Before he was secretary of state and condemning Syria for its use of chemical weapons, John Kerry was a U.S. senator urging “exhaustion of all remedies,” insisting on “approval from Congress, laying out the evidence and making the case” and approval from the United Nations.
He was talking about the pending war in Iraq in an op-ed for The New York Times published on Sept. 6, 2002, as the Massachusetts senator was preparing to enter a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Kerry asserted that the United States should only go to war with Iraq if it had to.
“For the American people to accept the legitimacy of this conflict and give their consent to it, the Bush administration must first present detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and then prove that all other avenues of protecting our nation’s security interests have been exhausted,” Kerry wrote. “Exhaustion of remedies is critical to winning the consent of a civilized people in the decision to go to war.”
Kerry went on to say that Congress must be consulted and that the administration must not act on its own for the “legitimacy of our cause.”
“For the sake of our country, the legitimacy of our cause and our ultimate success in Iraq, the administration must seek advice and approval from Congress, laying out the evidence and making the case. Then, in concert with our allies, it must seek full enforcement of the existing cease-fire agreement from the United Nations Security Council,” Kerry wrote.
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