Saturday, September 06, 2003

Howard "Oracle" Dean Part 2 - The Transcript

I talked earlier today about re-watching an interview with Howard Dean on the day the statue fell in Bagdhad and I remarked on how prescient some of his comments were about what might go wrong. I decided to take the effort to transcribe the interview here so others can see what I am talking about.

(All spelling mistakes are mine. There are a couple of places where the Governor flubs his comments. I chose to transcribe them as spoken instead of correcting them to what Dean obviously was trying to say. The 1st host is Gloria Borger. I don't know the name of the 2nd host.)

Howard Dean on CNBC, April 9, 2003

Host 1: Our next guest is one of the leading Democrats opposed to the war with Iraq.

Host 2: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is a candidate for President and is very vocal about his anti-war views. He joins us live here in Washington where he’s just been to a Children’s Defense Fund Forum with all the other Democratic Presidential candidates. Governor Dean, when you look, I’m sure you’ve watched these celebrations in the streets, when you look at that does that make you have second thoughts about opposing the war? These people are clearly grateful for what we’ve done.

Dean: No and I think we should be very proud of our military, they were obviously the strongest and the best in the world and they’ve done a terrific job and I’m delighted that Saddam Hussein is gone. But, the problem is that this is a preemptive war and this sets a pattern for other countries and for us into the future. I would not have done it this way. I have long believed that Saddam should have been removed and have said so. But, this is not the way I would have done it. This sets a lot of precedents for our foreign policy in the future, first of all. Second of all, we now have to administer Iraq. So, as I say, I’m delighted Saddam is gone. I wouldn’t have gone about it this way. And now we have the very hard work of trying to fuse this country into a lawful democracy with middle-class values, where women fully participate in the economic and political decision making of this country. And that’s going to be a hard task with three ethnic groups that don’t get along very well.

Host 1: Governor, doesn’t the President though deserve some credit here? You gave the military some credit but what about the President of the United States?

Dean: Well, I disagree with the policy Gloria. So, certainly I’m not going to, as I have refrained from doing, make partisan remarks about the President. But, I don’t agree with this policy. I think the policy of pre-emptive war is a new issue for the United States, a new place that we have never been before, and certainly the military is very successful. I never had a doubt that if we were going to go to war that the military would be successful. Now we have the very hard work of governing this country, of trying to bring it into the 21st century, creating democratic values and we’re going to need some help and I think the President should turn to our NATO allies and to the United Nations because we don’t want to be seen as an occupier. Right now we’re seen as a liberator and that’s terrific. But, when we are seen as an occupier, we may lose lives as we did in Beirut when the marines went there and we need to guard against that.

Host 2: But let me ask you, why should we turn to the United Nations when among the leading powers in that group are France, Russia, China, all of which opposed us and didn’t help in the war effort.

Dean: Because turning to the United Nations is not, we’re not doing it for the United Nations benefit, we’re doing it for our benefit. Ultimately what’s going to happen is, as we stay in Iraq, and begin to build the institutions for the rule of law and democratic rule that’s going to take some time. And, the longer we’re there, the more we’re going to be seen as outside occupiers. So, we need to share that responsibility. The United Nations and other countries have been very helpful in Afghanistan. They will be helpful in Iraq. And I think they need to gradually brought in.

Host 1: Well, I have to ask you a political question since you’re running for President. 71% of the people in this country supported the war, just over half of democrats supported the war, will an anti-war candidate, such as yourself, have difficulty winning a general election in this country in which national security may well be an issue?

Dean: National security is an issue, but I believe that the President can be criticized, and probably will be, for not enough attention to homeland security. Bob Graham for I both voted against the war, principally in some ways because we didn’t feel that the President was taking on the real issues which are North Korea and Al Qaeda. Both of which are far more danger, dangerous to Iraq. Iraq really did not pose an immediate threat to the United States. In fact, there have been no chemical weapons that have even been found yet, although I believe there will be at some point. So, I think the real issues in the campaign are going to be Homeland Security and are going to be the economy. The economy is not getting better. And the election is a long ways away so the answer to that is I think I’ll get some credit for standing up for what I believe in the face of 71% of folks who have a different point of view, at least for now. But the most important part is as Governor I’ve balanced budgets, I’ve brought people health insurance and I think that’s the direction this country needs to go in.

Host 2: Governor Dean, thank you very much for being with us.


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