Monday, September 08, 2003
By taking the threat of force off the table, Dean puts the Democratic party in a dangerous position. Apply his logic to North Korea first taking preemption or threat of force off the table. Dean’s stance leaves every country to their own doing even in violation of international resolution. Try selling that to the American people in wake of 9-11. Bush will eat him alive. Dean’s position would have left us with no inspectors in Iraq. It is Buchannan style isolationism.
Pre-emptive war is justified on two occasions. First, if there is an imminent threat. Sen. Kerry stated on the floor when casting the vote, that there was no imminent threat and if there was the President should not be asking for a Congressional Resolution, but acting immediately. The second case a pre-emptive war is justified is if there is international backing for the war. A war sanctioned by the UN against a country that has misused WMD is justified.
Kerry’s vote was for the second occasion. The Bush administration had gone to the Senate and said two very important things about the resolution. Bush said, “war was a last resort” and “he would build an international coalition.” The administration changed the resolution to take out the more egregious language. Collin Powell had hit every talk show and all the punditry was discussing the vitality of the Secreatry of State role in the administration.
And yes, based on the word of the President, Kerry voted for it. Is this a blank check? If the resolution had included language stating “The President had to build an international coalition” first, the international community would have taken this as a sign the US Congress was not behind the President and torpedo the effort. Remember Clinton didn’t even get Congressional approval for Haiti or Kosovo.
Yes, Kerry hoped that Bush would get the inspectors in the country by the threat of force and hopefully no war would be needed. But to deny Bush the vote meant no inspectors. He had seen the abject failure Clinton had with getting inspectors back in after 1998 with no threat of real force than lobbing a few missiles.
Kerry said if the President doesn’t hold to these promises “I will be the first to criticize.” Bush went back to a unilateralist approach within a month. Kerry did what he said he would by criticizing the President’s lack of diplomatic effort and the press attacked him for flip-flopping?
People are confusing Bush’s unilateralist with Kerry’s complex, but necessary stand. Bush shook his hand said he would use war as a last resort. Bush lied. How can Democrats criticize Bush for simplistic notions of foreign policy and then embrace that characteristic in our nominee? The question becomes how do we articulate Kerry’s position in a sound bite. I’ll have to leave that to more creative minds.
Sadly if Dean is the candidate in order to win, Democrats have to hope the economy gets worse and more soldiers are killed in Iraq. That is not a position I want my party to be in November of 2004. In my more conspiratorial mind, the military is probably sitting on the WMD until Dean is the nominee.