Kerry on Iraq War, Honest, Consistent, and Right
Republican Smear Video Distorts the Truth
Republican Smear Video Distorts the Truth

Anatomy of a Smear Video

Kerry talks about the threat of force as part of a strategy to force inspections

The GOP video quotes only the line in which he affirms that the president has the authority to act to defend the country, to imply that Kerry thought President Bush should take us to war immediately. Of course, Kerry has said all along that the president has the authority to act to defend the country. Kerry is not recommending that we go it alone, however; Kerry is talking about what kind of resolution the Administration should take to the UN in order to get the UN Security Council on board.

The exchange after the quoted part is also interesting, as Kerry notes that only with the threat of force is there any hope of getting Hussein to allow rigorous inspections. This is what he's said for the last two years: threatening the use of force was a part of getting the inspections going again.  Of course, the GOP wants you to think that when he cast his vote on October 11, 2002, he was in favor of going to war (or that he voted Yes just because it was politically convenient). We can see from Kerry's statements that he was always thinking in terms of more options than just “war/no war,” and that he viewed the threat of force as a vital part of the strategy to get Saddam to comply with weapons inspections.

MATTHEWS: ... anybody it's a fair - well this is not maybe a fair question because I don't want to establish any kind of moral equality or any kind of equivalence in this issue. But, do you trust the White House to present to the United Nations Security Council a reasonable resolution? In other words, not to throw in language beyond the issue of arms, especially weapons of mass destruction, for them to throw in language that says, this government must become a democracy, that it must end its repression of its people and establish human rights. How — are you confident that this White House won't try that attack to raise the bar?

KERRY: Chris, at some point, this — they obviously reserve the right to take actions that they deem fit, to protect the security interests of our country. But for the moment, it's my judgment that Secretary Powell, the president, and his advisers are trying to proceed in a way that genuinely brings support on board. I think if they go that route, if they try to throw every single possible resolution or complicated scenario into this, they're going to make it very difficult for some of those countries who might be with us to be with us.

I think the first step is to do the arms and do the weapons of mass destruction. That's the most immediate threat to the United States of America. But the president, as I also wrote in that article, always reserves the right to act unilaterally protect the interests of our country.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the United States should resolutely oppose a process whereby you have a series of resolutions before the Security Council. Some resolutions at the outset saying that the Saddam Hussein regime should permit inspections. And then let those resolutions carry effect for say six weeks to see if they actually comply or not. And then and only then the U.N. Security Council meets again and considers a resolution to sanction, in other words, to call for war with Iraq. Would you accept such a plan?

KERRY: I think it would make much more sense and be much stronger for the Security Council to pass a resolution immediately, similar to the one that we passed previously, where they empower the inspections themselves, but they also empower the member nations to be able to take such means as necessary to enforce them. I think that's the only way you really have strength in the inspection process itself. That's the only way you have a prayer of making what is already a very difficult task, anything near a reality.

[Hardball, September 17, 2002]

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