We must be clear about when it is appropriate for a commander-in-chief to use force. As president, I will only use offensive force after all other options including diplomacy have been exhausted, and after we have made efforts to bring as many countries as possible to our side. However, there are times when force is justified: to protect our vital national interests...to respond to acts of aggression by other nations and non-state actors...to protect treaty allies and alliance commitments...to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons...and to prevent or stop genocide.The ellipses appear in the text -- I'm not editing his words.
In any case, Edwards seems to embrace just war principles.
Note that when asked how he would use force as President, candidate George W. Bush had a restrictive interpretation back in 2000. From the October 3 debate with Al Gore:
Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force.Readers may recall that candidate Bush was opposed to some uses of force -- for humanitarian purposes, especially, including nation-building. Bush often repudiated the so-called Clinton Doctrine.
Edwards would apparently bring back the Clinton Doctrine.
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