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Kennedy’s Speech Against the Iraq War

Michael Cohen brings out a speech I tried and failed to YouTube: Ted Kennedy’s September 2002 warning against invading Iraq. The whole thing is worth reading, but this part is particularly haunting:

The President’s challenge to the United Nations requires a renewed effort to enforce the will of the international community to disarm Saddam. Resorting to war is not America’s only or best course at this juncture. There are realistic alternatives between doing nothing and declaring unilateral or immediate war. War should be a last resort, not the first response. Let us follow that course, and the world will be with us – even if, in the end, we have to move to the ultimate sanction of armed conflict.

The Bush Administration says America can fight a war in Iraq without undermining our most pressing national security priority — the war against Al Qaeda. But I believe it is inevitable that a war in Iraq without serious international support will weaken our effort to ensure that Al Qaeda terrorists can never, never, never threaten American lives again.

It’s easy to forget what the antiwar side actually vocalized back then, since it was caricatured so heavily. More prescience:

Even with the Taliban out of power, Afghanistan remains fragile. Security remains tenuous. Warlords still dominate many regions. Our reconstruction effort, which is vital to long-term stability and security, is halting and inadequate. Some Al Qaeda operatives – no one knows how many – have faded into the general population. Terrorist attacks are on the rise. President Karzai, who has already survived one assassination attempt, is still struggling to solidify his hold on power. And although neighboring Pakistan has been our ally, its stability is far from certain.

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