BALTIMORE – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) said Monday that adequate security is vital to a successful transfer of power in Iraq as he reiterated his call for President Bush to seek help from other nations.
Kerry said it is critical that the president get support from allies, "not resolutions, not words, but real support of sufficient personnel, troops and money to assist in the training of security forces."
"We must have security on the ground in order to be able to proceed forward with the reconstruction and the political transformation," Kerry told reporters. "It is vital to do the hard work and statesmanship and diplomacy necessary to get that."
Kerry said "it is absolutely stunning" that of the $18 billion that Congress approved for Iraqi reconstruction, only $400 million has been spent on security.
Kerry said that as the Iraqi people regain control of their government, the troops and their families deserve a debt of gratitude. He said he hopes the mission can be finished as quickly as possible so the troops can return home.
Speaking earlier on a call to a convention of the American Nurses Association (search), Kerry criticized Bush for being in a position now of having to repair relations with U.S. allies like Turkey, Germany and France.
"The world is far more tattered and volatile than it was when this president came into office," Kerry said. "And I believe one of the reasons is the ill-advised way he went to Iraq.
"The question should appropriately be asked by all Americans, why do we have a president who four years into his term is in a state of repair or disrepair?" Kerry told the nurses. "We deserve a president who knows how to get it right from the beginning."