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Impeach Bush

About That Iraq Vote
New York Times
Published: August 15, 2004

Senator John Kerry's Iraq vote is going to haunt him throughout the presidential campaign, no matter how he explains it. That does not keep us from wishing that Mr. Kerry would do a better job with the issue.

Mr. Kerry, as almost everyone now knows, voted to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq, in a post-9/11 climate of fear and widespread conviction that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that might be used against the United States or its allies in the near future. Now that we know differently, some senators have said they regret their vote. Not Mr. Kerry. He affirmed once again last week that he believes he did the right thing. It was Mr. Bush who erred, he continued, by misusing the power he had been given.

The president gleefully seized on the remark as evidence that his opponent agrees that he was right "to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power." That is not exactly what Mr. Kerry said. He - and many other Democrats - say that the White House asked for the vote as a way of strengthening Mr. Bush's hand in negotiations with the United Nations, but that they were betrayed when the president went ahead and launched an invasion without broad international support.

We're sure Mr. Kerry is right in claiming that the White House, in its negotiations with the Senate, played down the possibility that the vote would lead to actual conflict. That does not mean the public will be satisfied with an explanation that he authorized an invasion under the presumption it would not happen. After nearly two years of working with the Bush administration, Congress had a very good idea of how Mr. Bush viewed the world, what advisers he listened to, and what he was likely to do with American troops if Congress gave him a broad authorization to go to war. It was for precisely that reason that some senators, led by Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar, struggled unsuccessfully to narrow down the resolution. Senator Biden says Senator Kerry worked with him behind the scenes.

But for the most part Mr. Kerry, who voted against the first Persian Gulf war, tailored his positions on this one to his presidential ambitions. He was more hawkish when the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination seemed to be Richard Gephardt, and more dovish when Howard Dean picked up momentum. At the height of the Dean insurgency, both Mr. Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, decided to oppose spending $87 billion to underwrite the occupation of Iraq that they both voted to authorize.

The Republicans have made much of this record; the Kerry campaign is haunted by replays of the theme song from the old TV show "Flipper." Mr. Bush, however, has a far more dangerous pattern of behavior. On issues from tax cuts to foreign policy, the president tends to stick stubbornly to his original course even when changing events cry out for adaptation. His explanations seem to evolve every day, but his thinking never does.

What we would like to hear from Mr. Kerry is how the events of the last year have changed his own thinking. He consistently describes the failures of Iraq as failures in tactics - from a lack of international support to a lack of adequate body armor for the troops. We're wondering if he really believes better planning or better diplomacy would have made the difference, or whether the whole idea of sending troops was flawed. Arab nations have a painful history of Western colonization, and there is an instinctive resistance to the idea of a Western occupation of Arab soil. How much does Mr. Kerry think the addition of French and German soldiers would have improved things? In retrospect, it seems that even if Arab nations like Saudi Arabia or Egypt had added their support, the outcome would have more likely been trouble for the governments of those countries back home rather than credibility on the streets of Baghdad.

There are undoubtedly circumstances that call for military action, but we would like to know whether, as president, John Kerry would insist on a higher threshold than he settled for as an opportunistic senator in 2002.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
I decided to take a shot at this one. The author believes Kerry has to explain himself better on the value of the war. Why? The war was wrong because it was based on bogus intelligence and it was Bush's job to make sure the intelligence was accurate. He failed to get his ducks in a row before he asked for war. He failed to get UN support. He failed to tell us the truth when he promised to get an up or down vote in the UN and he failed us when the UN said his intelligence was garbage and he didn't ask for better intelligence.

Kerry, like the rest of us had to deal with a media that has gone utterly insane since 9/11. Recall how Bush claimed Air Force One was a target on that dreadful day. Only later did we learn the story was manufactured (yes, just like WMD). The media should have said Bush was a liar, maybe then he'd have stopped. I'm convinced the only way we can get Bush to stop lying is to have every reporter in the country tell him to stop lying. He might listen, though I doubt it. It won't happen though, because the media helps him lie. There are no consequences for being 100% wrong so they help him lie. I'd trade "fair and balanced" for "accurate" any day of the week

It's not as if Bush has a record to run on. We have record deficits, an economy unable to produce needed jobs, gas prices soaring to near $50 a barrel, mistake or lies about WMD, mistakes or lies about the number of stem lines available for research etc.

Our country will never be safe again until we rid ourselves of the media and an Administration and a Party that lie to us daily. Does anyone really think Kerry could have stopped the media and Bush from going to war?