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Decision Iraq

Questions: How would you make sure that there was sufficient planning for both the war and the peace? What aspects would you want to be personally involved in or aware of as president?

6. On June 1, 2002, President Bush announced his preemption doctrine.

_____Campaign 2004_____
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Questions: Do you agree with it? What are the acceptable conditions for preemptive war? Bush has said that he believes the United States has a "duty to free people," to liberate them. Do you agree? Under what circumstances?

7. In July 2002, President Bush secretly ordered that some $700 million be spent on 30 major construction and other projects to prepare for war. Congress was not involved or informed.

Questions: How would you seek a relationship with the leaders of Congress so that they would be informed of such secret work? Should congressional leaders have an idea where you are heading? What should be the overall role of Congress in preparing for war?

8. In August 2002 (about seven months before the start of war in March 2003), Secretary of State Colin Powell told the president over a two-hour dinner that an Iraq war would have consequences that had not been considered or imagined. He said that an invasion would lead to the collapse of Iraq -- "You break it, you own it."

Questions: What would you do after receiving such a clear warning from a senior cabinet officer or other person with comparable experience?

9. On Nov. 8, 2002, the U.N. Security Council unanimously (15 to 0) passed Resolution 1441 on new weapons inspections in Iraq. Powell thought it was a critical victory, putting the United States on the road to diplomatic success.

Questions: What did this mean, now that Saddam seemed isolated and friendless in the world? Was strategic victory -- getting Saddam out of power -- possible through diplomacy or by continuing diplomacy and weapons inspections?

10. In November-December 2002, major U.S. force deployments began but were strung out to avoid telling the world that war was all but inevitable and that diplomacy was over. Rumsfeld told the president that the large U.S. divisions could be kept in top fighting shape for only two to three months without degrading the force.

Questions: How might a President Kerry have handled this? What is the role of momentum in such a decision-making process?

11. On Dec. 21, 2002, CIA deputy John McLaughlin gave a major presentation to the president on the intelligence evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The president was not impressed and asked where the good, strong intelligence was. CIA Director George Tenet twice assured the president that the WMD case was a "slam dunk."

Questions: What might a President Kerry have done when he smelled weakness in an intelligence case?

12. On Jan. 9, 2003, the president asked Gen. Franks: What is my last decision point? Franks said it would be when Special Forces were put on the ground inside Iraq.

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