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Bill Richardson on War & Peace

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Surge failing politically, even if reducing violence

Q: Are you ready to concede that John McCain was right in proposing that this military surge, because it seems to be having a positive impact?

A: Absolutely not. I welcome this positive news, obviously. We want to see a reduction in the violence, but the questions that I would ask, has there been progress among the political groups in Iraq for a reconciliation? The answer is “Very limited.” Has there been progress in dividing up the oil revenues so that there can be a reconciliation? The progress is minor. Has there been an effort to reach out, in a very tough way, to Iran, to Syria, to have a regional agreement that involves a potential U.N. peacekeeping force, a reduction of tensions? The answer is no.

This policy is not working. And you talk about energy; you talk about health care and education, we are spending billions on this war with no end, when we should be spending these billions at home on education, on health care, on human resources, on helping our people.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 22, 2008

Only Congress has authority to declare war on Iran

Q: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have the constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites--a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

A: The Constitution assigns to Congress, not to the President, the power to declare war. However, in the case of an imminent threat, when there is no time to go to Congress, the Commander in Chief may, and indeed must, act to protect the United States. Given that the Iranian nuclear program does not pose such an imminent threat, if the President believed it was in the US national interest to attack Iranian nuclear sites, he should seek prior authorization from Congress.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power , Dec 20, 2007

Pledge that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb

Q: Would you pledge that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb while you are president?

A: I would make the pledge. It would be through diplomacy. And what we’re also talking about is not just Pakistan. We’re talking about enriched uranium, a loose nuclear weapon, nuclear materials, fissionable material throughout the world. Even more of a threat than nuclear weapons is a loose nuclear weapons crossing the border. So what we need is an international agreement. But the key has to be diplomacy.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Negotiate with Iran without any conditions

Q: Would you negotiate with Iran without any conditions?

A: Yes, I would. I want to just say to you that, in my judgment, we have to use diplomacy. There is a redline. We cannot permit Iran to use nuclear weapons. What you do is Ahmedinejad--it’s very difficult to deal with him. But there are moderate elements in Iraq. There are moderate clerics. There’s students. There’s a business community. We can achieve a compromise on the nuclear issue. In exchange for them having a nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear power, they don’t develop nuclear weapons--carrot & sticks, diplomatic initiatives, economic incentives. The problem is we saber-rattle. This resolution in the Senate saber-rattles. It’s critically important that we talk to North Korea, & to Syria, & that we talk to Iran. It’s going to take skilled diplomacy. If we’re going to resolve the situation in the Middle East, if we’re going to get Iraq to stop Iran’s helping terrorists, we have to engage them vigorously, potentially also with sanctions.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

UN pressure in 1997 kept Saddam from restarting nuke program

In November 1997, after months of wrangling between Saadam and weapons inspectors, my team and I worked closely with the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning Iraq for defying inspectors. Every member voted for the resolution.

The Bush administration thinks that using military power is the way to solve the world’s problems. Yet our experience in 1997, working multilaterally to contain Saadam, brought us together with other nations. We employed force in a strategic way, in collaboration with our allies, patrolling Iraq’s skies and the Persian Gulf. Today, instead, having used force almost unilaterally to invade Iraq, and having conducted the war and reconstruction so badly, we are isolated. As a result, Iraq is in civil war.

In 1997, we sent a very clear message to Iraq that you have to back off, you have to start behaving, and there are going to be consequences unless you do. International cooperation worked better than unilateral action.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 34-35 , Oct 26, 2007

Multilateral security with Iran; instead of saber-rattling

Today some speak of “keeping all options on the table” with respect to Iran, translating to saber-rattling and the possibility of military action or even invasion of Iran. We have already had two wars in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region in the past 15 years.

My view is that the US should work closely with Persian Gulf nations, with our allies, and with UN Security Council members to create a multi-lateral security arrangement for the Persian Gulf. No region in the world demands more international attention. We need to have dialogue with Iran, not just close our eyes and shake our fists.

It is in Iran’s interest, as well as Saudi Arabia’s and the other Arab states’, to move oil safely through the Straits of Hormuz. It is the one interest, putting aside religious and cultural differences, that might constructively engage those nations with each other.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 80-82 , Oct 26, 2007

Leaving some troops is just changing mission, not ending war

Q: You have said that you will bring home all troops within a year. You’ve heard three opponents say they can’t do it in four years. How can you do it in one year?

A: I have a fundamental difference with Sen. Obama, Sen. Edwards & Sen. Clinton. Their position basically is changing the mission. My position in bringing all troops out of Iraq is to end the war. The American people want us to end this war. Our kids are dying--and my position is, that you cannot start the reconciliation of Iraq, a political settlement, an all-Muslim peacekeeping force to deal with security & boundaries & possibly this issue of a separation [into 3 states], until we get all our troops out, because they have become targets.

Q: How are you going to do this in one year?

A: We have been able to move our troops within three months--240,000--in and out of Iraq through Kuwait. I would bring them out through roads through Kuwait and through Turkey. I would leave some of the light equipment behind.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 26, 2007

When US exits, Iraqi insurgents will fight terrorists

Q: Pres. Bush said, “If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened. They would use their victory to gain new recruits.” You want to respond to the president?

A: Well, yes. I think he’s flat wrong. His policy is failing. Here’s what I believe can happen. If we withdraw our troops, you’ve got the insurgents that have been united today with Al Qaida, with the terrorists, against our troops. That’s what unites them. If we get out, then the insurgents will start fighting the terrorists--nobody likes foreign fighters in Iraq. What we need is diplomacy. So I’m not just saying the US should get out. We should take our presence out, put some forces in Kuwait, where we are wanted, put some forces in Afghanistan, where Al Qaida and terrorism are a threat, and then bring a regional solution by our U.S. diplomacy engaging and leading, instead of overreaction and contributing to a surge that is only making things worse.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Aug 26, 2007

African-American community has disproportionate war pain

The biggest danger in this country is that we are divided. We’re divided by race, Iraq, immigration, the lack of an energy policy, poverty, incarcerations. And I am running to unite this country. Polarization is not going to resolve bringing universal health care to every American. Polarization is not going to do something to cure an unacceptable statistic, that 25% graduation rate in Detroit is unacceptable, that one out of two African-Americans don’t get out of high school.

Polarization is not going to resolve getting us out of Iraq and bringing America again to a great place in the world where we used to be. The key to uniting this country, I believe, is to end this war in Iraq now.

African-American community has disproportionately been one of those with the most pain in this war. It affects military families with the least resources. But the African-American community saw early that this was a war that made no sense. The African-American community was right and George Bush was wrong.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

Sanctions would work on Iran

Q: The Republicans basically are suggesting the Democrats can’t be trusted with the nation’s homeland security. [In a recent debate, the GOP candidates said] they wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of having to use tactical nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s nuclear program:
GIULIANI: The problem [with] the Democrats is, they’re in denial. That’s why you hear things like you heard in the debate the other night that, you know, Iran really isn’t dangerous, it’s 10 years away from nuclear weapons. Iran is not 10 years away from nuclear weapons.
A: Would you use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent Iran from having a nuclear bomb?

A: You know, I was just horrified at that Republican debate. They want to keep these flawed policies in the Middle East and Iraq going. I would talk to Iran, but I would build an international coalition that would promote and push economic sanctions on them. Sanctions would work on Iran. They are susceptible to disinvestment policy.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 10, 2007

Open an ideological front in the war against Jihadism

We must open an ideological front in the war against Jihadism. There is a civil war within Islam between extremists and moderates -- and we need to stop helping our enemies in that civil war. We need to start showing, both through our words and through our deeds, that this is not, as the Jihadists claim, a clash of civilizations. Rather, it is a clash between civilization and barbarity. We need to present the Arab and Muslim worlds with a better vision than the apocalyptic fantasy of the Jihadists.
Source: Presidential campaign website, richardsonforpresident.com , Feb 8, 2007

Get bin Laden in Pakistan unilaterally, if Pakistan can’t

OBAMA: [to EDWARDS and RICHARDSON]: I stand by my statement that I would go into western Pakistan if we had actionable intelligence to go after al Qaeda, whether or not the Pakistani government agreed.

EDWARDS: If I as president of the United States know where Osama bin Laden is, I would go get him, period.

RICHARDSON: If we have actionable intelligence that is real and if Musharraf is incapable, which he is--because here’s a man who has not stood up for his democracy, he is virtually in a situation where he’s losing control--then you do take that action. However, first you use diplomacy. And diplomacy is to try to get what is best for the United States. And that is a democratic Pakistan with free and fair elections, and a concerted effort on the part of Musharraf or whoever is in the leadership in Pakistan to go after the terrorists in those safe havens which they have not done.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

We have an opportunity to get Musharraf to step aide

We have to be on the side of the Pakistani people, not the dictator. What we have today is an opportunity to get Musharraf to step aside & use the leverage of the assistance we’ve given him. Most of the assistance that we’ve given him--$11 billion--he hasn’t used to go after terrorists. He’s put it in military assistance for his fight against India. The money has been stolen. If we stand on a foreign policy of principle & human rights, along with protecting our security, that is the best direction.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

Negotiated with Taliban in 1998 to extradite Osama bin Laden

No cabinet-rank American had visited Afghanistan since 1974, and I was itching to give it my best shot.

Another part of the mission was not on anyone’s radar. We wanted to persuade the Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden or extradite him to the US, where he was under indictment for complicity in the 1991 World Trade Center bombing.

My message was that there was a chance of US aid to help rebuild Afghanistan & gain broader international recognition, but not unless they made peace with their opposition. The Taliban agreed to talks.

On bin Laden, I struck out. His expulsion would do wonders for [Afghanistan]’s standing in the international community. I requested an audience with Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader and the key to bin Laden. That would give me the opportunity to convey President Clinton’s deep concern about Bin Laden’s terrorist activities and his use of Taliban territory as a base. Later, on the evening news, NBC reported that bin Laden had threatened to kill me.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.225-229 , Nov 3, 2005

Move troops to Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda

I would keep troops in Kuwait, where they are wanted. I would move them to Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda. But I believe that our troops have become a target. Our troops right now have done a magnificent job. And so what the difference between all of us here is this: all of these resolutions, the funding supplemental, appropriation on funding on issues relating to timetables is not working because Bush is vetoing.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007


Bill Richardson on Iraq War

Donor conference: get EU & Arabs to pay for reconstruction

Q: Is Petraeus correct when he says that the troop increase is bringing security to Iraq?

A: The surge is not working. There is less possibility of a political solution right now. Three out of the 18 benchmarks of the Government Accountability Office have been fulfilled. 65% of the Iraqi people now say it’s OK to shoot a US soldier. Our troops are dying. Over 3,800, two today, 60,000 wounded, casualties, mainly mental trauma. We get the troops out in a year, leave no residual forces behind. Not just wave goodbye because we have a responsibility. That is: one, to get a political compromise, a US-led political compromise among the three groups that they share power -- the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds -- that they share oil revenues, that we have an all-Muslim, all-Arab peacekeeping force, with some European forces, headed by the UN, a donor conference that involves other countries -- European Union, rich Arab states, contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq, where we have spent $500 billion.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

The surge is not working; Petraeus just being team player

Q: What’s your assessment of the testimony by Gen. Petraeus & Ambassador Crocker?

A: Both are distinguished public servants, but they’re basically serving an administration who has a failed policy. They’re being team players. So, I’m not convinced. In my judgment, the surge is not working. There’s only a political solution to this disastrous war. There is no military solution. In essence, what they’re talking about is that there’s going to be a withdrawal of 30,000 troops in a year [to return to 130,000 troops]. In my judgment, this war cannot end unless all our troops are out.

Q: You’re suggesting that by the end of the 2008, there should be no troops in Iraq?

A: If you really want to end this war, we have to take our troops out because our troops have become targets. If you leave them there, the Iraqis won’t be serious about starting the political reconciliation, and we would be unable to bring an all-Muslim peacekeeping force & a reconstruction process that would include Iran & Syria.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Iraqi situation is about to implode; withdraw all troops

Q: If Iraq collapses into a rogue state or failed state similar to pre-2001 Afghanistan, how serious would be the consequences for the Iraqis, the United States, and the neighboring countries?

A: Well, here’s my view. There’s already a civil war. There’s sectarian conflict. This Iraqi situation’s about to implode. If we withdraw all of our troops, then a possible rebuilding of Iraq can happen with a political reconciliation talks pushed by the United States. I would push it personally if I were president. A date and type agreement that would involve a partition, that would involve Iran and Syria being part of a reconciliation so that Iraq doesn’t implode. What brings everybody together, what unites all the region together, is that nobody wants thousands of Iraqi refugees. Nobody wants an implosion. I know the region. I was UN ambassador. I spent 80% of my time on Iraq.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Tri-partite entity within Iraq; reconcile three groups

Q: What is your plan to get out safely from Iraq

A: My plan is that, to end this war, we have to get all the troops out, all of them. Our kids are dying. Our troops have become targets. My plan has diplomacy, a tri-partite entity within Iraq, a reconciliation among the three groups. I would have a division of oil revenues. I’d have an all-Muslim peacekeeping force, headed by the UN, a donor conference. But none of this peace and peace building can begin until all of our troops are out.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Move out troops, through Turkey & Kuwait, in 6-8 months

Many generals agree with me that we can complete this withdrawal within six to eight months. Let me give you an example. Today in the Iraq war, through Kuwait over a three-month period, we have moved 250,000 of our troops. We would move them through roads in Kuwait. We would move them in roads through Turkey. We can do this negotiating with the Turks.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Withdrawing from Iraq lets real peace & reconciliation begin

Q: If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?

A: I will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the security of the US. By withdrawing from Iraq, the real peace and reconciliation in that country can begin. We can get the three groups together, we can have an all-Muslim peacekeeping force, we will have a donor conference to rebuild that country. And then we can focus on what really affects American foreign policy.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Iraq has become an endless quagmire

The lives of our young troops are more important than George Bush’s legacy. This is what I stand for: I believe we should bring all the troops home by the end of this year, in six months, with no residual forces. A hundred American troops are dying every month. And this war is a quagmire. It’s endless. And the time has come to bring the troops home. No politics.
Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Long road ahead is hauntingly similar to 1968

I first got involved with public service in the 1968 presidential election. This [election] is a hauntingly similar tune. Like 1968, we are a nation deep into an unwanted war, the president has lost the country, there is hurt and sorrow among our people, and there is a sense that no matter who is elected, we have a long road in front of us.

I’m optimistic about our country. I’m optimistic about the Democratic Party. We have the majority in Congress. And we’re going to put a Democrat in the White House.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 19, 2007

No troops left behind at bases; green zone; or for training

Some will tell you that we only have two options: we either stay in Iraq and try to referee a civil war, or leave and watch the Middle East collapse into a regional war.

I have a different view. The fundamental difference [from other candidates’ view] is how many troops each of us would leave behind. Other than the customary Marine contingent at the embassy, I would leave zero troops behind. Not a single one. And if the embassy isn’t safe, then they’re all coming home too.

So here is Bill Richardson’s position: no air bases, no troops in the green zone, no embedded soldiers training Iraqi forces, because we all know what that means. It means that our troops would still be out on patrol with targets on their back.

Clearly my colleagues in this campaign think it’s responsible to have an ongoing military role in Iraq. I respect that. They voted not once, but twice to leave troops behind. [If you believe in leaving no troops behind], you can sign our petition at notroopsleftbehind.com.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 19, 2007

No long-term Korea-like presence in Iraq

Q: You’ve recommended that the US get out of Iraq effectively by the end of this year. The US commander, General Petraeus, is now saying that some progress is being made. Why not give this new strategy that Gen. Petraeus is trying to implement a chance?

A: I’m pleased with that progress and I respect him very much, but the reality is that our troops have become the targets. This is an outright civil war, a sectarian conflict.

Q: There is even talk now of having some sort of Korea-like presence in Iraq for decades to come. Is that unacceptable?

A: It is totally unacceptable. I’ve been in Korea many, many times, in North Korea and South Korea. The South Koreans want us there. There is no outright shooting taking place. It’s totally a different situation. And my concern is that the surge that we proposed, the policy of continuing this conflict with more troops, is going to leave us more vulnerable to Al Qaida.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 10, 2007

Obsession with Iraq makes us more vulnerable to al Qaeda

Q: Why not give this new strategy that General Petraeus is trying to implement a chance?

A: I respect him very much, but the reality is that our troops have become the targets. This is an outright civil war, a sectarian conflict.

Q: There is even talk now of having some sort of Korea-like presence in Iraq for decades to come. Is that acceptable?

A: Well, it is totally unacceptable. I’ve been in Korea many, many times. It’s totally a different situation. And my concern is that the surge that we proposed, the policy of continuing this conflict with more troops, is going to leave us more vulnerable to Al Qaida. Our obsession with Iraq has caused us to lose focus in the fight against international terrorism and Al Qaida, nuclear proliferation, a loose nuclear weapon, and other challenges that we face, like global climate change, other issues that affect our national security in the region.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jun 10, 2007

Deauthorize the war; original resolution no longer operative

Q: The Democratic leadership in Congress agreed to take away that withdrawal language and pass a funding bill for Iraq. Should the Democratic leadership have done that?

A: No. I believe the Democrats in Congress missed a great opportunity. The American people want us to get out of Iraq, and we must because it’s hurting our national interest. What the Democrats have been doing is focusing on the wrong initiative, and that is more funding cuts, more timetables. What I would propose is a deauthorization resolution, under the War Powers Act, Article I, that basically allows the Congress to determine whether we’re at war at not. And what has happened now is that the first resolution that was voted on several years ago is not operative anymore. Sadaam Hussein is out, there are no weapons of mass destruction, the American people are totally against this war. I believe a deauthorizing resolution would pass.

Q: You would have voted against a bill that did not have a fixed withdrawal date.

A:Yes.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Iraq now in civil war, & US troops are nothing but a target

Q: On your Web site you say: “We should get our troops out of Iraq this year. No residual forces left behind.” But compare to your book, “Between Worlds,” from 18 months ago, you write: “At this point we must see this mission through [until] the Iraqis have achieved control over their own internal security. We owe them the opportunity to make their democracy work. We must not undermine their efforts now.” Aren’t you now undermining their efforts?

A: As UN ambassador, 80% of my time was spent on Iraq. I know the region well. But look where we are now. There’s a civil war. We must withdraw all our troops because our troops today are a target.

Q: But that’s totally contrary to your book. So you’re now saying what you wrote in the book is no longer operative?

A: No, when we went into Iraq, I wanted to support the troops. But after incompetency, deceitfulness by this administration, the fact that there’s no WMD, the link to al-Qaeda was enormously suspect--there is no basis for us to be there.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Time for Iraqis to take over their own security

Q: What should we do now in Iraq?

A: What we need to do is disengage our troops but set up a three-pronged diplomatic effort: One, a reconciliation of all the three religious and ethnic groups in Iraq--the Sunni, the Shia and the Kurds--for a division of power, coalition government, divide up oil revenues, a date and type separation of three entities. Two, an all-Muslim peacekeeping force that I believe could provide security for Iraq, along with the Iraqis. And three, a donor conference to deal with reconstruction. The Iraqis are not helpless. They have 300,000 security forces, they have $150 billion in oil reserves, they’ve had three elections, they have a constitution, they have democratic institutions. It is time for them to take over.

Q: But there’s only 6,000 Iraqi troops that can stand alone and operate independently of US forces.

A: Yeah, but there’s 330,000 security forces that are being trained. The Maliki government [needs to] step up to the plate.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Supporting war initially was a mistake

Q: If US troops left, wouldn’t it worsen the situation in Iraq?

A: No. Because our troops are targets. And you cannot start reconciliation, you cannot start unifying the region until everyone believes that the American military presence is going to go. Like Yitzhak Rabin said, you don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies. It means talking to Iran, it means talking to Syria, getting an all-Muslim peacekeeping force--Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia--to be part of an all-Muslim effort that secures Iraq.

Q: But no residual force?

A: I would have troops where they’re wanted, in our bases in Kuwait. I would have a contingency in case of an international terrorist attack. Our involvement in Iraq has led us to fail to focus on the true threat, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Q: So you regret supporting the war initially?

A: Yes, I do. It was a mistake

Q: But you said you knew more about the region than anybody else.

A: Well, yeah. But it was a mistake. I openly state that.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Stop funding for Iraq war-it is a disaster and must end

Q: Would you vote to fund the troops?

A: No. Let me be very clear about my position. This war is a disaster. We must end this war. This is what I would do if were president today. I would withdraw all of our troops, including residual troops, by the end of this calendar year. I would use the leverage of that withdrawal, coupled with intensive diplomacy in three areas.

  1. A political framework led by the United States where the three religious entities in Iraq have a coalition government, divide oil revenues and possible set up three separate entities.
  2. I would convene a security conference, and I would invite Iran and Syria. They’re going to be tough, and we should be tough with them. But we have to have an international peacekeeping effort.
  3. And I would have a donor conference. I would have other countries take over the reconstruction responsibility and the security of Iraq.
Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Withdraw US troops by end of 2007, with no residual force

Q: What is the best and fastest way to end the war in Iraq?

A: If I were President today, I would withdraw American troops by the end of this calendar year. I would have no residual force whatsoever. What I would do coupled with that withdrawal, using the leverage of an American withdrawal of forces, would be to convene two diplomatic conferences. One, in a US-led effort to get the three sects--the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds--to put them in a room and I would say, you’re gonna divide up oil revenues, you’re gonna divide up cabinet ministries, there’s gonna be three entities in Iraq, based on the Dayton Accords. At the same time, a US-led security conference to deal with two issues: reconstruction and Iraq’s future security. That means that we also invite Iran and Syria. We have to look at Iraq not in an isolated way, we have to look at the whole Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and you get Iran and Syria to invest in the stability of the region.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Iraq policy is a massive failure; Iraq is in civil war

like the threat of nuclear proliferation, or a loose nuclear weapon. This is my plan for Iraq. It would be clear, it would be succinct, it would be strong, it would be almost immediate. I would withdraw within the next 8 months and I believe with this strong diplomacy, we give Iraq a chance to survive security-wise in the future and we protect our interests.
Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Congress should de-fund and de-authorize the war

Congress several years ago, the Republican Congress, authorized this war. I would pass a Congressional resolution, de-authorizing the war based on the War Powers Act. I served in Congress for 15 years. I believe this is the cleanest and quickest way to deal with this issue, otherwise we’re gonna be in endless debates, vetoes. I believe it’s important we proceed with cutting off funds and ending this war, but de-authorizing this war based on the War Powers Act, I believe, is the most important step.
Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Congress authorized this war; now de-authorize it

The Congress authorized this war. Now they should de-authorize this war. But we should do it in a way that gives Iraq a chance, with diplomacy, with inclusion.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

Find ways to withdraw from Iraq, but with diplomacy

I think it’s critically important too that if we’re going to resolve the situation in Iraq, in the Middle East, in the Persian Gulf, you can’t do it by just dealing with Iraq alone. You’ve got to find ways to withdraw, but with diplomacy. And that means talking to those that don’t agree with us -- to Iran, to Syria. (Applause.) I mean, for once the president listened and he talked to North Korea directly, and we got a little bit of an agreement.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

Iraq was single biggest issue as Clinton’s UN ambassador

Secretary of State Albright had said that Iraq was the biggest issue for the administration during my tenure as UN ambassador. I needed to make sure that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan remained aligned with us. Second, I had to keep an eye on the UN Special Commission--UNSCOM--the weapons inspectorate established after the Gulf War.

Iraq accepted Resolution 687 three days after it was passed in 1991. Given that hundreds of thousands of US military were on his doorstep, Saddam had little choice. At first, inspections seemed to go according to plan. By Aug. 1991, Iraq was throwing up roadblocks. It failed to make full disclosure of its proscribed weapons & programs, which was a requirement of 687. It blocked the use of helicopters by inspectors. New resolutions were passed, their demands either ignored or compromised by Saddam.

Our resolution represented the will of the international community, but frankly, it did not matter much if we were not prepared to back it up.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.212-215 , Nov 3, 2005

Voted against Kuwait war but later regretted it

[While negotiating in 1995 with Saddam for the release of two US oil workers arrested after getting lost near the Iraq border, I pointed out that], I did not vote for the Kuwait war, because I believed further diplomatic activity should have been pursued Later, when I became UN ambassador and had to deal with Saddam again, I realized that me congressional vote on the war had been a mistake. Seizing a neighboring country which happened to be a major oil exporter added up to a threat in my book.
Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p. 160-3 , Feb 2, 2005

Other candidates on War & Peace: Bill Richardson on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
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Page last updated: Jul 04, 2014