Kerry, Allard spar on Senate floor
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Thursday April 6, 2006
A bitter exchange occurred on the Senate floor today after Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) claimed that a resolution calling for deadlines for withdrawl from Iraq had been politically motivated.
Allard had claimed that in Senator John Kerry (D-MA), "We're seeing an individual who's being spun in the political winds." He added that a Kerry resolution calling for an Iraq pullout is, "Not anything that we should take very seriously."
Allard also repeatedly compared the Senator negatively to President George W. Bush, seeming to suggest that the occupation should continue because he believes Bush's motives to be genuine.
"We see Senator Kerry going and being spun in the political winds while the President remains strong, remains forceful," He noted. "He truly is a leader in a very difficult situation in Iraq, and that's why I feel so very committed to supporting the President."
Kerry, who was in a committee meeting at the time of Allard's remarks, returned to the floor to confront them in a blistering debate.
"When it comes to issues of war and peace and young Americans dying, nobody spins me," Kerry announced early into a long and forceful rebuttal. "Period."
Kerry continued his argument that Iraq would respond to the deadline and form a government, allowing the U.S. to exit faster. This time, he directed his remarks squarely at Allard. "Let me ask the Senator from Colorado: Is it okay that young Americans are dying right now while politicians in Baghdad are frittering away the time and squandering the opportunity that our soldiers fought to give them?"
Kerry went on to cite observations made by the top U.S. General in Iraq, polls from U.S. troops, and Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi that seemed to contradict Allard's assessment that a plan was already in place to handle the situation, repeatedly asking if the Senator thinks he "knows better" than they.
Kerry's language became even more direct as he went on to blast Allard's assurances that the administration was credible on the topic of the war.
"Remember them telling us that U.S. soldiers were going to be received like conquering heroes with flowers all across Iraq?" he asked his fellow lawmakers. "They told us it would cost $20 billion to $30 billion. Remember that, colleagues?"
"No planning was put in place," he blasted. "What are we doing? Just drifting day after day after day... People have been able to make mistake after mistake after mistake, and people want to come to the Senate floor and defend it as somehow justifiable."
"What we need now," Kerry concluded, "Is civilian high pressure that is equal to the sacrifice of our soldiers."