"This war is utterly disastrous," he said. "It's without parallel in modern American foreign policy history in the incompetence and in the lack of effort to bring elders of both parties together and create an atmosphere of solving it. And I am incensed that young Americans are losing their lives because these guys are arrogant and incompetent."
Dan Balz of the WaPo said of Kerry's speech Friday night, "Thirty-two minutes and 14 standing ovations later, the man who lost the 2004 presidential campaign left little doubt that if he runs again in 2008, he intends to be the chief prosecutor of the record of the Bush presidency." Kerry was relentless in his critique of Bush and his administration -- Keep it coming John...
Below are the excerpts from Bob Woodward's interview with John Kerry:
A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN KERRY INTERVIEW BY BOB WOODWARD
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In the months before the 2004 presidential election, The Washington Post's Bob Woodward sought to interview Sen. John F. Kerry, the Democratic nominee, about how he might have conducted foreign policy in the 18 months between Sept. 11, 2001, and the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. For his book "Plan of Attack," Woodward had interviewed President Bush on how and why he made decisions during that same period. Woodward gave the Kerry campaign a list of 22 questions based on Bush's actions, asking how Kerry would have responded at each key decision point if he had been president. Kerry declined the interview at the time. More than a year later, on March 7, Kerry agreed to be interviewed by Woodward and answer the 22 questions. Below is an edited version of their two-hour conversation.
ON PLANNING FOR WAR
John Kerry: Let me start at the beginning, because if I were president and we had been attacked as we were attacked on 9/11, I would have, first of all, created a kind of war cabinet similar to what other presidents have done historically, going back to Roosevelt and others. . . .
Now, you may have an executive committee within that . . . like President Kennedy did. But your war cabinet itself needs to be especially plugged in . . . so the right questions are on the table and the right questions are asked and the right discussion takes place. I mean, if you go back and look at Eisenhower, Eisenhower is smart in that he played less than fully briefed, so to speak, and he would let the staff fight it out in front of him and not let on what he believed or where he wanted to go. I think it's particularly important presidentially not to indicate your policy right up front unless there's such a clarity to it. For instance, in response to 9/11, there's clarity. We've got to go kill al-Qaeda. . . . In fact, I would have thought about starting that war differently.
Bob Woodward: In what way?
I believe that during that particular period of time you knew that they [the Taliban and al-Qaeda] had bad habits. They didn't believe that we would necessarily invade. . . . That is an enormous advantage with which to begin any planning. So they are running around in caravans, which we can see from technical means. They're talking on cellphones, which we can follow with technical means. It gave us time to put assets on the ground.