portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war selection 2004

Kerry's position on the War in Iraq

At a little get together at Al Franken's apartment back in December 2003, John Kerry explained clearly his position on the War in Iraq to Eric Alterman, and why he voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. You can read the whole article from the link below.
"Senator," said Alterman, "I think you may be the most qualified candidate in the race, and perhaps also the one who best represents my own values. But there was one overriding issue facing this nation during the past four years, and Howard Dean was there when it counted, and you weren't. A lot of people feel that moment entitles him to their vote, even if you have a more progressive record and would be a stronger candidate in November. How are you going to win back those people who you lost with your vote for this awful war?"

There it was. Your record is the best, Mr. Kerry. But you voted for the war, Mr. Kerry. Howard Dean was right, Mr. Kerry, and you were not. Your campaign has been wounded, perhaps mortally, because of this. Explain yourself, and while you're at it, explain how you are going to win back enough Dean voters to keep you from becoming a footnote in this race.

For over a year now, Kerry has struggled to respond to that question. His answers have seemed vague, overly nuanced and evasive. On Thursday, seated before the sharpest knives in the journalistic drawer and facing the unconcealed outrage of Alterman, the Senator from Massachusetts explained why he did what he did. The comments below reflect Kerry's answers over the course of a long conversation and debate on the matter.

"This was the hardest vote I have ever had to cast in my entire career," Kerry said. "I voted for the resolution to get the inspectors in there, period. Remember, for seven and a half years we were destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In fact, we found more stuff there than we thought we would. After that came those four years when there was no intelligence available about what was happening over there. I believed we needed to get the weapons inspectors back in. I believed Bush needed this resolution in order to get the U.N. to put the inspectors back in there. The only way to get the inspectors back in was to present Bush with the ability to threaten force legitimately. That's what I voted for."

"The way Powell, Eagleberger, Scowcroft, and the others were talking at the time," continued Kerry, "I felt confident that Bush would work with the international community. I took the President at his word. We were told that any course would lead through the United Nations, and that war would be an absolute last resort. Many people I am close with, both Democrats and Republicans, who are also close to Bush told me unequivocally that no decisions had been made about the course of action. Bush hadn't yet been hijacked by Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney and that whole crew. Did I think Bush was going to charge unilaterally into war? No. Did I think he would make such an incredible mess of the situation? No. Am I angry about it? You're God damned right I am. I chose to believe the President of the United States. That was a terrible mistake."

History defends this explanation. The Bush administration brought Resolution 1441 to the United Nations in early November of 2002 regarding Iraq, less than a month after the Senate vote. The words "weapons inspectors" were prominent in the resolution, and were almost certainly the reason the resolution was approved unanimously by the Security Council. Hindsight reveals that Bush's people likely believed the Hussein regime would reject the resolution because of those inspectors. When Iraq opened itself to the inspectors, accepting the terms of 1441 completely, the administration was caught flat-footed, and immediately began denigrating the inspectors while simultaneously piling combat troops up on the Iraq border. The promises made to Kerry and the Senate that the administration would work with the U.N., would give the inspectors time to complete their work, that war would be an action of last resort, were broken.

Kerry completed his answer by leaning in close to Alterman, eyes blazing, and said, "Eric, if you truly believe that if I had been President, we would be at war in Iraq right now, then you shouldn't vote for me."
this would be a great explanation, if only it were true 22.Mar.2004 00:12

someone who remembers

Except that Iraq offered for the unconditional return of the weapons inspectors nearly a month before the resolution was passed by the senate.

Kerry's Iraq Vote 22.Mar.2004 00:30

and me

Simply put, Senator Kerry can't have it both ways. He can't, on the one hand, tout his foreign policy expertise, political savvy and experience, and on the other hand be so callow as to claim to have been deceived by the Bush gang into voting for the war. He's either alarmingly, unforgivably na´ve after so many years in Washington, or, more likely, he voted for the war in a crass political calculation that it would help him look tough as he prepared his presidential bid. Either answer is extremely troubling for those looking for a savior from Bush's reign of error.

You Fucked Up 22.Mar.2004 00:49


You fucked up, you bitch - you really fucked up
You fucked up - you fuckin' nazi whore
Well, you dicked me over but now you'll pay
You fucked up ... Aaaahhh!!

You fucked up, you bitch - you really fucked up
You fucked up - you sloppy little shit -- bitch -- aaaahhhh
Well, you dicked me over but now you'll pay
You fucked up ... Aaaahhh!!

Well, you dicked me over but now you'll pay
You fucked up ... Aaaahhh!!

YES, I DO. 22.Mar.2004 01:07

I won't.

"if you truly believe that if I had been President, we would be at war in Iraq right now, then you shouldn't vote for me."

Kerry is a weasel 22.Mar.2004 09:59

George Bender

We all knew that it was wrong to go to war with Iraq, we told the Democrats not to, and Kerry did it anyway. Thus showing his contempt for our opinion. Now we can return the favor by voting for Ralph Nader in November. Don't let Kerry get away with it.

Kerry obviously thinks it's okay to invade and occupy any country we consider a threat, even if they haven't attacked us. It is not. We have no right to tell other countries they can't have weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. has them in great abundance, and used them on Japan. Small countries need WMDs in order to defend themselves against us. If anything we should be promoting the spread of nuclear weapons to stop international bullies like the U.S. You notice we're not invading North Korea.