Monday, August 09, 2004

What Kerry Should Have Said

The first presidential debate is not until September 30, with two more to follow on October 8 & October 13, but in the meantime, President Bush and John Kerry are having a strange debate by proxy through the media about Iraq.

On Friday, Bush issued the first question to his challenger:

Now, there are some questions that a commander in chief needs to answer with a clear yes or no. My opponent hasn't answered the question of whether, knowing what we know now, he would have supported going into Iraq. That's an important question and the American people deserve a clear yes or no answer.

On Monday, Kerry responded:

Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.

And he issued a few more questions to the president:

Why did we rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did you rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth? Why did he mislead America about how he would go to war? Why has he not brought other countries to the table in order to support American troops in the way they deserve it and relieve the pressure on the American people?

Collective groan.

It is consistent with his stated "no regret" defense of his vote on the war, but he allowed Bush to put him on the defensive and then lobbed questions back to Bush that the president will never in a million years answer. The beauty of what Bush did was that he put Kerry in a position where if he didn't respond, he'd be seen as evasive. But he could have answered this differently and not have been seen as hypocritical. He could have continued to say that he stands by his vote considering the information he had at the time but when asked if he would have voted the same way if he knew then what he knows now, he could have said:
No, if I had known then what I know now, I would not have voted to give this president the authority to go to war because part of what I know now is how this president has used that authority. If I had known that he would go to war without having exhausted every means available to him, I would never have voted the way I did; If I had known that he would go to war without building a real multilateral coalition, I never would have voted the way I did; and if I had known that he would send our troops into Iraq without a plan to win the peace, I promise you this, I never would have voted the way I did. Yet he has done all of these things with the authority that my vote granted him. This is my one regret and no I would not do it again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short version:

"If I knew then what I know now about this President's veracity, his decision-making process, his diplomatic skills, and his judgement, then, no, I would not have given him that authority."

(Of course, the truth is that abdicating that kind of authority to anyone was just plain wrong, but that spoils the fun.)

- Robert E

3:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home