Saturday, June 17, 2006

Conservatives Recycle Same Spin To Hide Lies on War

My, how CBS has fallen, but the right wing media stays the same. CBS’s web site includes an article from National Review which recycles the same old, and dishonest, right wing talking points on the war. They continue to try to hide the dishonesty of the Bush Administration behind false claims of flip flopping by their opponents.

In trying to deny the fact that Bush misled the country into war, they misrepresent Kerry’s position in writing, “Senator Kerry, at least if I remember correctly, voted for the joint congressional resolution of October 11, 2002, authorizing a war against Iraq, on the basis of all these and several other casus belli, well apart from fear of WMDs.” Once they misrepresent Kerry’s position it is easy to claim he flip flopped by simply showing that this does not match other statements from John Kerry. Of course there is no reason Kerry’s real statements on the war should match distorted statements presented by the right wing media.

If John Kerry’s opinion from October 2002 is suddenly the new gold standard as to what we should have done, let’s look at what Kerry really advocated in his Senate floor speech:

Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.

In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days–to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent–and I emphasize “imminent”–threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs.

In this, and other portions of his statement (as well as in articles written by John Kerry at the time) Kerry made it clear that we should only go to war as part of an international force (unless we faced an imminent threat which required immediate response), and that we should only go to war as a last resort if proven to be threatened by WMD. He argued we should only go to war to disarm Saddam if proven to be threatened, and not for regime change or nation building. None of this is what has occurred.

Kerry also voted for the IWR under false pretenses. This included both the distortions of the intelligence regarding WMD and false statements by George Bush as to the meaning of the IWR. Kerry quoted George Bush in his floor statement in saying:

“As the President made clear earlier this week, “Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.” It means “America speaks with one voice.”

Kerry warned in this speech that if Bush failed to keep his word he would “be among the first to speak out.” Walter Shapiro also reviewed Kerry’s position in his book, One Car Caravan, with this quote from Kerry from October 2002, showing that Kerry is doing exactly what he said he would do from the beginning when he now criticizes Bush’s handling of the war:

“My vote was cast in a way that made it very clear, Mr. President, I’m voting for you to do what you said you’re going to do, which is to go through the U.N. and do this through an international process. If you go unilaterally, without having exhausted these remedies, I’m not supporting you. And if you decide that this is just a matter of straight pre-emptive doctrine for regime-change purposes without regard to the imminence of the threat, I’m not going to support you.”

In opposing George Bush, John Kerry is doing exactly what he warned at the time of the IWR vote. John Kerry did not change positions as Republicans claim, but had a single coherent position on the war. His position was that we should go to war if we were proven to be threatened and the situation could not be resolved diplomatically, otherwise we should not go to war. Republicans call this flip flopping. I call this a sensible foreign policy.


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