*BUSH: The President argues that the U.S. can secure peace and stability in Iraq by training local forces to take over the policing of the country and ensuring that planned elections proceed in January. He hopes to have 125,000 Iraqi security forces trained by the end of this year and 200,000 by next summer, up from 98,500 now. Bush says he will defer to his military commanders on the question of future levels of U.S. forces, which now number about 137,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying to seize control of rebel-held towns in the Sunni triangle by flooding them with Iraqi security forces and reconstruction aid.
*KERRY: His plan for Iraq hinges on an expanded role for the rest of the world. He promises to hold a regional summit of key Arab and Muslim countries and press them to provide troops, money and training for Iraqi forces. Kerry intends to push NATO to make Iraqi security one of its missions. He pledges to accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces, get more U.S. allies involved in reconstruction efforts and hire more Iraqi contractors for infrastructure projects.
*BUSH: He says he would create a national intelligence director, as recommended by the 9/11 commission. He plans to hire more border-patrol agents and expand biometric identification at 50 major border crossings. Rather than increase active-duty troops, Bush wants to shift forces from cold war--era outposts like Germany closer to terrorism hot spots. He wants to renew all the provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Some of the act's most controversial measures will expire in 2005.
*KERRY: He also wants to create an intelligence czar, but one with power over the various intel budgets. To fight terrorists, Kerry wants to double the number of Army special-operations personnel. In all, he would like to add 40,000 active-duty soldiers to the U.S. military to ease the burden on overstretched troops. He wants to increase funding for inspecting cargo at ports and on airplanes and to create a single national terrorist watch list. He wants NATO to play a larger role in Afghanistan, where he says al-Qaeda is "regrouping and strengthening," and promises to get tough with Saudi Arabia, a source of terrorist funding and extremist teachings. Kerry supports the Patriot Act but wants to strengthen some measures in it, like those targeting money laundering, and ease others that restrict civil liberties.
*BUSH: He wants to continue multinational talks with North Korea aimed at persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear-weapons program. He rejects Pyongyang's demands for talks with the U.S. alone. He has been content to let European nations take the lead in leaning on Iran to forgo nuclear arms and submit to meaningful inspections. He has proposed increased funding for research on bunker-busting nuclear weapons that could strike nuclear, chemical or biological weapons caches buried deep underground.