You've heard a lot of blah blah blah from both campaigns about the war in Iraq, and let's face it, it's confusing. So here's a concise comparison of the two candidates' stances on the contentious issue:
Was the war justified?
President Bush believes that in a post-September 11 world where terrorists have declared war on America that we must be ready to act first — and, if necessary, alone — in order to defend America and its interests. Bush believes the war in Iraq to be central to the war on terrorism and that by removing Saddam Hussein and attempting to bring democracy to Iraq, the U.S. has made the world a safer place.
John Kerry initially supported the war in Iraq, based on prewar intelligence that detailed weapons of mass destruction held by Iraq. When that intelligence turned out to be incorrect, Kerry agreed that removing Saddam Hussein made the world safer, but said he felt it wasn't enough to merit a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Kerry believes that the war in Iraq is a diversion from the war on terror, which should be focused on capturing Osama Bin Laden and destroying al Qaeda.
Was there a plan?
Bush insists that in the days leading up to the invasion, he was assured by top military brass that America had adequate troops and resources for the war. When initial deployments proved inadequate, he asked for an additional $87 billion from Congress for military and reconstruction assistance, though little of this money has been deployed due to continuing instability in Iraq.
Kerry argues that while the president had a plan to win the war in Iraq, he didn't have a plan to win the peace. He says that because the president rushed into war against the wishes of America's allies, the U.S. has borne 90 percent of the casualties and financial costs of the war.
Where do we go from here?
Bush believes the war in Iraq has improved the lives of Iraqis and the security of the United States. He says we must stay the course to ensure democracy and security in the Middle East. This, he argues, will cause terrorist threats against the United States to be lessened. The president has said troops will remain in Iraq until the Iraqi army is strong enough to keep the peace.
Kerry believes that in order to achieve peace in Iraq, the U.S. needs to successfully globalize its efforts. Kerry says the only way to encourage other nations to join us would be through a change of leadership, because it is the president's leadership style that has alienated most of America's traditional allies.
For more information on the candidates and their positions, check back at ChooseorLose.com this week for more Bush vs. Kerry briefs. And don't forget to vote on November 2!