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Tom Daschle on War & Peace

Former Democratic Senator (SD); Secretary of H.H.S.-Designee


2001: Counseled caution on use of term "war" on terror

Members of Congress were united in their declaration to protect the country. Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic majority leader, issued one cautionary note. He said I should be careful about the word war because it had such powerful implications. I listened to his concerns, but I disagreed. If four coordinated attacks by a terrorist network that had pledged to kill as many Americans as possible was not an act of war, then what was it? A breach of diplomatic protocol?
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.142 , Nov 9, 2010

2003: Bush failed at diplomacy; 2004: satisfied with Iraq

Daschle's contradictory behavior is particularly noteworthy on the first anniversary of the liberation of Iraq. On the eve of military action beginning in Iraq, Daschle attacked Bush:"I'm saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country" (Remarks to AFSCME conference, 17 March 2003).

Slightly less than a year later he suddenly reversed himself during a speech in South Dakota:"Daschle praised the Bush administration's war and nation building work in Iraq and said he has no serious concerns about the lack of WMD. Daschle is satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq. He said he is not upset about the debate over pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, an issue that has dogged Bush as Democratic presidential contenders have slogged through the primary season" (Rapid City Journal, 20 Feb. 2004).

Source: They Think You're Stupid, by Herman Cain, p. 77 , Jun 14, 2005

We can do much better fighting the war in Iraq

It was good that we got rid of Saddam. But the real question is how can we do a better job of fighting this war? We had an intelligence breakdown. As a veteran, I’m all the more sensitive to the tremendous challenges that we face in trying to wage this war. We’ve got to supply the equipment and the support for our troops they’re not getting in some cases today. We’ve got to listen to our military commanders. We’ve got to make sure we involve the international community a lot more than we are right now.
Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press , Sep 19, 2004

Would still voted to authorize Bush to go to war

Q: Knowing what you know now, would you have still voted to authorize Bush to go to war?

A: I stand by my vote. We can’t turn back the clock. We’ve got to go from here and look at how we can win this war. We’ve got to provide our troops more equipment. We’ve got to listen to our military commanders. We’ve got to have better intelligence. We’ve got to make sure we involve the international community in burden sharing a lot more than we are. We’re going to do better at this war in the future.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press , Sep 19, 2004

The war in Iraq is being run the wrong way

Q: Is Iraq the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time?

A: It’s being run the wrong way. There’s a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of those thousand who have died and those 7,000 who were wounded. The real issue is how can we do it better How can we make this work? The Bush administration has not provided any aid or any real appreciation for the international coalition that we have to create if we’re going to do this right. We’re not providing the equipment and the support for our troops It’s amazing we’re using sandbags and plywood in our Humvees and we’re doing bake sales for body armor. We’re not getting the military the equipment that they have to have to run this war. If you listen to the military commanders, if you had the international cooperation, if we really supported the troops with body armor and the equipment that they have to have, and if you did those kinds of things, we could be doing a lot better job than we are today.

Source: South Dakota Senate Debate on Meet The Press , Sep 19, 2004

Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

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

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

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

Voted YES on allowing all necessary force in Kosovo.

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

Voted YES on authorizing air strikes in Kosovo.

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

Voted NO on ending the Bosnian arms embargo.

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

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Daschle co-sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act

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

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Page last updated: Dec 15, 2011