In both the first Presidential debate, as well as the Vice-Presidential debate, Kerry and Edwards displayed a complete lack of understanding of what the War on Terror is really about. Both made pointed remarks that "Saddam did not attack us", Osama did. And both insisted that they would focus, like a laser, on hunting down and capturing Osama, implying that this would spell victory in the WOT. On both points they are wrong.
Kedwards's assumption is that we are fighting a specific group - al Qaeda. And if we just capture their leader, then terrorism will stop and we win. But al Qaeda is not truly a fixed group - it is an ideology. This ideology, a mixture of religious absolutism joined with tyranny, has taken root in the Arab Middle East. And this ideology of Islamofascism is what we are fighting. Capturing bin Laden will do absolutely nothing to slow down this ideology or decrease the desire of the Islamofascists to kill us. (Aside: even if we did capture bin Laden, what would we do with him? Would you try him? And if yes, where? And for what? And what if he is found Not Guilty?)
This battle against the ideology is why the invasion of Iraq was necessary. No, Saddam may not have been directly tied to the 9/11 attacks. But he was inextricably tied to Islamofascism. The reason for the Iraq invasion was not WMD, or even Saddam's ties to al Qaeda. The reason was to fundamentally alter the dynamics and ideology of the region. Iraq was simply a good place to start because it was militarily weak, and we could enumerate various reasons for an invasion. In one way, it would have been better if the administration had come out and given that clear reason. However, politically it seems that this might have been an even tougher sell.
Kerry and Edwards either do not see the war in this way, or they are simply pandering to their leftist anti-war base who see any war as wrong. Either way, their position inspires very little confidence.