BOSTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) — As Sen. John Kerry criticized President Bush’s energy policies, the Democratic presidential hopeful defended his own conditional support of Bush’s Iraq war resolution.
The Massachusetts senator said in Boston Sunday night the United States should invest in new technologies to break the dependence on foreign oil.
“The Bush-Cheney energy policies leave us at the mercy of a region racked with violence and instability, now more than ever,” Kerry told some 700 people at the John F. Kennedy Library.
“We can no longer tolerate a dependence on foreign oil that could be cut off amid global chaos at the whim of unstable tyrants like Saddam Hussein,” Kerry said.
Calling for a new commitment to the environment, Kerry said the government should pursue new technologies that eventually will free vehicles from dependence on oil.
“Nowhere is there a more determined, more dangerous, more concerted frontal and stealth assault on our values and our future than the Bush administration’s disregard for the environment,” he said.
Kerry said the administration’s energy proposals were a “reckless pursuit of profit.”
Outside, a group of some 40 demonstrators urged Kerry to oppose military action against Iraq, chanting, “No blood for oil; no blood for oil.”
Organizer Eric Weltman said the protesters were sending a message to Kerry — “Oppose the dangerous, reckless and unnecessary war.”
“Kiss your votes good bye,” read a sign held by one protester. Another demonstrator criticized Kerry for “trying to walk down the middle.”
Later, talking with reporters, the decorated Vietnam veteran who came to oppose the war defended his vote last fall to support a congressional resolution authorizing military force against Iraq if it failed to give up its weapons of mass destruction.
He said he supported the resolution because Saddam Hussein “is a threat,” but added he would oppose military action “if the president goes unilaterally.”
Kerry said he has been pushing to build international support for action against Iraq.
“It seems to me there’s a time to rattle the saber louder and raise the rhetoric while you’re doing good diplomacy,” Kerry said. “I am supporting a legitimate, international, global effort to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.”
He said he understood the need to be “very tough and clear about your intentions in order to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that this is for real.”