Tuesday, August 03, 2004
OK, I promised I would write some political pieces about the election campaign, so here is the first one.
For a smart guy, Senator Kerry said some pretty silly things in his acceptance speech last week. Here are some of the dumber moments:
"I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. "
Senator Kerry has used this "misled us into war" accusation against President Bush since at least the Iowa Caucus. Repeating it again in his acceptance speech was like throwing red meat to the delagates, but it doesn't make it any more truthful .
While one could argue (which I don't) that the decision to go to war with Saddam was bad judgement, there is not now nor has there ever been evidence that President Bush misled the country about how he reached that decision. Back in last October, Dr. David Kay concluded his testimony before a joint House-Senate committee with these words:
Saddam ... had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction... Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever external restrictions were removed...In an interview with National Public Radio in late January 2004, asked whether President Bush owed the nation an explanation for the gap between his warnings and Kay's findings, Dr. Kay said to the contrary,
I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people.
"As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system – so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics."
More recently, both the 9-11 Commission and the Senate Intelligence Committe found no evidence that President Bush or his staff tried to shape intelligence on Iraq. Even Lord Butler's commission in the UK, when it came to evaluating those famous "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address concluded that
the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was well-founded.
Look, Senator Kerry is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committe, and as such he had access to basically the same information as the President, and one would assume, that's why he voted in 2002 for the Senate resolution authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
And though he paints the Bush administration as a bunch of cowboys who just couldn't wait to attack Iraq, he knows perfectly well that the "neocon" Iraq policy of the Bush White House was virtually identical to that of the Clinton administration.
For Senator Kerry to repeat the calumny that Bush "distorted" intelligence on Iraq is indefensible.
"... And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to. That is the standard of our nation. "
Wow, this one really brought down the house in Boston. All that applause must have drowned out the almost-as-thunderous clap of ten thousand historians across the country slapping their foreheads in dismay.
How could Senator Kerry have made such a silly statement! What "time-honored" tradition of "only go to war because we have to" is he talking about?
America "having" to go to war is a decision that, at the time made, has almost always been debatable. Did we have to join the British and French in 1917? Not being attacked on our own soil by Germany, did we then sacrifice hundreds of thousands in North Africa and then Hitler's Europe because we wanted to? Did we have to send our soldiers, sailors and airmen 10,000 miles to Korea in 1950? Did President Clinton want to expose our young men and women to danger in Kosovo?
Now by my criticism of Kerry, I don't mean to imply that I agree with President Bush on every issue, or even on all issues related to the war in Iraq and problems we're dealing with there now. There is plenty of room for debate, especially about the planning and conduct of operations since April 2003.
But Kerry isn't framing the issues for serious debate. In the face of facts to the contrary, facts which he must be aware, Senator Kerry continues to repeat his mantra of "misled the nation", "distorted intelligence", "went to war because he wanted to."
I just don't feel that I can trust this man.