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Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Bush yesterday:

[A]lmost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance. He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpile of weapons we all believe were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. I want to thank Senator Kerry for clearing that up.

It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine why Bush is full of shit. That's actually not the point of this post.

It's the fact that the above paragraph was possible because of what Kerry said:

Senator John Kerry said that he would have voted to give the president the authority to invade Iraq even if he had known all he does now about the apparent dearth of unconventional weapons or a close connection to Al Qaeda.

"I believe it's the right authority for a president to have," said Kerry, who has faced criticism throughout his presidential campaign for that October 2002 vote.
"My question to President Bush is, Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace?" Kerry told reporters Monday after responding to Bush's request last week for a yes-or-no answer on how he would vote today on the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq.

"Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?" he said. "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 that we deserve it and relieve a pressure from the American people?"

It is not left as an exercise for the reader to determine why Kerry is full of shit.

I fundamentally disagree with what he says here. I despised Kerry's tortured explanations for that vote during the primaries, which is why I supported Dean. I abhored with the Iraq War Resolution, for which Kerry voted--it was an abdication of Congressional responsibility, a politically cowardly thing for any Democrat to support, and anybody who thought Bush would hold to the letter or the spirit of the resolution was in denial.

I do think Kerry would have prosecuted the Iraq war better. While I really don't give a rat's ass about his Vietnam service, I believe his experience in war does make him somebody who can better appreciate the extent and limits of military power and the importance of being on the right side of the moral divide. I think he would have listened to the experienced military leadership, built a real coalition, been honest in his justifications, planned for contingencies and been prepared to secure the peace.

But here's the shorter Kerry: Hey, I would've gone to war as well, but wouldn't have fucked it up so bad. That doesn't look so good on a bumper sticker, and frankly, doesn't warm my heart all that much. I think Kerry is still talking too much like a Senator and not enough like an Executive (although, ironically, his desire for the President to have the power to wage war is, well...kinda Presidential). Stop with the hedging and shading everything you say, damn it!

And yet, just when I'm in a fit of pique about Kerry, he says this (via Political Wire):

I read four or five papers a day if I can.1

Compare and contrast to how Bush gets his news:

I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves.

This is why I have hope, even if I disagree with Kerry. He is a thoughtful, informed person.

He's no Clinton, which in many ways is a great thing, but he is someone I trust to be prepared. As Pasteur (that damned Frog) said, le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares.2 The Millenium Plot was prevented not because Clinton personally intercepted the terrorists, but his administration was serious and created an environment that enabled such action. Kerry will protect us in the same way.

He won't be perfect, but he'll be better than the current occupant of the White House. That's all I ask, and why I give Kerry my full, nuanced support.


1 - I'm sure in the next few days we'll hear about a group calling itself Paper Route Veterans for the Truth. "Kerry lied about how many papers he reads! I used to have a route a couple blocks from Kerry's house, and I never once saw him come out in his bathrobe to pick up a newspaper. Uh, no, I wasn't his paper boy..."

2 - Chance favors the prepared mind.

August 11, 2004 | Permalink


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Kerry will appoint better people to the Supreme Court and the Federal judiciary on his worst day than Bush will on his best. Say it over and over. That is what this race is about.

Posted by: Houston | Aug 11, 2004 7:34:06 PM

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