Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Former senator’s speech focuses on fixing U.S. foreign policy

Former Senate majority and minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) told an overflowing audience that American foreign policy is “broken but not irreparable” and that the world holds America in the lowest esteem now than it has at anytime in history during Wednesday’s 16th Annual Richard W. Leopold Lecture.

Daschle told approximately 400 Northwestern students, administrators and local residents that events like Hurricane Katrina, prison scandals and the rising death toll in Iraq have shocked the world with a new, more vulnerable view of America.

“(The world was) shocked to see images of an America they had no idea existed – impoverished, divided, left behind,” he said. “They were shocked to see a government that seemed too callous and incompetent. – The world looks to us for leadership and looks to us for inspiration. It is important to our foreign policy to build an America at home and abroad that is worthy of the world’s aspirations.”

Daschle opened his 90-minute speech with anecdotes about his son, Nathan, a 1995 NU graduate. Daschle told his son, who lost a bid for Associated Student Government president by 10 votes, “Life is all about close elections.”

Daschle lost re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 after representing South Dakota for 18 years. He became the second-youngest person to serve as a Senate party-leader.

Daschle also responded to comments made Tuesday by Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.). Frist said Daschle would not have called a closed session as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did Tuesday to discuss prewar intelligence on Iraq.

“He did exactly what I would have done in his shoes,” Daschle said.

Daschle admonished the Bush administration’s failure to find Osama bin Laden and its handling of Iraq.

“(Bush) misused intelligence to start a war in Iraq, failing to plan for its aftermath and refusing to level with the country or our troops about what it will take to correct failures.”

He said he does not regret voting for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. He called for the withdrawal of 80,000 of 150,000 troops in Iraq by January, following Iraq’s December elections.

“It is not a question of if we made the right call before, but if we make the right calls now,” Daschle said.

He said the number of troops withdrawn from Iraq must include all National Guard and Reserve forces and withdrawn troops should be directed toward finding Osama bin Laden.

“We learned the hard way with Katrina that we do our homeland security a disservice if we keep the National Guard tied down in Iraq,” he said.

Daschle concluded his talk, which included his concerns about terrorism and the global AIDS epidemic, by recommending increased international cooperation.

“We must (create foreign policy) in a way that recognizes the power of example, that uses our military in a wise and trustworthy way, and respects the importance of alliances,” he said.

His speech elicited bursts of applause in 107 Harris Hall. The Leopold lecture is held near a room dedicated to the former history professor.

Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected].

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Former senator’s speech focuses on fixing U.S. foreign policy