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Dem Platform Highlights Security, Respect

Marching in lockstep with John Kerry's (search) agenda, Democrats adopted a platform Tuesday that pledges an uncompromising war against terrorists, repaired relations with the world and advances on jobs, affordable health care and education.

The days of platform fights long gone, delegates approved the document in a hasty procedure and a largely empty Democratic National Convention (search) hall.

"Is there any discussion?" asked New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (search), convention chairman. He didn't wait for an answer before calling a voice vote that brought a chorus of approval and only a few scattered "nays."

The platform is a broad statement of principles that is not binding on the presidential candidate or anyone else. Even so, it was crafted with care to avoid conflict with Kerry's positions while accommodating the ideological range of party activists.

Kerry's lieutenants avoided a platform fight at a hearing this month by persuading activists who wanted a strong statement against the Iraq war to accept less than that.

The document accuses President Bush of rushing America to war and exaggerating Iraq's danger to the United States but avoids calling the war a mistake, saying people of good will can disagree about that.

It emphasizes that Kerry as president would not allow the new Iraq to become a failed state because that would turn the country into "a haven for terrorists and a destabilizing force in the Middle East."

Campaign officials appeased the anti-war activists by saying that as other countries add troops in Iraq, America can reduce its military presence.

The platform is called "Strong at Home, Respected in the World," reflecting not only a commitment to defeat terror threats but to work more closely with other countries. It accuses Bush of squandering U.S. prestige by acting without broad international support.

Even so, the platform says a Democratic administration would "seek out and destroy terrorists" without waiting to be attacked.

"With John Kerry as commander in chief, we will never wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake, but we must enlist those whose support we need for ultimate victory."

In a change from 2000, the platform drops a reference to endorsing the Kyoto treaty on global warming, which the former Clinton administration helped negotiate. The Bush administration said the problem was overstated and abandoned the treaty.