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