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Al Franken on War & Peace

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


Consistently opposed to Iraq War

Franken was opposed to the Iraq War and opposed to Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, which Coleman backed. Franken stood for universal health care; Coleman did not. These themes prevailed for the entire campaign, but issues became muddled amid a volley of wicked television commercials that dumbed down the debate and turned it all personal. Franken may have switched careers, but not his political compass. Coleman was a career politician who had often changed positions.

The far right news and information machine vigorously attacked him for his leftist politics and trail of obscenity-laced, sex-act-peppered writings and television work.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 68 , Sep 16, 2010

Astounded anyone would still believe Iraq war is good idea

On the war, Franken said he was “astounded” that Coleman “still believes [going to war in Iraq] was a good idea.”

Coleman responded: “I will not tell the parents of any kid who has died in Iraq that their son died because of a mistake. I simply will not do that.” He said the surge in Iraq succeeded in allowing “the forces of moderation to triumph over extremism,” and that “failure isn’t an option” in the continued battle against terrorism.

Source: 2008 MN Senate Debate reported in Star Tribune , Oct 17, 2008

Build schools in Afghanistan to keep them from Al-Qaida

The candidates agreed that the United States must continue to fight the conditions in Afghanistan and elsewhere that breed terrorism. “You want to get it to the point where it’s tamped down, where it’s not always harming us,” Franken said. Barkley called for fighting it more by “building schools, not bombs,” to keep the country from turning toward Al-Qaida.
Source: 2008 MN Senate Debate reported in Star Tribune , Oct 17, 2008

Keep our country safe; but Iraq was a mistake

Q: When would you vote to authorize the president to take military action?

A: There is nothing more important to me than keeping this country and its citizens safe. And I will never hesitate to authorize the president to use force--unilaterally if need be--to defend this nation against imminent attack, or to respond to an attack.

That said, I have been speaking out for years--in books, on my radio show, and in public appearances around the country--about what a massive and scandalous mistake the Iraq War has been.

Our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan are incredibly dedicated and professional, and I think we must honor their service by giving them missions that are necessary and make sense.

Military action should be a last resort, used only when there is no diplomatic solution, when there are clear and achievable objectives, and when the action has moral and political legitimacy.

The first paragraph of this answer is not incompatible with the next two. And I’ll never let anyone suggest that it is.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Convince the Iraqi government that we’re leaving by leaving

There is no reason to believe that the Maliki government is able, or even willing, to meet the political benchmarks necessary to make progress in Iraq: devising a fair plan to share oil revenues among ethnic groups; reversing the disastrous de-Baathification and putting Sunnis back to work; engaging and eliminating sectarian death squads; and starting a reconciliation process to defuse sectarian tensions. Conversely, there is every reason to believe that the Maliki government just wants us to stay there so that they can consolidate their power. Our troops should not be there to make that happen. The best way to convince the Iraqi government that we’re leaving is to actually start leaving. I support immediately beginning the process of bringing our troops home. Our withdrawal should not be precipitous, and we should have a national conversation about the best way to disengage--we should put more thought into how we get out than we did into how we got in. But we should start now.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

The litany of mistakes in Iraq is endless

After leading us into war under false pretenses, the Bush administration has dug us a deep hole in Iraq. The litany of mistakes is endless: the failure to send enough troops, the botched de-Baathification, the refusal to stop looting in the aftermath of the invasion, the firing of the Iraqi army (essentially telling hundreds of thousands of young Iraqi men, “You’re fired, get out of here, we’re not going to pay you, and take your weapons with you!”).
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

Start bringing our troops home from Iraq

It’s time to start bringing our troops home from Iraq. After leading us into war under false pretenses, the Bush administration has dug us a deep hole in Iraq. The litany of mistakes is endless: the failure to send enough troops, the botched de-Baathification, the refusal to stop looting in the aftermath of the invasion, the firing of the Iraqi army, and especially the Republican Congress’s refusal to do any oversight of the war.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , Mar 9, 2008

Muslims hate our policies; they don't hate our freedom

The Defense Science Board report, a formal report from an advisory board to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, was delivered in Sep. 2004; I think the report is worth quoting at some length: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

Muslims aren't crazy to think that the conduct of the global war on terror has devolved into a self-serving political exercise. You can't trust Cheney and Rumsfeld to give you straight information. You can't trust them not to believe their own propaganda. You can't trust them. Period.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.286 , Oct 25, 2005

We build barriers in Iraq, but should rebuild infrastructure

There is a monument to L. Paul Bremer in Iraq. And it's as perfect a symbol as the Statue of Liberty. It's called a Bremer wall. And there's not just one Bremer wall, but many, many Bremer walls.

A Bremer wall is a 12-foot-high, 5-ton reinforced concrete barrier that proved to be an innovative solution to the biggest problem in postwar Iraq: explosions.

The Bremer walls represented Bremer's legacy in many ways. Instead of providing security for all Iraqis, Bremer walls provided security for people lucky enough to live inside the Bremer walls--people like Paul Bremer. They reinforced the Iraqi's perception that our mission was not to protect them, but to protect ourselves FROM them. This is what reconstruction in Iraq has become. Building barriers instead of building Iraq's infrastructure.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.267 , Oct 25, 2005

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Page last updated: Apr 17, 2014