Edward M. Kennedy/Commentary

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For Edward M. Kennedy's position on pre- and post-war Iraq, see 2002/2003 Headlines listed under External Links below.

"Circumstances have changed significantly since Congress approved that resolution (authorizing the Bush administration to wage war against Iraq) last October. In the months that have passed, events have only strengthened my belief that this is the wrong war at the wrong time." --Sen. Edward Kennedy January 29, 2003.

Also see Operation Iraqi Freedom: Military and Political Dissent.

Edward M. Kennedy, according to his Congressional biography, "has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate since he was first elected in 1962 to finish the term of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Since then, he has been re-elected seven times, and he is now the second most senior member of the Senate.

"Throughout his career, Kennedy has fought for issues that benefit the people of Massachusetts and the nation. The effort to bring quality health care to every American is a battle that Kennedy has been waging ever since he arrived in the Senate. Recent achievements include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which makes it easier for those who change their jobs or lose their jobs to keep their health insurance, and the law that created the Children's Health Insurance Program 1997, which makes health insurance more widely available to children in all 50 states. Kennedy is currently a leader in the Senate in the effort to amend Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens.

"In addition, Kennedy is active on a wide range of other issues, including all aspects of homeland security and national defense, restoring economic growth and helping the unemployed, improving elementary and secondary schools and making colleges more affordable, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights laws, protecting a woman's right to choose, assisting individuals with disabilities, improving the fairness of our immigration laws, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, protecting and strengthening U.S. Social Security, and dealing with judicial nominations.

"Kennedy is the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee, and the Armed Services Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, a founder of the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

"Kennedy is the youngest of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School. His home is in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and children, Curran and Caroline. He also has three grown children, Kara, Edward Jr., and Patrick, and four grandchildren."

According to factmonster.com:

"Kennedy, Ted (Edward Moore Kennedy), 1932-, U.S.. Senator (1962-), brother of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and youngest son of Joseph P. Kennedy, b. Boston, Mass. Ted Kennedy served (1961-62) as an assistant district attorney in Massachusetts before being elected (1962) as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. After the assassination of his brother, Robert, in June, 1968, he became the acknowledged leader of Senate liberals and served (1969-71) as assistant majority leader. His political future was marred by his involvement in the Chappaquiddick incident (July, 1969), in which Mary Jo Kopechne, a passenger, drowned when the car he was driving fell into a creek. Kennedy's reputation recovered, however, and he continued to advocate such liberal programs as national health insurance and tax reform. He was long considered a potential Democratic president, but withdrew in 1974 from the 1976 race and failed in a 1980 primary challenge to Jimmy Carter. Kennedy is the author of Decisions for a Decade (1968) and In Critical Condition (1972).

"See biographies by W. H. Honan (1972) and A. Clymer (1999); studies by J. M. Burns (1976) and R. Sherrill (1976); B. Hersh, The Education of Edward Kennedy (1972) and The Shadow President (1997)."

Political Graveyard:

"Kennedy, Edward Moore (b. 1932) -- also known as Edward M. Kennedy; Ted Kennedy -- of Boston, Suffolk County, Mass. Grandson of Patrick Joseph Kennedy (1858-1929) and John Francis Fitzgerald; son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy; brother-in-law of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.; brother of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Robert Francis Kennedy and Jean Kennedy Smith; uncle of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Joseph Patrick Kennedy II and Mark Kennedy Shriver; father of Patrick Joseph Kennedy (1967-). Born in Boston, Suffolk County, Mass., February 22, 1932. Democrat. Lawyer; U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1962-; candidate for Democratic nomination for President, 1980; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 2000. Catholic. Pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, after his car plunged off the Dike Bridge, on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, on July 18, 1969. Still living as of 2003. See also: congressional biography. Books about Edward M. Kennedy: Adam Clymer, Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography; Richard E. Burke, The Senator : My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy."


  • "Don't sacrifice your political convictions for the convenience of the hour."[1]

Other Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

Headlines re War in Iraq

  • Wolf Blitzer, Bush 'fed up' with Iraq, CNN.com.us, January 21, 2003: "In a speech delivered at the National Press Club today, Sen. Edward Kennedy took a hard anti-war stance. 'I continue to be convinced that this is the wrong war at the wrong time. The threat from Iraq is not imminent, and it will distract America from the two more immediate threats to our security -- the clear and present danger of terrorism and the crisis with North Korea.' Kennedy, who voted against the Senate resolution in October authorizing the President to take military action against Iraq, said the inspectors need more time. 'If our goal is disarmament, we are likely to accomplish more by inspections than by war.'"
  • Susan Milligan, Members of House Petition for Caution, Boston Globe, January 25, 2003: "'The American people don't want this war, our global allies don't want this war, so why is President Bush stampeding down the warpath, and not working toward a real solution to disarm Saddam?' Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a speech yesterday at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University."
  • Edward M. Kennedy, Our Nuclear Talk Gravely Imperils Us. Notion of a First-Strike Use in Iraq Carries The Seed of World Disaster, Los Angeles Times Commentary, January 29, 2003 [Truthout.org].
  • Edward M. Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Ted Kennedy) went to the Senate floor of the US Senate on January 29, 2003 to introduce a new resolution on the use of force in Iraq: "Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that before the President uses military force against Iraq without the broad support of the international community, the President should - (1) provide full support to the United Nations weapons inspectors to facilitate their ongoing disarmament work; and (2) obtain approval by Congress of new legislation authorizing the President to use all necessary means, including the use of military force, to disarm Iraq."
  • Alvin Powell, Kennedy questions Iraq strategy, Bush commitment to education, health care, Harvard Gazette, January 30, 2003.
  • Tim Wheeler, Mandela, Carter, lawmakers:'Let UN inspectors work', Communist Party USA, February 10, 2003: "On Capitol Hill, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) introduced resolutions to repeal the authorization for military force approved by Congress last Oct. 16.... Kennedy made his peace appeal in responding to Bush's State of the Union address. 'I'm concerned that what we heard last night was not only a go-it-alone foreign policy but a you're-on-your-own policy at home,' said Kennedy. 'Instead of rushing down the path to war with Iraq, the American people deserve a full debate. Putting American lives at risk is the most solemn responsibility of our government. That's why I intend to introduce a resolution to require the president to come back to Congress and present convincing evidence of an imminent threat before we send troops to war with Iraq.'"
  • Edward M. Kennedy, Securing America and Disarming Saddam: Concerns about the President's Rush to War in a Dangerous World. Address of Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the United Methodist Church Legislative Conference, March 4, 2003.
  • USA at War: Rumsfeld Doubles Estimate for Cost of Troops in Iraq, loper.org, July 2003: "With American forces suffering almost daily attacks in Iraq, that statement did not satisfy Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who challenged Mr. Rumsfeld by saying that 'we have the world's best-trained soldiers serving as policemen in what seems to be a shooting gallery.' Mr. Kennedy said that 'the lack of a coherent plan is hindering our efforts at internationalization and aggravating the strain on our troops.'"
  • The Failure of Iraq, balloon-juice.com, July 16, 2003. Article disagrees with notion of "failure".
  • Carl Hulse, Senate Rejects Panel On Prewar Iraq Data, New York Times, July 17, 2003: "'The American people want to know how long their sons and daughters are going to be shot at in Iraq,' said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. 'How long? And what's the policy? And why?'"
  • Jelen DeWar, Senate Rebuffs Democrats' Moves to Challenge Bush on Iraq, Washington Times, July 17, 2003: "The proposal, offered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), would have asked Bush to submit a report to Congress within 30 days on a timetable for seeking NATO participation in Iraq and for U.N. Security Council authorization for a multinational security force, including NATO troops. 'Even President Bush is now saying that rebuilding Iraq will be a massive and long-term undertaking,' Kennedy said. 'What we need most now is to share at least some of the burden with the international community.'"
  • Edward M. Kennedy, Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the White House Report on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, July 23, 2003.
  • CIA Adviser Says Iraq Weapons Clues Found, AP, August 1, 2003: "'There was no imminent danger, and we should never have gone to war,' said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass."
  • Kennedy labels Iraq war a 'fraud', Washington Times, September 19, 2003.
  • Steve LeBlanc, Kennedy blasts decision to go to war in Iraq, AP, September 19, 2003.
  • David R. Guarino and Elisabeth J. Beardsley, Ted K: Bush's war is a fraud, Boston Herald, September 19, 2003.
  • Kennedy Breaks Cover on Iraq Fiasco, AP (Victoria Indymedia), September 19, 2003: "The case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud 'made up in Texas' to give Republicans a political boost, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said yesterday. In an interview with the Associated Press, Kennedy also said the Bush administration has failed to account for nearly half of the $4 billion spent each month for the war. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops. He said the Bush administration's Iraq policy is 'adrift'."
  • Anne E. Kornblut, Bush calls Kennedy's Iraq criticism `uncivil', Boston Globe, September 22, 2003.
  • Lawrence M. O'Rourke, Democrats question growing costs in Iraq, KnoxNews.com, September 23, 2003.
  • David Espo, Bush Faces Pressures Over Iraq Policy, AP, September 23, 2003: "Bush called [Kennedy's] remarks 'uncivil.' Tom DeLay said they were 'just as disgusting as they are false.' Several GOP senators sharply assailed the Massachusetts lawmaker Tuesday in a coordinated attack on the Senate floor.... Chastened slightly, if at all, Kennedy offered a self-defense that omitted the charges of fraud and bribery but said: 'Our policy cannot be all take and no give.'"
  • Marianne Means, Crossfire of words over war in Iraq, Houston Chronicle, September 23, 2003: "Since the Massachusetts senator bluntly said aloud what many Democrats think -- that the administration trumped up reasons to justify war against Iraq for political gain -- Republicans are rushing to accuse him of being unpatriotic. This is a standard tactic the GOP uses to intimidate President Bush's critics. It has worked fairly well in the past against uneasy congressional Democrats, who have been torn between supporting the war and opposing it. But with the president's credibility sagging and the administration backing off its own dire prewar warnings, such charges don't work so well any more. Criticism seems both responsible and inevitable, if belated."
  • Carl Hulse, Once an Ally of Bush at Home, Kennedy Lashes Out on Iraq, New York Times, September 27, 2003: "At every turn, and with rising passion, he has blistered the White House for its calculation to go to war and for failing to adequately plan for the occupation."