leaders -- ah -- frequently and talk to them on the phone frequently. They're not going to follow somebody who says this is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. They're not going to follow somebody whose core convictions keep changing because of politics in America. And finally, he says we ought to have a summit. Well, there are summits being held. Japan is going to have a summit for the donors. Ah -- $14 billion pledged, and Prime Minister Koizumi is going to call countries to account to get them to contribute. And there's going to be an Arab summit of the neighborhood countries. And Colin Powell have set -- helped set up that summit.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Senator.
KERRY: The United Nations, Kofi Annan, offered help after Baghdad fell. And we never picked him up on that, and did what was necessary to transfer authority and to transfer reconstruction. It was always American-run. Secondly, when we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That's not a grand coalition. We can do better.  
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
 BUSH: Well, actually, you forgot Poland. And now there are 30 nations involved, standing side by side with our American troops. And I honor their sacrifices, and I don't appreciate it when a candidate for president denigrates the contributions of these brave -- brave soldiers. It -- it -- you cannot lead the world if you, ah, do not honor the contributions of those who are with us. You call them the cohearsed (sic) [and the] bribed. That's not how you bring people together. Our coalition is strong. It'll remain strong, so long as I'm the president.
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes. You have said there was a, quote, "miscalculation" of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation? And how did it happen?
 BUSH: No, what I said was that, because we achieved such a rapid victory, more of the Saddam loyalists were around. In other words, we thought we'd whip more of them going in. But because Tommy Franks did such a great job in planning the operations, we moved rapidly. And a lot of the Ba'athists and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought we would -- they would stay and fight. But they didn't. And now we're fighting them now. It's a -- and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work. And I'm optimistic. See, I think you can be realistic and optimistic at the same time. I'm optimistic we'll achieve. I know we won't achieve if we send mixed signals. I know we're not going to achieve our objective if we send mixed signals to our troops, our friends, the Iraqi citizens. We've got a plan in place. The plan says there will be elections in January, and there will be. The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are. And it's not only just America, but NATO is now helping. Jordan's helping train police. UAE is helping train police. We've allocated $7 billion over the next months for reconstruction efforts. And we're making progress there. And our alliance is strong. Now as I just told you, there's going to be a summit of the Arab nations. Japan will be hosting a summit. We're making progress. It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It's hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off or executed to a place where people are free. But it's necessary work, and a free Iraq is going to make this world a more peaceful place.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Senator Kerry.
KERRY: What I think troubles a lot of people in our country is that the president has just sort of described one kind of mistake, but what he has said is that even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, even knowing there was no imminent threat, even knowing there was no connection of al Qaeda, he would still have done everything the same way. Those are his words. Now I would not. So what I'm trying to do is just talk the truth to the American people and to the world. The truth is what good policy is based on. It's what leadership is based on. The president says that I'm denigrating these troops. I -- I have nothing but respect for the British and for Tony Blair and for what they've been willing to do. But you can't tell me that when the most troops any other country has on the ground is Great Britain with 8,300, and below that the four others are below 4,000, and below that there isn't anybody out of the hundreds that we have a genuine coalition to get this job done. You can't tell me that on the day that we went into that war and it started it was principally the United States of the America and Great Britain and one or two others. That's it. And today we are 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the costs. And meanwhile, North Korea has gotten nuclear weapons. Talk about mixed messages! The president is the one who said we can't allow countries to get nuclear weapons. They have. I'll change that.  
LEHRER: New question. Senator Kerry, two minutes. You've just -- you have repeatedly accused President Bush -- not here tonight, but elsewhere before -- of not telling the truth about Iraq, essentially of lying to the American people about Iraq. Give us some examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth.
KERRY: Well, I've never, ever used the harshest word, as you did just then, and I try not to. I've been -- but I'll nevertheless tell you that I think he has not been candid with the American people, and I'll tell you exactly how. First of all, we all know that in his State of the Union message he told Congress about nuclear materials that didn't exist. We know that he promised America that he was going to build this coalition. I just described the coalition. It is not the kind of coalition we were described when we were talking about voting for this. The president said he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nation(s) and go through that full process. He didn't. He cut it off sort of arbitrarily. And we know that there were further diplomatics under -- efforts under way. They just decided the time for diplomacy is over, and rushed to war without planning for what happens afterwards. Now, he misled the American people in his speech when he said we will plan carefully. They obviously didn't. He misled the American people when he said we'd go to war as a last resort. We did not go as a last resort. And most Americans know the difference. Now, this has cost us deeply in the world. I believe that it is important to tell the truth to the American people. I've worked with those leaders the president talks about. I've worked with them for 20 years, for longer than this president. And I know what many of them say today and I know how to bring them back to the table. And I believe that a fresh start, new credibility, a president who can understand what we have to do to reach out to the Muslim world to make it clear that this is not -- you know, Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say the -- American has declared war on Islam. We need to be smarter about how we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances. I believe that Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and others did that more effectively, and I'm going to try to follow in their footsteps. 
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Mr. President.
 BUSH: My opponent just said something amazing. He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves. Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide. The American people decide. I decided. The right action was in Iraq. My opponent calls it a mistake. It wasn't a mistake. He said I misled on Iraq. I don't think he was misleading when he called Iraq a great threat in the fall of 2002. I don't think he was misleading when he said that it was right to disarm Iraq in the spring of 2003. I don't think he misled you when he said that, you know, if you -- anyone who doubted whether the world was better off without Saddam Hussein in power didn't have the judgement to be president. I don't think he was misleading. I think what is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has. As the politics change, his positions change. And that's not how a commander-in-chief acts. I -- let me finish. The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at. It's the very same intelligence. And when I stood up there and spoke to the Congress, I was speaking of f the same intelligence he looked at to make his decision to support he authorization of force.
LEHRER: Ninety -- 30 seconds. We'll do a 30-second here.
KERRY: I wasn't misleading when I said he was a threat. Nor was I misleading on the day that the president decided to go to war when I said that he had made a mistake in not building strong alliances, and that I would have preferred that he did more diplomacy. I've had one position, one consistent position: that Saddam Hussein was a threat; there was a right way to disarm him, and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.  
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
 BUSH: The only thing consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent. He changes positions. And you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win. And I expect to win. It's necessary we win. We're being challenged like never before, and we have a duty to our country and to future generations of America to achieve a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan, and to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction.
LEHRER: New question. Mr. President, two minutes. Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost in American lives, 10,052 -- I mean, 1,052 as of today?
 BUSH: Now every life's precious. Every life matters. You know, my hardest -- the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loved ones who lost a son or a daughter or a husband and wife. And you know, I think about -- Missy Johnson's a fantastic young lady I met in Charlotte, North Carolina, she and her son, Bryan. They came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed. He'd been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her -- her loved one to be in harm's way. I told her after we prayed and teared up and laughed some that class I thought her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy because I understand the stakes of this war on terror. I understand that we must find al Qaeda wherever they hide; we must deal with threats before they fully materialize, and Saddam Hussein was a threat; and that we must spread liberty because, in the long run, the way to defeat hatred and tyranny and oppression is to spread freedom. Missy understood that. That's what she told me her husband understood. So you say, was it worth it? This wasn't -- it's -- it's -- every life is precious. That's what distinguishes us from the enemy. Everybody matters. But I think it's worth it, Jim. I think it's worth it because I think -- I know in the long term a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan will set such a powerful example in a part of the world that's desperate for freedom. They will help change the world, that we can look back and say we did our duty.
LEHRER: Senator, 90 seconds.
KERRY: I understand what the president is talking about because I know what it means to lose people in combat. And the question, is it worth the cost, reminds me of my own thinking when I came back from fighting in that war. And it reminds me that it is vital for us not to confuse the war, ever, with the warriors. That happened before. And that's one of the reasons why I believe I can get this job done: because I am determined for those soldiers and for those families, for those kids who put their lives on the line. That is noble. That's the most noble thing that anybody can do. And I want to make sure the outcome honors that nobility. Now, we have a choice here. I've laid out a plan by which I think we can be successful in Iraq: with a summit, by doing better training, faster, by cutting -- by doing what we need to do with respect to the U.N. and the elections. There's only 25 percent of the people in there; they can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done. So the choice for America is, you can have a plan that I've laid out in four points, each of which I can tell you more about, or you can go to and see more of it, or you have the president's plan, which is four words: more of the same. I think my plan is better. And my plan has a better chance of standing up and fighting for those troops. I will never let those troops down, and will hunt and kill the terrorists wherever they are.  
LEHRER: New question -- all right, sir, go ahead. Thirty seconds.
 BUSH: Yeah. I -- I -- I -- (laughs). I understand what it means to be the commander in chief. And if I were to ever say this is the wrong war at the wrong time at the right -- wrong place, the troops would wonder, "How can I follow this guy?" You cannot lead the war on terror if you keep changing positions on the war on terror, and say things like, well, this is just a grand diversion. It's not a grand diversion, this is an essential that we get it right. And so I -- the plan he talks about simply won't work.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, new -- you have 30 seconds -- you have 30 seconds, right, then a new question.
KERRY: Secretary of State Colin Powell told this president the Pottery Barn rule: if you break it, you fix it. Now, if you break it, you made a mistake, it's the wrong thing to do, but you own it and then you got to fix it and do something with it. Now that's what we have to do. There's no inconsistency. Soldiers know over there that this isn't being done right yet. I'm going to get it right for those soldiers because it's important to Israel, it's important to America, it's important to the world, it's important to the fight on terror. But I have a plan to do it, he doesn't.  
LEHRER: Speaking of your plan, new question, Senator Kerry. Two minutes. Can you give us specifics in terms of a scenario, a timeline, et cetera, for ending U.S. -- major U.S. military involvement in Iraq?
KERRY: The timeline that I've set out -- and again, I want to correct the president because he's misled again this evening on what I've said. I didn't say I would bring troops out in six months, I said if we do the things that I've set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months. And I think a critical component of success in Iraq is being able to convince the Iraqis and the Arab world that the United States doesn't have long-term designs on it. As I understand it, we're building some 14 military bases there now, and some people say they've got a rather permanent concept to them. When you guard the Oil Ministry but you don't guard the nuclear facilities, the message to a lot of people is maybe -- well, maybe they're interested in our oil. Now, the problem is that they didn't think these things through properly, and these are the things you have to think through. What I want to do is change the dynamics on the ground. And you have to do that by beginning to not back off of Fallujahs and other places and send the wrong message to the terrorists. You have to close the borders. You've got to show you're serious in that regard. But you've also got to show that you're prepared to bring the rest of the world in and share the stakes. I will make a flat statement. The United States of America has no long-term designs on staying in Iraq. And our goal, in my administration, would be to get all of the troops out of there with the minimal amount you need for training and logistics, as we do in some other countries in the world after a war, to be able to sustain the peace. But that's how we're going to win the peace, by rapidly training the Iraqis themselves. Even the administration has admitted they haven't done the training, because they came back to Congress a few weeks ago and asked for a complete reprogramming of the money. Now what greater admission is there, 16 months afterward -- "Oops, we haven't done the job. We got to start to spend the money now. Will you guys give us permission to shift it over into training?"  
LEHRER: Ninety second.
 BUSH: There's a hundred thousand troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol. There's going to be 125,000 trained by the end of this year. Yeah, we're getting the job done. It's hard work. Everybody knows it's hard work, because there's a determined enemy that's trying to defeat us. Now, my opponent says he's going to try to change the dynamics on the ground. Well, Prime Minister Allawi was here. He is the leader of that country. He's a brave, brave man. And when he came, after giving a speech to the Congress, my opponent questioned his credibility. You can't change the dynamics on the ground if you've criticized the brave leader of Iraq. One of his campaign people alleged that Prime Minister Allawi was like a puppet. That's no way to treat somebody who's courageous and brave that is trying to lead his country forward. The way to make sure that we succeed is to send consistent, sound messages to the Iraqi people that when we give our word, we will keep our word, that we stand with you, that we believe you want to be free. And I do. I believe that -- ah -- that 25 million people, the vast majority, long to -- long to have elections. I reject this notion -- and I'm not suggesting that my opponent says this, but I reject the notion that some say that if you're Muslim, you can't be free, you don't desire freedom. I disagree. Strongly disagree with that.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds.
KERRY: I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free. But I think the president again still hasn't shown how he's going to go about it the right way. He has more of the same. Now, Prime Minister Allawi came here, and he said the terrorists are pouring over the border. That's Allawi's assessment. The National Intelligence Assessment that was given to the president in July said, "Best case scenario: more of the same of what we see today; worst case scenario: civil war." I can do better.  
 BUSH: Yeah, let me --
LEHRER: Yes. Thirty seconds.
 BUSH: The reason why Prime Minister Allawi said they're coming across the border is cause he recognizes that this is a central part of the war on terror. They're fighting us because they're fighting freedom. They understand that a free Afghanistan or a free Iraq will be a major defeat for them. And those are the stakes. And that's why it is essential we not leave, that's why it's essential we hold the line, that's why it's essential we win. And we will. Under my leadership we're going to win this war in Iraq.
LEHRER: Mr. President, new question, two minutes. Does the Iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the United States into another preemptive military action?
 BUSH: I would hope I'd never have to. I understand how hard it is to commit troops. I never wanted to commit troops. I never -- when I was running -- when we had the debate in 2000, I never dreamt I'd be doing that. But the enemy attacked us, Jim, and -- ah -- I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us. I think that by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages, it is less likely we'll ever have to use troops. But a president must always be willing to use troops and must -- as a last resort. The, ah -- I was hopeful diplomacy would work in Iraq. It was falling apart. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. And if he had been in power -- in other words, if he said let's let the inspectors work or let's, you know, hope to talk him out, maybe that the 18th resolution would work, he would have been stronger and tougher, and the world would have been a lot worse off. There's just no doubt in my mind. We would rue the day had we -- if Saddam Hussein had been in power. So we use diplomacy every chance we get, believe me. And I -- I would hope to never have to use force. But by speaking clearly and sending messages that we mean what we say we've affected the world in a positive way. Look at Libya. Libya was a threat. Libya is now peacefully dismantling its weapons programs. Libya understood that America and others will enforce doctrine, and the world is better for it. So in answer to your question, I would hope we'd never have to. I think by acting firmly and decisively, it'll mean it's less likely we use -- less likely we have to use force.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 90 seconds.
KERRY: Jim, the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and, frankly, very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said the enemy attacked us. Saddam Hussein didn't attack us; Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaeda attacked us. And when we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, 1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains, with American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best-trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal and terrorist. They outsourced the job to Afghan warlords who only a week earlier had been on the other side, fighting against us, neither of whom trusted each other. That's the enemy that is now in 60 countries with stronger recruits. He also said Saddam Hussein would have been stronger. That is just factually incorrect. Two-thirds of the country was a no-fly zone when we started this war. We would have had sanctions. We would have had the U.N. inspectors. Saddam Hussein would have been continually weakening. If the president had shown the patience to go through another round of resolution, to sit down with those leaders say, "What do you need? What do you need now? How much more will it take to get you to join us?" -- we'd be in a stronger place today.  
 BUSH: First, listen --
LEHRER: Thirty seconds.
 BUSH: -- of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that. And secondly, to think that another round of resolutions would have caused Saddam Hussein to disarm, disclose, is ludicrous, in my judgment. It just shows a significant difference of opinion. We tried diplomacy. We did our best. He was hoping to turn a blind eye. And yes, he would have been stronger had we not dealt with him. He had the capability of making weapons and he would have made weapons.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Senator.
KERRY: Thirty-five to 40 countries in the world had a greater capability of making weapons at the moment the president invaded than Saddam Hussein. And while he's been diverted with nine out of 10 active duty divisions of our Army either going to Iraq, coming back from Iraq, or getting ready to go, North Korea has got nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Iran is moving towards nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Darfur has a genocide. The world is more dangerous. I'd have made a better choice.  
LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry. What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?
KERRY: A president always has the right, and always had had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War, and it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control. No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons. Here we have our own secretary of State, who's had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations. I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis sent his secretary of State to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell him about the missiles in Cuba, he said, here, let me show you the photos. And DeGaulle waved him off and said, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me. How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way?So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world. And Iran and Iraq (sic) are now more -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous. Now, whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen or not, I don't know yet. But I'll tell you this. As president, I'll never take my eye off that ball. I've been fighting for proliferation the entire time -- anti-proliferation the entire time I've been in the Congress. And we've watched this president actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table. You don't help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance, or when you refuse to deal at length with the United Nations. You have to earn that respect. And I think we have a lot of earning back to do.  
LEHRER: Ninety seconds.
 BUSH: Let me -- I'm not exactly sure what you mean passes the global test. You take preemptive action if you pass a global test? My attitude is, you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. Now, my opponent talks about me not signing certain treaties. Well, let me tell you one thing I didn't sign, and I think it shows the difference of our opinion -- the difference of opinions, and that is, I wouldn't join the International Criminal Court. This is a body based in the Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors could pull our troops, our diplomats up for trial. And I wouldn't join it. And I understand that in certain capitals of -- around the world that -- ah -- that wasn't a popular move. But it's the right move. Not to join a foreign court that could -- where our people could be prosecuted. My opponent is for joining the International Criminal Court. I -- I just think trying to be popular kind of in the global sense, if it's not in our best interest, makes no sense. I'm interested in working with other nations and do a lot of it. But I'm not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President. Do you believe that diplomacy and sanctions can resolve the nuclear problems with North Korea and Iran, taking them in any order you would like?
 BUSH: North Korea, first. I do. Let me say, I certainly hope so. Ah -- before I, ah, was sworn in, the policy of this government was to have bilateral negotiations with North Korea. And we -- ah -- signed an agreement with North Korea that my administration found out that, ah, was not, ah, being honored by the North Koreans. And so I decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved -- just besides us. And in Crawford, Texas, Jiang Zemin and I agreed that the -- a nuclear weapons-free North -- peninsula, Korean peninsula was in his interests and our interests and the world's interests. And so, we began a new dialogue with North Korea, one that included not only the United States, but now China. And China's got a lot of influence over North Korea. In some ways more than we do. As well, we included South Korea, Japan and Russia. So now there are five voices speaking to Kim Jong Il, not just one. And so, if Kim Jong Il decides again to not honor an agreement, he's not only -- ah -- ah -- doing injustice to America, it would be doing injustice to China as well. And I think this will work. It's not going to work if we open up a dialogue with Kim Jong Il. That's what he wants. He wants to unravel the six-party talks or the five -- the five-nation coalition that's sending him a clear message. On Iran, I hope we can do the same thing; continue to work with the world to convince the Iranian mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions. We've worked very closely with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain, who have been the -- the folks delivering the message to the mullahs that if you expect to be part of the world of nations, get rid of your nuclear programs. The IAEA is involved. There's a special protocol recently been passed that allows for instant inspections. I hope we can do it, and we've got a good strategy.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 90 seconds.
KERRY: With respect to Iran, the British, French and Germans were the ones who initiated an effort -- without the United States, regrettably -- to begin to try to move to curb the nuclear possibilities in Iran. I believe we could have done better. I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together. The president did nothing. With respect to North Korea, the real story. We had inspectors and television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary Bill Perry negotiated that under President Clinton. And we knew where the fuel rods were, and we knew the limits on their nuclear power. Colin Powell, our secretary of State, announced one day that we were going to continue the dialogue and work with the North Koreans. The president reversed him publicly while the president of South Korea was here, and the president of South Korea went back to South Korea, bewildered and embarrassed, because it went against his policy. And for two years, this administration didn't talk at all to North Korea. While they didn't talk at all, the fuel rods came out, the inspectors were kicked out, the television cameras were kicked out, and today there are four to seven nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea. That happened on this president's watch. Now, that, I think, is one of the most serious sort of reversals or mixed messages that you could possibl[y] send. 
 BUSH: Let me --
LEHRER: I want to make sure -- yes, sir. But in this one minute I want to make sure that we understand -- that people -- the people watching understand the differences between the two of you on this. You want to continue the multinational talks, correct?
 BUSH: Right.
LEHRER: And you want --
KERRY: Both.  
LEHRER: -- you're wanting to do it?
KERRY: I want bilateral talks which put all of the issues, from the Armistice of 1952 -- the economic issues, the human rights issues, the artillery disposal issues, the DMZ issues, and the nuclear issues on the table.  
LEHRER: And you're opposed to that, sir, right?
 BUSH: The minute we have bilateral talks, the six- party talks will unwind. It's exactly what Kim Jong Il wants. And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium, the breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That's what we caught him doing. That's where he was breaking the agreement. The -- secondly, he said -- my opponent said he'd work to put sanctions on Iran. We've already sanctioned Iran. We can't sanction them anymore. There are sanctions in place on Iran. And finally, we were a party to convincing -- to working with Germany, France and Great Britain to send their foreign ministers into Iran.
LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry. You mentioned Darfur, the Darfur region of Sudan. Fifty thousand people have already died in that area; more than a million are homeless, and it's been labeled an act of ongoing genocide. Yet neither one of you, or anyone else connected with your campaigns or your administration that I can find, has discussed the possibility of sending in troops. Why not?
KERRY: Well, I'll tell you exactly why not, but I first want to say something about those sanctions on Iran. Only the United States put the sanctions on alone. And that's exactly what I'm talking about. In order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the British, French and Germans and other countries. And that's the difference between the president and me. And there again he sort of slid by the question. Now, with respect to Darfur, yes it is a genocide. And months ago many of us were pressing for action. I think the reason that we're not saying send American troops in at this point is several- fold. Number one, we can do this through the African Union, providing we give them the logistical support. Right now all the president is providing is humanitarian support. We need to do more than that. They've got to have the logistical capacity to go in and stop the killing. And that's going to require more than is on the table today. I also believe that it is -- one of the reasons we can't do it is we're overextended. Ask the people in the armed forces today. We've got Guards and Reserves who are doing double duties. We've got a back-door draft taking place in America today. People with stop-loss programs, where they're told you can't get out of the military. Nine out of our 10 active-duty division committed to Iraq one way or the other, either going, coming or preparing. So, this is the way the president has overextended the United States. That's why, in my plan, I add two active-duty divisions to the United States Army, not for Iraq, but for our general demands across the globe. I also intend to double the number of Special Forces, so that we can do the job we need to do with respect to fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly. But I'll tell you this: As president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it, because we could never allow another Rwanda. It's a moral responsibility for us in the world.  
LEHRER: Ninety seconds.
 BUSH: Back to Iran, just for a second. It was not my administration that put the sanctions on Iran. (Laughs.) That happened long before I arrived in Washington, D.C. In terms of Darfur, I agree, it's genocide. And Colin Powell so stated. We have committed $200 million worth of aid. We're the leading donor in the world to help the suffering people there. We will commit more over time to help. We were very much involved at the U.N. on the sanction policy of the Bashir government in the Sudan. Prior to Darfur, Ambassador Jack Danforth had been negotiating a north-south agreement that we would hope would have brought peace to the Sudan. I agree with my opponent, that we shouldn't be committing troops, that we ought to be working with the African Union to do so. Precisely what we did in Liberia, we helped stabilize the situation with some troops. And when the African Union came, we moved them out. My hope is that the African Union moves rapidly to help save lives. Fortunately, the rainy season will be ending shortly, which will make it easier to get aid there and help the long-suffering people there.
LEHRER: New -- new question, President Bush. There are clearly, as we have heard, major policy differences between the two of you. Are there also underlying character issues that you believe -- that you believe -- are serious enough to deny Senator Kerry the job as commander in chief of the United States?
 BUSH: Hooh! That's a loaded question. First of all, I -- I admire, ah -- ah -- Senator Kerry's service to our country. I admire the fact that he is a great dad. Appreciate the fact that his daughters have been so kind to my daughters and -- in a -- what has been a pretty hard experience for, I guess, young girls seeing their dads out there campaigning. I admire the fact that he served for 20 years in the Senate, although I'm not sure I admire the record. I won't hold it against him that he went to Yale. Nothing wrong with that. I, ah -- My concerns about the Senator is that, in the course of this campaign I've been listening very carefully to what he says, and he changes positions on the war on Iraq. It's a -- changes positions on something as fundamental as what you believe in your core, in your heart of hearts is right -- in Iraq. I -- you cannot lead if you send mexed miss -- mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens. And that's my biggest concern about my opponent. Admire his service, but I -- I'm -- I just know how this world works. And that in the councils of government there must be certainty from the U.S. president. Of course, we change tactics when need to, but we never change our beliefs, the strategic beliefs that are necessary to protect this country in the world.
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Senator.
KERRY: Well, first of all, I appreciate enormously the personal comments the president just made, and I share them with him. I think only if you've -- if you're doing this, and he's done it more than I have in terms of the presidency, can you begin to get a sense of what it means to your families, and it's tough. And so I acknowledge the -- his daughters. I've watched them. I've chuckled a few times at some of their comments.  
 BUSH: (Laughs.)
KERRY: And --  
 BUSH: I'm trying to put a leash on them. (Laughs, laughter.)
KERRY: Well, I don't know. I've learned not to do that, Mr. President.  
 BUSH: That's right. (Laughs, laughter.)
KERRY: And I have great respect and admiration for his wife. I think she's a terrific person --  
 BUSH: Thank you.
KERRY: -- and a great first lady. But we do have differences. I'm not going to talk about a difference of character. I don't think that's my job or my business. But let me talk about something that the president just sort of finished up with. Maybe someone would call it a character trait, maybe somebody wouldn't. But this issue of certainty. It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It's another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging what's on the ground, that he's not acknowledging the realities in North Korea, he's not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem-cell research or of global warming and other issues. And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble.  
LEHRER: Thirty seconds.
 BUSH: Well, I think -- listen, I -- I fully agree that --that one should shift tactics -- and we will -- in Iraq. Our commanders have got all the flexibility to -- to do what is necessary to succeed. But what I won't do is change my core values because of politics or because of pressure. And it is -- it's -- one of the things I've learned in the White House is that there's enormous pressure on the president, and you cannot wilt under that pressure. Otherwise, the world won't be better off.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds.
KERRY: I have no intention of wilting. I've never wilted in my life. And I've never wavered in my life. I know exactly what we need to do in Iraq, and my position has been consistent. Saddam Hussein is a threat. He needed to be disarmed. We needed to go to the U.N. The president needed the authority to use force in order to be able to get him to do something because he never did it without the threat of force. But we didn't need to rush to war without a plan to win the peace.  
LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry. If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single-most serious threat to the national s ecurity of the United States?
KERRY: Nuclear proliferation. Nuclear proliferation. There are some 600-plus tons of unsecured material still in the former Soviet Union and Russia. At the rate that the president is currently securing that, it will take 13 years to get it. I did a lot of work on this. I wrote a book about it several years ago, maybe six or seven years ago, called, "The New War," which saw the difficulties of this international criminal network. And back then, we intercepted a suitcase in a Middle Eastern country with nuclear materials in it, and the black market sale price was about $250 million. Now, there are terrorists trying to get their hands on that stuff today. And this president, I regret to say, has secured less nuclear material in the last two years since 9/11 than we did in the two years preceding 9/11. We have to do this job, and to do the job, you can't cut the money for it. The president actually cut the money for it. You have to put the money into it and the funding and the leadership. And part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like North Korea. Right now, the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense. You talk about mixed messages, we're telling other people, you can't have nuclear weapons, but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world, we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation. And we're going to get the job of containing all of that nuclear material in Russia done in four years. And we're going to build the strongest international network to prevent nuclear proliferation -- this is the scale of what President Kennedy set out to do with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It's our generation's equivalent. And I intend to get it done.  
LEHRER: Ninety second, Mr. President.
 BUSH: Actually, we've increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation, about 35 percent since I've been the president. Secondly, we've set up what's called the -- well, first of all, I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that's why we've put proliferation as the -- one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer. My administration started what's called the Proliferation Security Initiative, over 60 nations involved with disrupting the transshipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials. And we've been effective. We busted the A.Q. Khan network. This was a proliferator out of Pakistan that was selling secrets to places like North Korea and Libya. We convinced Libya to disarm, an essential part of dealing with weapons of mass destruction and proliferation. I'll tell you another way to help protect America in the long run is to continue to with missile defenses. And we've got a robust research-and-development program that has been ongoing during my administration. We'll be implementing a missile defense system relatively quickly. And that is another way to help deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century. My opponent is opposed to the missile defenses.
LEHRER: Just for this one-minute discussion here, is it just -- for whatever seconds it takes, so it's -- it's correct to say that if somebody's listening to this, that both of you agree, if you're reelected, Mr. President, and if you are elected, the single most serious threat you believe, both of you believe, is nuclear proliferation.
 BUSH: I do -- in the hands of a terrorist enemy.
KERRY: Weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation. But again, the test of the difference between us, the president's had four years to try to do something about it, and North Korea' s got more weapons. Iran is moving towards weapons. And at his pace, it'll take 13 years to secure those weapons in Russia. I'm going to do it in four years, and I'm going to immediately set out to have bilateral talks with North Korea.  
LEHRER: Your response to that.
 BUSH: Yeah, I -- I -- again, I can't you how big a mistake I think that is -- (laughs) -- to have bilateral talks with North Korea. It's precisely what Kim Jong Il wants. It'll cause the six-party talks to evaporate, it means that China no longer is involved in convincing the -- along with us that -- for Kim Jong Il to get rid of his weapons. It's a big mistake to do that. We must have China's leverage on Kim Jong Il, besides ourselves. And the -- if you enter bilateral talks, they'll be happy to walk away from the table. I don't think that'll work.
LEHRER: All right, Mr. President, this is -- this is the last question, and two minutes. It's a new -- new subject, new question, and it has to do with President Putin and Russia. Did you misjudge him, or are you -- do you feel that what he is doing in the name of antiterrorism by changing some democratic processes is okay?
 BUSH: No, I don't think it's okay and said so publicly. I think that there needs to be checks and balances in a democracy, and made that very clear, that by consolidating power in the central government, ah, he's sending a signal to the Western world and the United States that -- that -- that perhaps he doesn't believe in checks and balances. And I told him that. He's also a strong ally in the war on terror. He is -- listen, they went through a horrible situation in Beslan where these terrorists gunned down young school kids. That's the nature of the enemy, by the way. That's why we need to be firm and resolved in bringing them to justice. That's precisely what Vladimir Putin understands as well. I've got a good relation with Vladimir, and it's important that we do have a good relation because that enables me to better comment to him and to better -- to discuss with him some of the decisions he makes. I found that -- in this world that it's important to establish good personal relationships with people so that when you have disagreements you're able to disagree in a way that is effective. And so I've told him my opinion, and I look forward to discussing it more with him as times go on. Russia's a -- Russia is a country in transition. Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices, and I think it's very important for the American president, as well as other Western leaders, to remind him of the great benefits of democracy; that democracy will best help the people realize their hopes and aspirations and dreams. And I will continue working with him over the next four years.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Senator Kerry.
KERRY: Well, let me just say quickly that I had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia because I was there right after the transformation. And I was probably one of the first senators, along with Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, former senator, to go down into the KGB underneath Treblinka Square and see reams of files with names in them. And it sort of brought home the transition to democracy that Russia was trying to make. I regret what's happened in these past months, and I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail. And I think it's very important for the United States, obviously, to have a working relationship that is good. This is a very important country to us and we want a partnership, but we always have to stand up for democracy. As George Will said the other day, "Freedom on the march? Not in Russia right now." Now I'd like to come back for a quick moment, if I can, to that issue about China and the talks because that's -- that's one of the most critical issues here, North Korea. Just because the president says it can't be done, that you'd lose China, doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is the president who said there were weapons of mass destruction, said "mission accomplished," said we could fight the war on the cheap, none of which were true. We can have bilateral talks with Kim Jong Il and we can get those weapons at the same time as we get China because China has an interest in the outcome, too.  
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
 BUSH: You know my opinion on North Korea. I can't say it any more plainly. (Chuckles.)
LEHRER: Right. Well, but when he used the word "truth" again.
 BUSH: Pardon me?
LEHRER: He's talking about the truth of the matter and used the word "truth" again. Did that raise any hackles that you -- with you?
 BUSH: Oh, I'm a pretty calm guy. I mean --
LEHRER: Okay. All right.
 BUSH: I don't take it personally. (Chuckles.)
 BUSH: But you know, look, we looked at the same intelligence and we came to the same conclusion, that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. And I don't hold it against him that he said grave threat. I don't -- I was -- I'm not going to go around the country saying he didn't tell the truth when he looked at the same intelligence I did.
KERRY: It was a threat. That's not the issue. The issue is what you do about it. The president said he was going to build a true coalition, exhaust the remedies of the U.N., and go to war as a last resort. Those words really have to mean something, and unfortunately he didn't go to war as a last resort. Now we have this incredible mess in Iraq, $200 billion. It's not what the American people thought they were getting when they voted.  
LEHRER: All right, that brings us to closing statements. And as -- and again, as determined by a coin toss, Senator Kerry, you go first, and you have two minutes.
KERRY: Thank you, Jim, very much. Thank you very much to the university again. Thank you, Mr. President. My fellow Americans, as I said at the very beginning of this debate, both President Bush and I love this country very much. There's no doubt, I think, about that. But we have a different set of convictions about how we make our country stronger here at home and respected again in the world. I know that for many of you sitting at home, parents of kids in Iraq, you want to know who's the person who could be a commander in chief who can get your kids home and get the job done and win the peace? And for all the rest of the parents in America who are wondering about their kids going to a school or anywhere else in the world, what kind of world they're going to grow up in, let me look you in the eye and say to you: I defended this country as a young man in war, and I will defend it as president of the United States. But I have a difference with this president. I believe we're strongest when we reach out and lead the world and build strong alliances. I have a plan for Iraq. I believe we can be successful. I'm not talking about leaving. I'm talking about winning. And we need a fresh start, a new credibility, a president who can bring allies to our side. I also have a plan to win the war on terror, funding Homeland Security; strengthening our military; cutting off finances; reaching out to the world; again, building strong alliances. I believe America's best days are ahead of us, because I believe that the future belongs to freedom, not to fear. That's the country that I'm going to fight for. And I ask you to give me the opportunity to make you proud. I ask you to give me the opportunity to lead this great nation so that we can be stronger here at home, respected again in the world and have responsible leadership that we deserve.  
LEHRER: Mr. President, two minutes.
 BUSH: Thank you very much tonight, Jim, Senator. If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward trag edy. That's not going to happen so long as I'm your president. In the next four years we will continue to strengthen our homeland defenses, we will strengthen our intelligence gathering services, we will reform our military, the military will be an all-volunteer army. We will continue to stay on the offense. We will fight the terrorists around the world so we do not have to face them here at home. We'll continue to build our alliances. I'll never turn over America's national security needs to leaders of other countries as we continue to build those alliances. And we'll continue to spread freedom. I believe in the transformational power of liberty. I believe that a free Iraq is in this nation's interests. I believe a free Afghanistan is in this nation's interests. And I believe both the free Afghanistan and free Iraq will serve as a powerful example for millions who plead in silence for liberty in the broader Middle East. We've done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years. We've been challenged, and we've risen to those challenges. We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below, and it's a valley of peace. By being steadfast and resolute and strong, by keeping our word, by supporting our troops,we can achieve the peace we all want. I appreciate your listening tonight. I ask for your vote. And may God continue to bless our great land.
LEHRER: And that ends tonight's debate. A reminder: the second presidential debate will be a week from tomorrow, October 8th, from Washington University in St. Louis. Charles Gibson of ABC news will moderate a town hall-type event. Then, on October 13th, from Arizona State University in Tempe, Bob Schiffer of CBS News will moderate an exchange on domestic policy that will be similar in format to tonight's. Also, this coming Tuesday at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the vice presidential candidates, Vice President Cheney and Senator Edwards, will debate with my PBS colleague Gwen Ifill moderating. For now, thank you, Senator Kerry, President Bush. From Coral Gables, Florida, I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night. (Applause.),