Monday, August 09, 2004

Truth or Dare: Time for Bush to Answer on Iraq

John Kerry has taken up George Bush's challenge on Iraq. Now its time for George Bush to answer some questions.

From the AP today: Taking up a challenge from President Bush , whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: "I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."

John Kerry did not "vote for the war" as Bush supporters claim. John Kerry voted for authorization to use force as a last resort provided that certain conditions were met. Kerry gave many caveats as to how force should be used at the time of the Iraq War Resolution, and Bush made the wrong decision in every case.

Here's some questions I would love to see John Kerry press George Bush for an answer, based upon the warnings Kerry gave to Bush in his Senate floor speech, and other public statements around the time of the Iraq War Resolution:

Why did you abruptly stop the diplomatic processes and rush to war, without evidence of imminent danger to our vital interests?

Why did you go to war without first obtaining meaningful cooperation from other countries as your father did?

Why did you go to war without a plan to win the peace?

Why did you go to war without consideration of the long term consequences of occupying an Arab country, and take steps to minimize such consequences (such as better use of diplomacy, and having other countries, including other Arab countries, involved if war was necessary)?

JK would be too polite to ask, but I'll throw in two more questions:

Rather than debate based the real differences of opinion over handling Iraq, why did you instead resort to repeatedly distorting Kerry's position on Iraq?

Why did you repeatedly lie about reasons for going into Iraq, including claiming WMD as a reason without allowing for completion of the inspections to determine if there really were WMD, and why make the false claims of a connection to al Qaeda even after the 9/11 Commission disputed your claims?

Anybody think Bush will really answer any of these questions?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check some of your Heinz products. "Sen. John
Kerry keeps talking about U.S. corporations leaving
this country and setting up shop in foreign
countries, taking thousands of jobs with them.
He is right, because that has happened.
However, he is trying to blame George W. Bush. As far as I
know, Bush has not moved one factory out of this
country because he is not the owner of a single
factory. That cannot be said about Kerry and his
wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry. According to the Wall Street
Journal, the Kerry's own 32 factories in Europe and
18 in Asia and the Pacific.
In addition, their company, the Heinz Company,
leases four factories in Europe and four in Asia.
Also, they own 27 factories in North America, some of
which are in Mexico and the Caribbean. 80% of Heinz
products are made overseas. I wonder how many
hundreds of American workers lost their jobs when
these plants relocated in foreign countries. I also
wonder if the workers in Mexico and Asia are paid the
same wages and benefits as workers in the United
States. Of course they're not. However, Kerry demands
that other companies that relocate should pay the same
benefits they did in the U.S. Why does he not demand
this of the Heinz Company, since he is married to the
owner? If Kerry is elected, will he and his wife close
all those foreign factories and bring all those jobs
back to America? Of course they won't. They're making
millions off that cheap labor.
Thank you and make your vote count....

4:42 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

The Kerrys do not own a single plant inside or outside of the country. They have nothing to do with the Heinz Corporation. Teresa was previously married to John Heinz, who left the company at an early age to go into politics. Teresa runs the philanthropic foundation, which is not connected to the company.

Not that it matters, as the Kerrys don't have anything to do with the company, but this isn't a case of out sourceing such as those Kerry has been talking about. Heinz is a multinational corporation which both produces products and sell products in many countries. This is different from an American company which outsources jobs previously held by Americans to produce products or services which are then returned to the United States.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Richard Aronson said...

I was appalled to hear Kerry say yesterday that he would still have voted to authorize Presidential use of force in Iraq even knowing that no WMD would be found. Please bring back Howard Dean!!! I am solidly in the ABB camp, but am becoming more and more disenchanted and frustrated with Kerry.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sen. Kerry's recent stmt that he would have still voted for the Oct 2002 Iraq war authorization even if the lack of WMD was known is very troubling for many reasons.
1. This was a political trap that he fell for. There was no need for him to take a controversial position on a old issue, leaving himself open to more flip-flop accusations.
2. This undermines the case against Bush. His admin cherry picked the evidence and used secrecy to block even congress from knowing how unreliable the few sources were. Kerry's stmt lets Bush off the hook for this.
3. Congress was given the auth. to declare war by our nation's founders specifically so the case for war would be debated and not entered into lightly. While the President has the authority to take action against imminent threats, he/she should never have the authority to declare war.
4. Kerry's campaign has struggled to define how he would have handled Iraq in a different way than Bush. This makes it harder to differentiate his position.
5. Opinions against the wisdom of invading Iraq are one of the strongest chances to defeat Bush. How can Kerry undermine this by supporting Bush's lame argument that invading Iraq was the right thing to do despite no WMD?

Blunders like this make me wish there was a viable 3rd candidate I could vote for.

Bruce Hill
Disgruntled Kerry campaign contributor

3:01 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

You misunderstand Kerry's statement. Kerry never voted ot authorize the war in Iraq. He voted to authorize the use of force as a last resort if we were endangered and all diplomatic efforts failed. That's a big difference.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who protest that Kerry's IWR vote was not a vote for war are missing the point.

Kerry's recent comments regarding his IWR vote were a political blunder as they undermine his campaign and give the Bush campaign ammo to use against Kerry.

I also feel it wrong for Congress to delegate its authority to declare war to any President, WMD or no WMD. It was particularly a mistake to give that authority to Bush when the neo-cons controlled both the Senate and the House.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, was very disappointed to read that Kerry would have still voted for the IWR. What happened to his belief about not sending our men/women needlessly into harm's way ? Clearly, with the understanding that Iraq was not a threat, why would he still support this ? But we all know that no matter what Kerry says, we cannot allow Bush another 4 years. Hell, I would vote for Senator Byrd - at least he had the balls to fight against the IWR.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Remarkable said...

For Kerry's defenders to say "You misunderstand Kerry's statement" is *exactly our point*. No one is going to bother going back and reading the finer points of the authorizing resolution to understand those kinds of distinctions. We're talking the 'booboisie' here -- people who get their news from :15 sound bites on CNN and Fox. And newspapers around the country and around the world are already full of "Kerry Admits Bush Was Right on the War" headlines.

Kerry and his team -- supposedly savvy political veterans all -- had the entire weekend to figure out that Bush was laying a trap for him and to craft an appropriate response. That's the best they could come up with? Precisely the wrong answer to appeal to anti-war voters on the Left and the Right, couched in the exact kind of tortured, passive-voice, lawyerly waffle language that Bush for months has accused him of using.

Bush now owns Kerry, and will carry him around in his coat pocket like a little stuffed animal for the rest of the campaign. Bush's TV commercials are going to consist of Kerry repeating that gaffe over and over. And Kerry will have absolutely no solid ground to stand on during the debates concerning the one issue that should most strongly differentiate ANY candidate from Bush. W absolutely sucker-punched him; and I'll bet the Bush team was utterly astonished that Kerry played into their hands so easily, just walked right into a pool of not-very-well-disguised quicksand from which he now cannot escape.

(Wanna know what Bush himself is already saying about it? This is from the next day's WashPost: "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. Although there are still 84 days left in the campaign.")

I would guess that Nader picked up somewhere in the neighborhood of a half-million votes this week, from Radical leftists who were willing to vote for Kerry if it were the only way to get Bush out of the White House. Many of these may even be mainstream Democrats who probably agree with the essence of the Democratic platform but for whom the war was the most important issue of all, who hated Nader for threatenting our one best chance to get rid of Bush, and who are now literally left without a candidate they can feel morally good about supporting. (Think Dean-Kennedy-Kucinich-Sharpton Democrats; my daughter is in that category.)

By itself, that would be enough to swing it for Bush. But now you can also throw in a couple million moderate undecided Republicans who actually *agree* with a lot of the Bush domestic program but who consider the war an *immorality* -- people who might have been persuaded to hold their noses and vote Kerry on the war alone -- who will now vote for Bush because there's no reason for them to vote for a left-wing pro-war candidate. (People like my girlfriend's Aunt Shirley down in Hot Springs, Virginia, who hates Bush and the war but who has never voted Democrat in her life, whom we nearly had convinced to vote for Kerry.)

Then there are a few hundred thousand Libertarians (like me), Greens, and other fringe types who *always* vote third party, but who might have voted Dem this year simply because of how obscene the war is, knowing that Bush may in fact be the most stupid or most evil president (or both) in the country's history, and needs to be thrown out of office, if not actually impeached and imprisoned. These True Believers have just had their most cynical view of American politics completed affirmed, reminding them once again why they can't take the two-party system seriously, and why they so greatly fear their government.

Kerry lost the election on Monday. It's all over but the counting. Shame on him, and God help our country.

Here's a good read on the subject. (From the Canadians, no less.)

Editorial: Kerry fails Iraq test

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Kerry needs to say what he means simply, directly, and forcefully as regards his vote that launched Bush's Iraq War. The vote, as others have pointed out, did NOT authorize Bush to go to war immediately on his own whim, but ONLY if the United States was threatened and ALL diplomatic resources had been exhausted. All Kerry supporters need to repeat this loud and clear to counter the onslaught of constantly repeated over-simplifications and downright distortions emanating from the Bush camp--e.g., that Iraq is part of the "War on Terror," etc. (It's not; it's a new war. And the Bush administration flubbed the war on terror that led to the strike in Afghanistan by pulling out troops, failing to catch Osama, letting the Taliban get away only to re-assemble, failing the women of Afghanistan, and failing to help rehabilitate the country.) The Republicans have become astute masters of propaganda techniques and manipulators of crowds. It is a time for Democrats to speak the truth simply, clearly, and repeatedly. And let's hope someone out there is listening.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry's Attempt to Finesse Iraq Issue May Backfire
By Terry M. Neal
Washington Post
Friday, August 27, 2004

"After months of attacking President Bush's motives and credibility during the Democrat presidential primary, going so far as to declare himself the anti-war candidate, John Kerry now says knowing what he knows now he would still have voted for the Iraq war," said Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie at a news conference this week. "Senator Kerry's ever changing positions on Iraq are not the kind of steady leadership we need in these times of challenge and change. And we're going to continue to make that point between now and November 2."

....Whatever the case, Kerry's position on Iraq is similar enough to Bush's to make the most important issue for most voters a non-issue. This might help Kerry with some independent voters in key battleground states, but a question remains over just how fired up the party's base will be able to get for a candidate who has an almost indistinguishable foreign policy from that of a president they strongly dislike.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry Comments in August Have Him Playing Into GOP Hands; Democrat Trying To Make Up for Setbacks on Iraq

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 8, 2004

"President Bush -- hoping to blur differences between the two candidates over the explosive issue of Iraq -- had challenged Kerry to declare whether he would have supported the war knowing what he does now about Iraq's weapons program. Kerry strolled up to reporters, took what two of his own aides privately called obvious political bait and declared without equivocation that 'yes, I would have voted for the authority' for Bush to wage the conflict.

"With one simple answer, Kerry stepped on his message for the week and provided the Bush campaign the political ammunition it sought. Kerry has since struggled to explain how he would handle Iraq differently -- and more effectively -- than Bush, as polls have shown voters losing support for his ability to do a better job than the president on this issue."

8:40 AM  

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