Tuesday, August 17, 2004

What Kerry Said Then

So what exactly did John Kerry say on the floor of the Senate when he voted for the Iraq War resolution to authorize the use of force? Exactly what he's been saying for the last 2 years:

I am voting to give this authority to the President for one reason and one reason only: to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction if we cannnot accomplish that objective through new tough weapons inspections. In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitment he has made to the American people in recent days -- to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate inspection requirements and to 'act with our allies at our side' if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be the first to speak out... Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances.

- October 9, 2002

In truth, Bush did much of what Kerry wanted -- he did get a new UN Security Council resolution and he did bring other countries to the table. But Bush betrayed the spirit of the bargain John Kerry felt (naively in retrospect) he was entering into with his vote. The "coalition of the willing" is a farce and Bush did not let the inspections process play out. The fact is that the situation in Iraq prior to Bush's waging war did NOT rise to the level that John Kerry said was required for the use of force and so his subsequent criticism of Bush's handling of the war was perfectly consistent with his vote. One can criticize him for his judgment in voting for the resolution but calling John Kerry inconsistent on this is itself inconsistent with the public record.


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