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Jesse Jackson Jr. On His Opposition to the Iraq War and the Patriot Act

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Last night we caught up with Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. As a Democratic platform committee member, Jackson led the campaign for voting rights and made sure the platform included language insuring that “every vote is counted fully and fairly.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask, the overwhelming number of delegates here are opposed to war, opposed to the USA PATRIOT ACT, yet we don’t see that reflected in the platform or from the podium.

REP. JESSE JACKSON JR.: Well, there are a couple of important points to recognize. First, I am opposed to the war. And I am opposed to the PATRIOT ACT. I even filed a lawsuit here in Massachusetts in Federal Court with John Boniface and a number of other members of Congress because I didn’t feel the President had sufficient authorization to go to war. With that said, the electorate right now is evenly divided. 45% for Kerry, 45% for Bush and there’s about 10% of the voters out there who have not made up their minds whether they are going to vote for Kerry or for Bush. And while the war was wrong and we are there on a misconceived notion of weapons of mass destruction, the reality is we are there now. And the Kerry administration and the Democratic Party is not going to cut and run. We are going to finish the task, we are going to establish democracy and then we are going to bring our men and women home.

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, Barak Obama said the problem with the invasion was the president didn’t commit enough troops.

REP. JESSE JACKSON JR.: The problem with the invasion was the president misled the American people and so State Senator, soon-to-be Senator Obama and I have a different take on that question. It wasn’t that there wasn’t enough troops. We have Saddam Hussein in jail, we have a locked up most of the members of the deck of cards that president bush went after. The problem is the rationale for the war. The problem with multi-lateral — with a preemptive strike, as opposed to a multi-lateral force, a war of choice over and against a war of necessity is the central problem. But we are there now. We have lost credibility in the world as a result of our being there and now we have to restore that credibility. We should finish the job at hand, should bring our men and women home as soon as possible and establish the necessary diplomatic ties and let the Iraqi people make a determination about their own future.

AMY GOODMAN: Chicago Congress member Jesse Jackson Jr., speaking to us outside the convention center last night.

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