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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Not that the Times was any better...

But the NY Times has a good editorial today asking John Kerry to clarify his position on the war in Iraq:
hen he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination tonight, John Kerry needs to give the nation a clearer idea of how his choices would have differed from President Bush's - particularly when it comes to the war in Iraq. The nation deserves to be told whether Mr. Kerry would have voted to authorize the invasion if he had known that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Kerry, as the world already knows, is not a black-and-white kind of thinker, especially when it comes to foreign policy. That's good - it should give voters a real sense of choice this fall, given George Bush's tendency to view the world in absolutes. But it's not an excuse for fudging every issue. Mr. Kerry's history on the critical Iraq question has been impossibly opaque.
Bush still insists that he was right to invade. He says the war was justified because of Mr. Hussein's military ambitions and because Iraq is better off without him.

Voters need to know whether Mr. Kerry agrees.
Back in February, former weapons inspector Scott Ritter also demanded answers of Kerry:
Two years later, in the buildup toward war that took place in the summer of 2002, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Kerry sits, convened a hearing on Iraq. At that hearing a parade of witnesses appeared, testifying to the existence of WMD in Iraq. Featured prominently was Khidir Hamza, the self-proclaimed "bombmaker to Saddam," who gave stirring first-hand testimony to the existence of not only nuclear weapons capability, but also chemical and biological weapons as well. Every word of Hamza's testimony has since been proved false. Despite receiving thousands of phone calls, letters and e-mails demanding that dissenting expert opinion, including my own, be aired at the hearing, Sen. Kerry apparently did nothing, allowing a sham hearing to conclude with the finding that there was "no doubt" Saddam Hussein had WMD.

Sen. Kerry followed up this performance in October 2002 by voting for the war in Iraq. Today he justifies that vote by noting that he only approved the "threat of war," and that the blame for Iraq rests with President George W. Bush, who failed to assemble adequate international support for the war. But this explanation rings hollow in the face of David Kay's findings that there are no WMD in Iraq. With the stated casus belli shown to be false, John Kerry needs to better explain his role not only in propelling our nation into a war that is rapidly devolving into a quagmire, but more importantly, his perpetuation of the falsehoods that got us there to begin with.

President Bush should rightly be held accountable for what increasingly appears to be deliberately misleading statements made by him and members of his administration regarding the threat posed by Iraq's WMD. If such deception took place, then Bush no longer deserves the trust and confidence of the American people.

But John Kerry seems to share in this culpability, and if he wants to be the next president of the United States, he must first convince the American people that his actions somehow differ from those of the man he seeks to replace.
He hasn't done so so far, in my opinion.