You can probably imagine that I've been pre-occupied with Yankee baseball, but I have done my civic duty and reviewed the debates. Actually, I watched the first debate (Miami) in its entirety. You can grab the audio torrents here.
The underlying theme of the first Kerry vs. Bush confrontation was the war on Iraq. Bush repeatedly accused Kerry of waffling on the issues. He accused Kerry of changing his position in support of the war effort. Bush claims that Iraq crisis called for swift and concise action, not unilateral allied support.
Kerry argued that the real enemy was not Iraq, but Osama Bin Laden. The film Fahrenheit 911, explains why Bin Laden is still at large.
Many questions come to mind regarding concise action and unilateral support. What is the appropriate response for an act of agression against America? How long should you wait before this action takes place? I remember when I served aboard the USS Stark, and she was attacked by an Iraqi Mig Fighter. Although we were stunned, and lost 37 shipmates, no swift action was taken against Iraq. During that time period, the US supported Iraq in their fight against Iran. In fact, the US attacked Iranian oil platforms that were alleged to have been responsible for laying mines in the Persian Gulf shipping lanes.
The actions of the US gov't are always based upon the perceived gain. How do we benefit from an occupied Iraq? You be the judge.