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More headlines: George W. Bush on War & Peace

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Focus on core mission by removing US troops from Balkans

Bush’s advisors confirmed that a Bush administration would work to redeploy the 11,400 ground troops - about one-fifth of the 65,000 NATO peacekeeping troops in the region - out of the Balkans. They added, however, that no such redeployment would take place without consultation with America’s NATO allies. The remarks fleshed out Bush’s repeated statements that American troops should not be used in peacekeeping missions and should instead concentrate their efforts on preparing to fight wars in places like the Persian Gulf and the Korean peninsula.

“The role of the US military is not to be all things to all people. Bush does not support an open-ended commitment to keep our troops as peacekeepers in the Balkans,” said a spokesman. An advisor added, “Gore seems to have a vision of an indefinite US military deployment in the Balkans. He proved today that if he is elected, America’s military will continue to be overdeployed, harming morale & re-enlistment rates, weakening our military’s core mission.”

Source: Steven Holmes, NY Times Oct 22, 2000

Revise NATO; US out of Balkans; Europeans in

Bush plans to tell NATO that the United States should no longer participate in peacekeeping in the Balkans, signaling a major new division of labor in the Western alliance. Peacekeeping in Bosnia and Kosovo would become a European responsibility. The US would focus on deterring and fighting wars in the Persian Gulf, Asia and other distant trouble spots. Bush’s plan would represent the most important revision of NATO tasks since the cold war. Bush says he would spend $45 billion of the surplus on the military over 10 years. Bush has contended that the military has been run ragged by peacekeeping and humanitarian work, missions that are taking a toll on morale and readiness.
Source: Michael R. Gordon, NY Times Oct 21, 2000

NATO: Europeans provide troops; US provides support only

Bush plans to tell NATO that the US should no longer participate in peacekeeping in the Balkans, signaling a major new division of labor in NATO. Under this arrangement, peacekeeping in Bosnia and Kosovo would become a European responsibility, as could peacekeeping in other conflicts. The US would focus on deterring and fighting wars in the Persian Gulf, Asia and other distant trouble spots. Bush’s plan would represent the most important revision of NATO tasks since the cold war. His aides say the change is long overdue and would let the American military concentrate its training and financing on traditional combat missions.

The US would continue to provide intelligence, help with communications, transport and do other logistical work after withdrawing its peacekeeping troops. “We are not withdrawing from Europe,” an adviser said. “But when it comes to nation-building or civilian administration or indefinite peacekeeping, we do need for the Europeans to step up to their responsibilities.”

Source: Michael Gordon, NY Times Oct 21, 2000

Bush wants Europeans in Balkans; they’re already there

We don’t need to persuade Europe “to put troops on the ground” in Kosovo, as Bush suggested, because almost 85% of the soldiers there now are from Europe. When bombing broke out in Bosnia, Bush did not leap to support it, as he claimed, but said at the time he was “praying,” before eventually lending an equivocal voice.
Source: Time, p. 62, “Double Standard” at Wake Forest debate Oct 19, 2000

Harming NATO is a strategic interest & warrants intervention

GORE [to Bush]: [Regarding] when it’s appropriate for the US to use force around the world, at times the standards that you’ve laid down have given me the impression that if it’s something like a genocide or ethnic cleansing, that that alone wouldn’t be the kind of situation that would cause you to think that the US ought to get involved with troops. There have to be other factors involved for me to want to be involved. But by itself, that, to me, can bring into play a fundamental American strategic interest because I think it’s based on our values.

BUSH: If I think it’s in our nation’s strategic interests, I’ll commit troops. I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO, and that’s why I took the position I took. I think it’s important for NATO to be strong and confident. I felt like an unchecked Milosevic would harm NATO. So it depends on the situation, Mr. Vice President.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

After U.S. victory, Europeans should keep peace in Serbia

Q: Is Milosevic’s defeat a triumph for U.S. military intervention?

BUSH: I think it’s a triumph. I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO in bombing Serbia. I supported him when they did so. I think it worked. I’m pleased I made the decision I made, and I’m pleased the president made the decision he made, because freedom took hold in that part of the world. There’s a lot of work left to be done, however. I don’t think he would have fallen had we not used force. I know there’s some in my party that disagreed with that sentiment. The administration deserves credit for having made it work. I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans. I hope that they put the troops on the ground so that we can withdraw our troops and focus our military on fighting and winning war.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Replace US troops with European troops in Balkans

One of the problems we have in the military is we’re in a lot of places around the world and I mentioned one and that’s the Balkans. I’d very much like to get our troops out of there. I recognize we can’t do it now, nor do I advocate an immediate withdrawal. That would be an abrogation of our agreement with NATO. No one is suggesting that, but I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Let Russians convince Milosevic to step down

BUSH: The Russians [should] convince Milosevic it’s in his best interest and his country’s best interest to leave office. The Russians have got a lot of sway in that part of the world, and we’d like to see them use that sway to encourage democracy to take hold.

GORE: Under some circumstances, that might be a good idea. But I’m not sure that it’s right for us to invite the president of Russia to mediate this dispute there, because we might not like the result that comes out of that. They currently favor going forward with a runoff election. I think that’s the wrong thing. I think the governor’s instinct is not necessarily bad, because we have worked with the Russians in a constructive way, in Kosovo, for example, to end the conflict there. But I think we need to be very careful in the present situation before we invite the Russians to play the lead role in mediating.

BUSH: Well, obviously we wouldn’t use the Russians if they didn’t agree with our answer.

GORE: Well, they don’t.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Pull US troops out of Balkans; and pay them more

“The current administration inherited a military ready for the dangers and challenges that faced our nation. The next president will inherit a military in decline. A volunteer military has only two paths. It can lower its standards to fill its ranks, or it can inspire the best & brightest to join & stay.” Bush promised to pull US troops out of peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and offer an additional $1 billion in raises for serving personnel, plus increased re-enlistment bonuses for key personnel.
Source: Staff & Wire Reports, CNN.com Aug 21, 2000

No deadline for removing troops from Kosovo

The two candidates generally share the philosophy of internationalism that was the hallmark of President Bush and that has animated Presindent Clinton’s policy. Governor Bush supported the Clinton administration’s use of force in Kosovo last year. And last week, when some congressional Republicans wanted to establish a deadline for removing US troops from Kosovo, Bush questioned the move, saying it would tie his hands if he became president.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A41 May 25, 2000

Supported intervention & ground troops; but without UN

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Be suspicious of agreement until Serbs gone & Kosovars home

America should be suspicious of any agreement with an indicted war criminal who has not kept his word in the past. The first sign of whether Milosevic will live up to his agreement will come when he begins to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. The withdrawal of all Serb forces must be prompt and complete. Second, the Kosovo refugees must be able to return home safely. Returning 850,000 refugees to their homes will be a monumental task. Our hopes must be matched by tough and continued vigilance.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Kosovo Accord” Jun 4, 1999

Timetable for US peacekeepers to hand over to Europeans

Once they are returned to their homes, the Kosovars must be protected by an international peacekeeping force with NATO at its core. Any US forces involved must be under US or NATO command. The President should also lay out a timetable for how long American troops will be involved and when they will be removed. If a residual force is needed, it is important that over time US troops are withdrawn and our European allies assume most of the responsibility.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Kosovo Accord” Jun 4, 1999

US could not maintain Iraq inspection regime indefinitely

"How long does [UN Inspector Hans Blix] think I can do this [maintain a limited US military presence]?" Bush asked. "A year? I can't. The United States can't stay in this position while Saddam plays games with the inspectors."

"You have to follow through on your threat," Condoleezza Rice said. "If you're going to carry out coercive diplomacy, you have to live with that decision."

"He's getting more confident, not less," Bush said of Saddam Hussein. "He can manipulate the international system again. We're not winning.

"Time is not on our side here," Bush told Rice. "Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war."

In Rice's mind, this was the moment the president decided the United States would go to war with Iraq. Military planning had been underway for more than a year even as Bush sought a diplomatic solution through the United Nations. He would continue those efforts, at least publicly, for 10 more weeks, but he had reached a point of no return.

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 18, 2004

Seeking $87B and UN Aid for War Effort

President Bush said that he would ask Congress for $87 billion in emergency spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that Iraq had now become "the central front" in the campaign against terrorism. Bush said defeating terrorists in Iraq "will take time, and require sacrifice," but he left open-ended how long US troops would remain in Iraq and how much the conflict and occupation would ultimately cost. The president also said he would ask the UN for additional international troops for Iraq.

In his 18-minute speech, Mr. Bush did not mention Osama bin Laden, who has so far eluded American capture in Afghanistan. He also did not mention the failure so far to find any unconventional weapons in Iraq, the major stated reason that the US went to war. Nor did Bush dwell on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, which he once predicted would abate if Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in Iraq. That conflict has worsened.

Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, NY Times Sep 7, 2003

Bomb Iraq routinely to enforce no-fly zone

Q: What is the message that you want to send with the new bombing of Iraq?

A: The US is engaged in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. We will remain so. Since 1991, our country has been enforcing what’s called a no-fly zone. A routine mission was conducted to enforce the no-fly zone. And it is a mission about which I was informed and I authorized. But, I repeat, it is a routine mission, and we will continue to enforce the no-fly zone until the world is told otherwise.

Q: Does this signal a hardening of the US position towards Iraq?

A: Saddam Hussein has got to understand that we expect him to conform to the agreement that he signed after Desert Storm. We will enforce the no-fly zone, both south and north. Our intention is to make sure that the world is as peaceful as possible. And we’re going to watch very carefully as to whether or not he develops weapons of mass destruction, and if we catch him doing so we’ll take the appropriate action.

Source: Press Conference, San Cristobal, Mexico Feb 16, 2001

$4M for Iraqi opposition to work inside Iraq

The Bush administration has given Iraqi opposition groups permission to resume their activities inside Iraq with American funding, marking the first substantial move by Bush to confront Saddam Hussein. By giving the go-ahead this week to a program with the benign-sounding purpose of “collection of informational materials in Iraq,” Bush officials moved beyond the policy of the Clinton administration, which harbored deep reservations about the Iraqi opposition.

The decision allows the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization for groups opposed to Hussein’s government, to draw from $4 million set aside by Congress for gathering information relating to Iraqi war crimes, military operations and other internal developments. Some of the money has already been used by the INC for logistics and training outside Iraq. But this week’s decision frees up funding for opposition operations inside the country for the first time since the US cut off similar financial support five years ago

Source: Alan Sipress, Washington Post, p. A1 Feb 2, 2001

Arafat should limit protests; terrorists should pay a price

On the renewed flare up of Arab-Israeli violence in the West Bank and Gaza, Bush said, “It’s time for our nation to speak with one voice.” Bush told reporters he “appreciates” efforts made by the Clinton administration to mediate the conflict. Bush also said that it is time for Arafat “to be a statesman” and convince Palestinian protesters to “put down their rocks.” For the most part, Bush avoided attacks on Gore. Campaign aides described the situation confronting the United States as extremely tense, and that it would be unwise for them to throw fuel on the fire.

On the USS Cole attack, Bush said, “I am saddened and angered by the cowardly attack on this naval vessel in Yemen. First, our prayers go to the families. It is a constant reminder that people wearing uniforms make sacrifices.” Bush said the Clinton administration must “find out the facts” so that the U.S. can take appropriate steps. “There must be a consequence,” Bush said.

Source: New York Times Oct 15, 2000

Iraq: Rebuild coalition to pressure Saddam

GORE: We have to keep a weather eye toward Saddam Hussein because he’s taking advantage of this situation [in Israel] to once again make threats and he needs to understand that he’s not only dealing with Israel, he is dealing with us.

BUSH: The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it’s unraveling, let’s put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don’t know whether he’s developing weapons of mass destruction. He better not be or there’s going to be a consequence, should I be the president.

Q: You could get him out of there?

BUSH: I’d like to, of course. But it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.

Q: You feel that as a failure of the Clinton administration?

BUSH: I do.

GORE: We have maintained the sanctions. I want to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Some say they’re too weak to do it. But that’s what they said about those opposing Milosevic in Serbia.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Reach out to moderate Arab nations

It’s important to reach out to moderate Arab nations, like Jordan and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It’s important to be friends with people when you don’t need each other so that when you do there’s a strong bond of friendship. And that’s going to be particular important in dealing not only with situations such as now occurring in Israel,. It’s important to have credibility and credibility is formed by being strong with your friends and resolute in your determination.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Israel’s capital should be in Jerusalem

Bush addressed the annual convention of B’nai B’rith International in Washington and renewed his support for moving the U.S. Embassy from outside Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, “the city Israel has chosen as its capital.”
Source: Kelley Shannon (AP), NY Times Aug 28, 2000

Pressure Saudis to keep oil prices low

Q: What pressures should be brought on OPEC nations to lift oil production? A: It’s important for the president to explain in clear terms what high energy prices will not only do to our economy, but what high energy prices will do to the world economy. It is in the Saudis’ best interests for the price of oil to mellow out. It’s not only in our country’s best interest; It needs to be explained to them it’s in their best interests. And I will do so.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Other candidates on War & Peace: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts