Kerry Finally Wakes Up On Iraq?

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I’m normally a calm guy. There are few times when I get so angry that I want to put my fist through a wall, but not learning from one’s errors in matters of peace and war and life and death is one of them.
One of these times was during the last campaign when John Kerry said that knowing all that we knew about intelligence distortion and cherry-picking, the non-existence of WMDs in Iraq, and the problems of post-war Iraq reconstruction and restabilization, that he still would have supported Bush’s Iraq War resolution.
I wrote about Kerry’s “hindsight problem” at the time — and then was ready to put a fist through the wall again when Rahm Emanuel repeated the same mantra on Tim Russert’s Meet the Press in January 2005.
Finally, John Kerry has waken up and changed his tune on Iraq. He now “regrets” his Iraq War Resolution vote.

At this point, I am not thrilled with the prospect of another Kerry run for the presidency — but he’s made progress at least in his thinking about the costs of Iraq to American prestige in the world and to global stability. The question Kerry has to answer — and has not to my satisfaction — is can he tell the difference between conflicts that require the application of American troops and military power and those that do not.
Iraq was the WRONG war from day one and was a fundamental distraction from the complex, transnational threat that bin Laden was brewing against the U.S. and Europe. The Iraq War that Bush contrived as a response to 9/11 — aided and abetted by many Democrats and most Republicans in the Congress — has punctured the mystique of American power in the world and created incentives for foes to move their agendas and allies to not count on America quite as much as before.
How will we know the next time that John Kerry might get the answer right? He needs to tell us more — because on this one, he was dead wrong.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

43 comments on “Kerry Finally Wakes Up On Iraq?

  1. avaroo says:

    “If the best the Democratic Party can come up with is John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, I regret to report that I’m likely to vote for the Republican”
    sadly, I’m with you on this one. I couldn’t stomach Kerry last time and now he’s even worse.

    Reply

  2. avaroo says:

    “Complete non-sequitur and nonsense.”
    Are you saying that you are unaware of Iraq’s 12,000 page declaration or that you cannot explain it?
    “Evidently what Saddam reported was not damning.”
    uh, it was ALL damning, that’s WHY he had to report it.
    “Why you think that 12,000 pages must contain proof of a nuclear weapons program is beyond me”
    it wasn’t beyond Blix, who called the declaration “incomplete”.

    Reply

  3. Nell says:

    Everybody knew that the October 2002 resolution was a vote on a war. When Pat Lang and Tony Zinni spoke in my town just days after the resolution, they said that everyone in Washington regarded the invasion as a done deal. They advised us to get active politically if we had any thought of stopping it.
    The fact that the intelligence was faked-up and cherry-picked gives cowardly Dems like Kerry an out, but the reality is that the Dem leadership made a decision in late September to “get the war out of the way” so they could campaign on economic issues for the 2002 election. They simply were afraid to take the administration on.
    I had the same reaction as Steve in the summer of 2004 when Kerry was asked if he’d vote for the resolution again. In fact, I had to do a lot of damage control with local Dem activists who were ready to throw up their hands and abandon any effort right then. But, as I remember it, it wasn’t actually Kerry who answered the question, but that revolting Beltway smoothie Richard Rubin the former Clinton State Dept. spokesman who couldn’t get his vocal chords to form the word “genocide” during the Rwanda genocide). That he was allowed to speak for Kerry on something so important … well, for the safety of the walls here, I won’t linger over the memory.

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  4. serial catowner says:

    I was thinking today of how the last two Democratic presidents who were worth a d*mn (or make it three- Johnson, Kennedy, and Truman) had, shall we say, very strong characters- and were former senators, not governors. Of course, Roosevelt had enough character for all three of them, but he was a former governor, which ruins the symmetry of the thought.
    Given the scope of the problems we face, it may be that somebody who can really play hardball will be needed to deal with these problems from the presidency.
    I know that as an amateur student of U.S. foreign policy, it was totally obvious to me that the run-up to the war was the standard playbook that we always use when we want to attack someone. It says a world about Washington DC that anybody could have been fooled by this, or entertain any illusions about the character of George Bush.

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  5. xf says:

    If the best the Democratic Party can come up with is John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, I regret to report that I’m likely to vote for the Republican – unless, of course, it turns out to be Senator Frist, the dumbest man in Tennessee.
    Especially because here in Alabama, the Democrats are nothing to get excited about.

    Reply

  6. Hal says:

    As I recall it, Kerry made his “knowing what I know now” statement in 2004 while standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
    I thought at the time that he should have gone on to throw himself off the cliff, because his campaign was over in that instant.
    He tried to back into the presidency, and that never works. See Dewey, Thomas E.

    Reply

  7. Hal says:

    As I recall it, Kerry made his “knowing what I know now” statement in 2004 while standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
    I thought at the time that he should have gone on to throw himself off the cliff, because his campaign was over in that instant.
    He tried to back into the presidency, and that never works. See Dewey, Thomas E.

    Reply

  8. Kathleen says:

    Baffled; Thanks again for that link. I have argued that we never cared a dman about Saddam using wmd’s on his own people back when he did and that we supported him and helped him retain power in Iraq for our own warmongering purposes. Why object to Saddam’s use of poison gas 20 years later, if you said nothing back when it happened?
    Just exactly how stooopid are Americans, or have we morphed into Stepford already? As I listen to Repugnicans in Congress “debating’ the Iraq war, they remind of my daughter’s Chatty Cathy doll. You pulled a string in its neck and it had about 6 lines it could repeat. Not lengthy ones, mind you, just some trite little nothings. Pass the Barf bags.

    Reply

  9. Marky says:

    Avaroo 9:13,
    “How do you explain Iraq’s 12,000 page declaration on it’s WMD program, if it had no nuclear program?”
    Complete non-sequitur and nonsense.
    I might add that the Bush administration felt it necessary to lie to refute said declaration.
    Evidently what Saddam reported was not damning.
    Why you think that 12,000 pages must contain proof of a nuclear weapons program is beyond me, but if that is your thesis, I suggest you read Proust and report back when you have finished—and not before, please.

    Reply

  10. steambomb says:

    Kerry cannot win it in 08. So…. Gore/Feingold in 08. The Liberty Ticket!

    Reply

  11. avaroo says:

    “The record shows that Vladimir Putin and Russia did not believe that Iraq had a viable nuclear program. Nor did France.”
    Not true.
    How do you explain Iraq’s 12,000 page declaration on it’s WMD program, if it had no nuclear program?

    Reply

  12. Den Valdron says:

    Sandy,
    There was no worldwide consensus that Iraq had wmd’s. The record shows that Vladimir Putin and Russia did not believe that Iraq had a viable nuclear program. Nor did France. Nor did Canada. The evidence of the ‘Niger Uranium’ transactions was so bad that Italy repudiated it on site. At various times during the wmd debate, the United States and Britain made a series of assertions which were not supported by any other nation, and which were not supported by the UN. These assertions have turned out to be fabrications.
    The truth is that your President lied his way into a war. It wasn’t a mistake.

    Reply

  13. Den Valdron says:

    Sandy,
    There was no worldwide consensus that Iraq had wmd’s. The record shows that Vladimir Putin and Russia did not believe that Iraq had a viable nuclear program. Nor did France. Nor did Canada. The evidence of the ‘Niger Uranium’ transactions was so bad that Italy repudiated it on site. At various times during the wmd debate, the United States and Britain made a series of assertions which were not supported by any other nation, and which were not supported by the UN. These assertions have turned out to be fabrications.
    The truth is that your President lied his way into a war. It wasn’t a mistake.

    Reply

  14. SevenOneEight says:

    More Kerry flip-flops…at least HRC has the guts to stick to her guns on what she believes is right.

    Reply

  15. Chris Brown says:

    Karen,
    “The IWR was not a case for “conquering Iraq”, Bush himself publicly said the weeek before the vote that it was not a vote for war.
    “As to Graham, he DID have more information than Kerry. He was on the Intelligence Committee. They received more information than the rest of the Senate and were forbidden from sharing it.”
    Give me a break. Because George Bush said it we’re all supposed to believe it. Gore wasn’t even in the Senate, let alone on the intelligence committee, and recognized the Bush administration lies.
    Additionally, anyone who was paying attention, and not enveloped in some mind altering ideological fog, was aware that Cheney, as chief of transitions had distributed Project for a New American Century neofascist ideologues throughout the Defense and State Depts. and the NSC.
    There was plenty of reliable information available debunking just about every lie proffered by the Bush administration. Kerry nor any of the other now repentant senators has any excuse for their boneheaded vote to conquer Iraq. And conquering Iraq was the completely clear objective.
    By the way, to whomever said it, not every Senator voted for the resolution.

    Reply

  16. another karen says:

    Iraq WAS the wrong war from day one and it DID distract from getting bin Laden. Why didn’t our brilliant folks in Congress (like Kerry) do all the questioning they’re doing now BEFORE giving George Bush permission to make the decision to invade a country that did nothing to us?? This confounds me. They all say they just gave George Bush the power to do what he felt was necessary, not permission to invade Iraq. That’s a big copout. WHY didn’t they consider the man’s intelligence level beforehand? Since they all “rolled” instead of asking the tough questions then, I think it’s a little late to do it now…

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  17. selise says:

    Pissed Off American – i don’t care about kerry’s sincerity (maybe i should, but i can’t easily measure it and that makes it easy to get fooled) – but, i DO care about his actions.

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  18. Pissed Off American says:

    “Finally, John Kerry has waken up and changed his tune on Iraq. He now “regrets” his Iraq War Resolution vote…….”
    Oh BULLSHIT!
    Kerry is merely watching the polls, and spewing his usual insincere crap.

    Reply

  19. Kathleen says:

    Excuse me, folks, but the UN Weapons Inspectors did know there were no WMD’s. We simply refused to listen to them.
    Also, when all was said and done, Feingold did not support the IWR, which is what counts.

    Reply

  20. Leah A says:

    Steve,
    I understand what you mean, and I admire your passion. It has been a constant comfort to read your blog and experience a decidedly mainstream Democrat being so wise and so open in his criticism of the folly that is Bush’s no-policy- but-invasion policy in Iraq.
    That said, I happened to be watching CNN when the President’s 2004 campaign challenge to Kerry — knowing what he knows now, would he vote differently – was communicated to him somewhere in or on the Grand Canyon, by Candy Crowley, and it has been driving me crazy ever since, because it was so clear that what was conveyed was something quite different from what the President’s challenge was all about.
    I can’t reproduce her actual words and lacking Nexes-Lexes have never been able to find a transcript, but what was conveyed to Kerry sounded as though the challenge had to do with the disjunction between Kerry’s then current criticism of the Bush’s Iraqi policy, and his original vote, so that what Kerry seemed to me to be saying was not that if he knew then what he knows now he would still have voted for the resolution, but instead, was a reiteration of previous statements in response to the flipflop charge, i.e., that not having had that knowledge then, he is still prepared to defend his vote now, as one that was based on Bush’s willingness to seek inspections through the UN, and Kerry’s assumption that Bush was being honest about wishing to avoid an invasion.
    Whenever I try and tell anyone this, they always ask, “Well, why didn’t Kerry clarify that at the time when he realized he’d been misunderstood.”
    I believe that by the time he and his campaign did realize the problem, fear that trying to correct that initial reporting would appear to be the mother of all flipflops kept them from trying to do anything except to ignore that the incident ever happened, not an entirely satisfactory response to an admittedly difficult challenge. Still, Bush received so much more credibility from the press than Kerry did through-out that campaign, (on what basis I shall never understand), that I can understand the hesitation of the Kerry campaign to correct that first impression.
    Let me make clear that I’m not anxious to see another Kerry run in the primaries, but watching Kerry in small groups during the 2004 campaign, I never doubted that he thought the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and I believed him when he said that his vote for the resolution was meant to strengten Bush’s hand in getting Saddam to allow inspections. Saddam did allow them, at which point it became clear that inspections were never what Bush & co were after.
    That Kerry allowed himself to be so thoroughly bamboozled by Bush is another matter. Nor am I going to argue that Kerry’s vote wasn’t influenced by a desire not to seem weak on security, and that raises exactly the final question you arrive at.
    It is a question all Democratic candidates will need to answer before they get my vote.

    Reply

  21. baffled says:

    since you’re so fond of quoting Feingold, Sandy, why not work on getting HIM elected to higher office? we had plenty of provisions that could have prevented 9/11, unfortunately incompetence and negligence at the highest levels of government rendered them moot.
    i was perfectly honest with myself and considered the possibilities SH might have had biological and chemical agents. after all, we sold some to him. but i’m sure you’re aware of that.
    Check the Washington Post frontpage on
    Monday, December 30, 2002:
    U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup
    Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds
    By Michael Dobbs
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    this article is still available. the reason i didn’t put in the link is because it seems to mess up the formatting of this page.

    Reply

  22. selise says:

    “To pretend that anybody “knew” Bush was lying about WMD is just ludicrous.”
    “to pretend that anybody “knew” there were not going to be WMD is just not true.”
    sandy – to know bush was lying about wmd does not require knowing that there wasn’t going to be any wmd. i knew bush was lying, but i only thought it was highly unlikely that there were, or would soon be, wmd (i consider nukes wmd, but not old chemical weapons or anthrax) to threaten us.
    here’s just one example to prove to you that i KNEW bush was lying about wmd…remember the blair/bush press conference in early sept 2002?
    Q Mr. President, can you tell us what conclusive evidence of any nuclear — new evidence you have of nuclear weapons capabilities of Saddam Hussein?
    THE PRESIDENT: We just heard the Prime Minister talk about the new report. I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.
    ….
    problem was that there either wasn’t any such report or the report actually stated the opposite of bush’s claim (it depends on which iaea he was referring to).

    Reply

  23. Sandy says:

    If we don’t get what happened in 2002 right, what is going to happen when some other threat comes to light? What happens when a Democratic President needs a war resolution to force an inspections process in another country? Will it always be Republicans kneejerking against Democrats like they did with Kosovo, and Democrats kneejerking against Republicans? We cannot keep playing political games when it comes to war. If Republicans hadn’t kneejerked against Clinton and the changes he wanted to make after OKC, we might have had some of the provisions that we got in the Patriot Act that would have prevented 9/11. If the left hadn’t kneejerked against the entire Patriot Act, we could have ran on the fact that Republicans prevented the very provisions Democrats proposed to protect the country.
    It’s the same thing with Iraq and WMD. To pretend that anybody “knew” Bush was lying about WMD is just ludicrous. You’re saying you knew more than just about any dignitary in the world, including Russ Feingold. To vote against the IWR for whatever reason is fine, but to pretend that anybody “knew” there were not going to be WMD is just not true. And if there had been WMD, and anybody who is honest with themselves knows that could have happened, well our party would really be out in Joe’s wilderness.
    Let’s not forget, here’s the rest of what Feingold said:
    “..And with regard to Iraq, I agree that Iraq presents a genuine threat, especially in the form of weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological and potentially nuclear weapons. I agree that Saddam Hussein is exceptionally dangerous and brutal, if not uniquely so, as the President argues. And I agree, I support the concept of regime change. Saddam Hussein is one of several despots from the international community — whom the international community should condemn and isolate with the hope of new leadership in those nations. And, yes, I agree, if we do this Iraq invasion, I hope Saddam Hussein will actually be removed from power this time.
    And I agree, therefore, Mr. President, we cannot do nothing with regard to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We must act. We must act with serious purpose and stop the weapons of mass destruction and stop Saddam Hussein. And I agree a return to the inspections regime of the past alone is not a serious, credible policy…”

    Reply

  24. Shaneekwa says:

    1) The war resolution is ancient history. Kerry needs to stop dwelling in the past. Karl Rove is thinking about persuading voters in November 2006 and 2008.
    2) Now that it is fashionable for Democrats to criticize the war effort at least with chirps, Kerry’s latest opportunistic position on the war – get out now!! – is idiotic and totally unrealistic. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE AMERICA!!! This is a 10 year project. We need to look for solutions, not stick our heads in the sand.

    Reply

  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear French Girl & Karen — Thanks for the references about other times that John Kerry has repudiated that vote, that he too tenaciously defended for a while. I was unaware of other comments that Kerry had made that reversed his position on the vote — and if I had time I’d look up the references you suggest, but will take your word for it. Nonetheless, I remain pleased that Kerry — either recently or before — made this change. His and Rahm Emanuel’s defense of the position before forfeited an important opportunity in the last election and in subsequent discussion about national security issues in senior Dem circles.
    So, point well taken. But the essential parts of my piece still stand.
    Thanks, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  26. twnbl says:

    Whereas: The real intent of the invasion of Iraq having been revealed to be a petro-geopolitical imperial adventure;
    The insurgency in Iraq having nothing to do with terrorism, but composed mainly of those opposed to a foreign occupation that seeks to dominate the region and its resources;
    The said insurgency fueled by suspicions of a permanent occupation being therefore inexhaustible and uncompromising in its goal to oust the invader;
    The said insurgency therefore leading to a calamitous loss and destruction of life, peace and stability;
    Resolved:That the US will cease and desist from a disastrous and failed imperial adventure and withdraw its troops to friendlier countries.

    Reply

  27. Kathleen says:

    Baffled:
    Thank you soooo much for posting Senator Feingold’s exact remarks.
    I have a problem with war resolutions in general. The president has the authority to use force in the event of a clear and present danger. Congress has the rersponsibility to declare war, presumably when it’s a war of choice, not an imminent danger.
    War resolutions are an end run around the Constitution, which when used, allow a president to invent a threat and permit Congress to evade their duty of going on record in support of a war of choice.
    Just as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, at the outset of the Vietnam War was a phony creation of a threat, the Iraq War Resolution was too. I wish elected officials would stick precisely to the Constitution and stop trying to skirt it for their own political ease of being on both sides of the issue.

    Reply

  28. Pamela says:

    Steve
    Kerry stated in his speech at Georgetown University on October 26, 2005:
    “knowing now the full measure of the Bush Administration?s duplicity and incompetence, I doubt there are many members of Congress who would give them the authority they abused so badly? I know I would not” – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=952
    I won’t waste my time pulling up links to more of Kerry’s statements and speeches since October 26, 2005; let alone the numerous news stories that have stated that Kerry ‘”regrets” his Iraq War Resolution vote.’
    It’s truly regretful that you have not been paying attention and are finally waking up yourself. Kerry’s position on Iraq has been ALL over the MSM for months. Feel free to browse though the archives at the Dem Daily for everything you evidently slept through – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?cat=6

    Reply

  29. baffled says:

    the reality of what happened is that Feingold voted NO on the IWR, so to use his position vis-a-vis Saddam’s WMDs to justify Kerry’s YES vote is disingenuous at best. Feingold was able to differentiate while Kerry was not.
    excerpts from Feingold’s prescient statement on why he opposed Bush’s IWR:
    “…We retain and will always retain the right of self-defense, including, of course, self-defense against weapons of mass destruction. When such a threat requiring self-defense would present itself — and I am skeptical that that is exactly what we’re dealing with here — then we can, if necessary, act alone, including militarily.
    So, Mr. President, these are all areas where I agree with the Administration.
    But, Mr. President, I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. My colleagues, I’m not suggesting there has to be only one justification for such a dramatic action. But when the Administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the Administration’s motives in insisting on action at this particular time.
    What am I talking about? I’m talking about the spectacle of the President and senior Administration officials citing a purported connection to al Qaeda one day, weapons of mass destruction the next day, Saddam Hussein’s treatment of his own people on another day, and then on some days the issue of Kuwaiti prisoners of war.
    Mr. President, for some of these, we may well be willing to send some 250,000 Americans in harm’s way. For others, frankly, probably not. These litanies of various justifications — whether the original draft resolution, the new White House resolution, or regrettably throughout the President’s speech in Cincinnati — in my view set the bar for an alternative to a U.S. invasion so high that, Mr. President, I’m afraid it almost locks in — it almost requires — a potentially extreme and reckless solution to these problems.
    …Mr. President, I believe it is dangerous for the world, and especially dangerous for us, to take the tragedy of 9-11 and the word “terrorism” and all their powerful emotion and then too easily apply them to many other situations — situations that surely need our serious attention but are not necessarily, Mr. President, the same as individuals and organizations who have shown a willingness to fly planes into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon….
    An invasion of Iraq must stand on its own, not just because it is different than the fight against the perpetrators of 9-11 but because it may not be consistent with, and may even be harmful to, the top national security issue of this country. And that is the fight against terrorism and the perpetrators of the crimes of 9-11…..
    In any event, I oppose this resolution because of the continuing unanswered questions, including the very important questions about what the mission is here, what the nature of the operation will be, what will happen concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as the attack proceeds and afterward, and what the plan is after the attack is over. In effect, Mr. President, we’re being asked to vote on something that is unclear. We don’t have answers to these questions. We’re being asked to vote on something that is almost unknowable in terms of the information we’ve been given.”

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  30. selise says:

    “Bush said on numerous occasions that the IWR wasn’t a vote for war. ”
    except that by 2002, wasn’t it obvious that president bush couldn’t be counted on to be honest?… that he wanted the war – and that IWR was his “permission slip”? it was obvious to many of us here in MA – so obvious in fact that although randall forsberg declared her protest candidacy to senator kerry’s previously unopposed re-election just two weeks before the 2002 election, and news of her protest candidacy was spread only by word of mouth and email – she received over 20,000 write-in protest votes.
    i don’t have any generous way to explain kerry’s vote – but imo, no one is perfect and he’s been showing some improvement. as far as i’m concerned the 2002 vote is all water under the bridge if he can start doing the right thing now…. which would be (again, imo) to call for a COMPLETE withdrawl. no permanent bases.

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  31. Karen says:

    To: Steve Clemons
    In your response to French girl, who you call farm girl, you use the Boston Globe comment to back your view that Kerry not having repudiated his vote. But that is NOT what the sentence said. It says this was “his most dramatic reputiation”. This actually implies there were earlier ones.
    From memory, here are some:
    – He repudiated it in his October 2005 Georgetown speech which laid out an Iraq plan that called for the US to be out in 12-15 months
    – He then repeated that repudiation on several Nov/Dec talk shows
    – As to dramatic, I disagree with the Globe. On an April, 2006 MTP, Kerry said he “profoundly regrets the vote” and when asked said it was the vote he would most want to take back in his career.

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  32. Sandy says:

    Russ Feingold said Saddam had WMD. Is he a dupe?
    Everybody voted to trust Bush with an Afghanistan war resolution. Were they all fools to trust him then?
    The spin on Iraq from the left destroyed all ability to have a coherent position from day one.
    Bush said on numerous occasions that the IWR wasn’t a vote for war. When the left decided to frame it as a vote for war, we lost all ability to hold him accountable for the lies between that vote and the time he deployed troops. Newspapers, and blogs, that helped Bush tell that lie are more than happy to blame anybody but themselves now.
    Steve, if you told the lie that Bush said we were going to war in Oct 2002, then you helped circumvent the opportunity to stop the war by extending inspections in March of 2003.
    I understand Kerry getting tired of trying to get the point through some people’s thick heads, but it doesn’t change the reality of what happened.

    Reply

  33. karen says:

    To: Chris Brown
    The IWR was not a case for “conquering Iraq”, Bush himself publicly said the weeek before the vote that it was not a vote for war.
    As to Graham, he DID have more information than Kerry. He was on the Intelligence Committee. They received more information than the rest of the Senate and were forbidden from sharing it.
    If it was political for Kerry, he wouldn’t have demanded at Georgetown University in early 2003 before the war that Bush not go to war, but to give the inspections and diplomacy more time. He also denounced the invasion when it occurred calling for “regime change at home”. If Kerry voted for the IWR for political reasons, why would he speak against it at the height of its popularity.
    Kerry’s Senate floor speech gives his reasons. He now accepts that he was wrong to trust Bush to be honest on a matter of war.

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  34. Chris Brown says:

    Now that it is politicaly safe to do so, Kerry changes his tune. Just like Edwards and a bunch of other unprincipled, opportunistic hairdos.
    Senator Graham knew the case for conquering Iraq was BS, as did Al Gore. Why didn’t Kerry, Edwards, et al?

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  35. baffled says:

    to support IWR while holding those views attributed to him, Kerry would either have to be a fool or a disingenuous opportunist. neither one of these qualities makes him an appealing candidate. he was the one who fell into the trap. the same holds true for the rest of the Democrats’ IWR supporters with presidential ambitions. 2:28 pm’s assertion is just cover for Kerry’s suicidal equivocation about his vote on IWR prior to the 2004 election. i quite well remember Kerry’s attempts to outmuscle Bush from the right on the Iraq issue.

    Reply

  36. Steve Clemons says:

    Farm Girl — point well taken, sort of. I have been quite aware of Kerry’s criticism of the war — but not of the resolution. This is what ran in the Boston Globe today:
    But yesterday’s speech — in which he flatly declared that the war was wrong and that his vote for the war resolution had been misguided — represented his most dramatic repudiation yet.
    Thus, at least the Globe’s understanding of Kerry’s evolving position approximates my own.
    Thanks for the comment,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  37. EearlK says:

    Kerry is sooooo out of the picture for ’08. He is still in the thrall of consultants, the same reason he lost last time. The man has zero touch with anything related to popular sentiment. The only way the dems get revitalized again is to get back in touch with what resonates with people. That take a leader, not someone following the trends and making careful deliberative adjustments to their recorded statements.

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  38. second edition says:

    Your point is well taken, but I don’t think you need to worry about Senator Kerry running away from or not recognizing a true conflict, a quick review of his combat experience in Vietnam should put any doubts to rest. I personally can’t be to hard on Senator Kerry regarding his vote for the IWR. I can understand that he trusted that others inside the administration-not Pres. Bush,were being honest in their assessments about the WMD and they betrayed his trust. I think the comment you mentioned about still voting for the IWR, even knowing at that point in 2004 that we had all be mislead was taken a little out of context, and again the damaged had been already done by the administration. Why not make a point of saying Sadam was evil and Iraq was better off without him.
    My impression of the senator is he learns from his mistakes and doesn’t repeat them.

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  39. FrenchGirlFromMA says:

    Steve Clemons wakes up on Kerry!
    May be you have been hibernating for the last 8 months, but what Kerry said yesterday is hardly new.
    He has been calling for troop withdrawal and saying that his vote was wrong for since at least 8 months now.
    He has been with Murtha and Feingold one of the leading forces of starting a debate on Iraq among the Democrats in congress for the last year or so.
    But, I understand that it is hard to keep informed these days! After all, keeping informed about these issues is not your day job.

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  40. Bush/Moon=NWO says:

    Steve – there is nothing inconsistent about Kerry’s position. He was always against the INVASION of Iraq because the weapon inspections and diplomacy were proving successful. If you would have paid attention during the 2004 campaign you would have known that.
    Too bad that so many of you fell into the media trap of declaring support for IWR meant you wanted war Bush’s way. Because of that folly, Bush has been left off the hook for bastardizing the inspections and diplomacy, while the Dems who wanted the inspections to work were and ARE still made the focus of all wrath from you.
    How useful you all have been for Bush and the RW media.

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  41. Karen says:

    Kerry said many many times in 2004 that he would not have gone to war. Kerry made a distinguition between voting for the IWR and being for the war. Even at the time of the IWR vote, Kerry’s Senate floor comments make it clear that while he felt that Saddam’s potentional threat needed to taken seriously, it was not an imminent threat. Kerry clearly wanted Bush to do what he said he would which was to go to the UN and get the inspectors back in.
    How many times in 2004 did Kerry say that Iraq was the wrong war – and a distraction from the WoT in Afghanistan (where they outsourced catching OBL to Afghan warlords.)
    I find it sad that people on the left, even in 2004 chose to repeat Republican comments that equated Kerry’s position to Bush’s and Kerry’s Iraq plan outlined at NYU as “like Bush’s”. Kerry spoke out at Georgetown University before the war started demanding that Bush not go to war and to allow diplomacy more time to resolve it.
    I voted for Kerry in the primary because I was very sure that he would never take the country to war unless there was an imminent threat and all diplomatic efforts were exhausted. (I also recognised that as President he would be a very skilled diplomat.)

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  42. AllDemsonBoard says:

    One of the reasons I voted for Kerry was his opposition to the war. It’s great to see him taking the lead on this with a sensible strategy to get out of Iraq. I wish all the people who are against the war would actually start opposing the war with action.

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  43. avaroo says:

    How is Kerry flip-flopping yet again supposed to help him? Good God, we so badly need someone new in the democratic party to take the microphone away from losers like Kerry.

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