Transcript of Wesley Clark's Remarks on the Today Show

September 24, 2003

On Bush's Speech to the United Nations:
"Well I think he (President Bush) really laid down a marker of the kinds of tragic arrogance that this administration has represented in its conduct in the international community. Rather than bringing people together I think he set a marker down that he was going to be standing firm and everyone else was going to have to come to us and there's been a problem with this policy."

"I think he (President Bush) has really hurt us in this. I think this is a policy, this was a time the President of the United States should have been a leader of the whole world, he should have brought people together on this policy."

"We went into Iraq on a lack of evidence, on a basis of presumptions about intelligence perhaps, certainly on fear. We went in there without the full support of our allies and the international community. Now we need help. And now he's asking for help. No wonder he's having trouble getting it."

"The United States worked for 50 years after the 2nd World War to prevent conflicts, we set up the United Nations and we tried to promote the rule of law in international affairs. Now the United States always had, and every other nation does, the right to act preemptively if its about to be attacked. It doesn't have to wait to absorb the first blow. But to act the way we did in Iraq, that wasn't preemptive war. And so we've actually undercut the very principles this nation has stood for for two generations."

"He (President Bush) actually undercut the principle of the rule of law and what two generations of American leadership has stood for. He actually made the world a more dangerous place. Because what we did in Iraq was not preemptive war. It was a broader notion, you might call it "preventive war". It was the assertion that we've long rejected in international affairs that if there is a country out there that might be challenging, might be a problem well rather than deal with it some other way we would use force. And Matt, in international relations force should be used only as a last resort."

On His Position on Iraq:

"Well, I think my position has been very consistent throughout this. I've never seen an imminent threat from Iraq. I would have voted for leverage to take the problem up to the United Nations to give the President a strong hand to help the United Nations deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein."

"Matt, when it comes right down to it I would never have voted for war, because this was not a case that required war."

 


 


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