Blog4kerry - He's the Real Deal

A quote from former Senator Warren B. Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire sums it up, "I think he's a moderate Democrat — very liberal on social policy and reasonably conservative on foreign policy and defense matters."

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

If you listen to the media and the angry little doctor’s rant, John Kerry is a fence sitter whose position on the war was at best disingenuous. However if you read the speech Kerry made to the Senate before casting his vote, he was very clear in articulating his position. First, he made it clear that if the President thought the American public in imminent danger, the President needed no authorization from Congress to take action. “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.” Senator Kerry was skeptical of Bush’s attempt to portray this as an imminent threat. In his words, “The threat we face today with Iraq does not meet that test yet. I emphasize ‘yet.’'' Yes, it is grave because of the deadliness of Saddam Hussein's arsenal and the very high probability that he might use these weapons one day if not disarmed. But it is not imminent, and no one in the CIA, no intelligence briefing we have had suggests it is imminent. None of our intelligence reports suggest that he is about to launch an attack.”

The second point becomes why would Sen. Kerry support this war? Is it as the Dean folks suggest that Kerry supported the doctrine of preemption? In the Senator’s own words again, “The argument for going to war against Iraq is rooted in enforcement of the international community's demand that he disarm. It is not rooted in the doctrine of preemption. Nor is the grant of authority in this resolution an acknowledgment that Congress accepts or agrees with the President's new strategic doctrine of preemption. Just the opposite. This resolution clearly limits the authority given to the President to use force in Iraq, and Iraq only, and for the specific purpose of defending the United States against the threat posed by Iraq and enforcing relevant Security Council resolutions.”

Clearly the Senator saw through the fallacy of preemption. However, he saw there had to be another mechanism in place to prevent rogue nations from getting and disseminating weapons of mass destruction if unilateralist preemption was not an option. He had the vision to see beyond Iraq to real threats like North Korea. Rather than pander to anti-war sentiments, he chose the more difficult task of building an international mechnanism to protect the civilized world from weapons of mass destruction without resorting to unilateral preemption. He knew the UN Security Council’s resolutions would have to be backed up by the threat of force in order to be effective.

Before the Senate vote, Bush had relented and sent Secretary State Collin Powell to the UN to gain international support for weapons inspection and tough resolution with consequences for Saddam if he did not comply. The Senator believed at this point, the administration was “now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein.” Kerry repeated the President’s statements of that week to show he believed the President's change of heart. Bush had said, "'Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.' It means 'America speaks with one voice.'”

Senator Kerry again, “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.”

So why does the media portray the Senator as being wishy-washy on the war? Easily, not one of them has actually read the Senator’s position. Days after the Senate resolution, the Bush administration tactics and tone did a 180-degree turn back to a belligerent, unilateralist approach. Rather than fault the Bush administration as being indecisive or manipulative, the media chose to attack Sen. Kerry for doing what he promised to do if the President deviated from his new path.

Did you see the Reuters report today that Bush announced plans to boost economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and to dispatch his treasury and commerce secretaries this fall for high-level economic talks? Looks like Abbas has more than the wall to be worried about!
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