Thursday, August 12
Editorial in the Toronto Star:
What do Americans need in their president, post-9/11? Strong leadership, of course. Clear vision. Common sense. And in a dangerous, fast-changing world, the capacity to learn from past mistakes would be helpful.Fair enough. Kerry is, as always, trying to stand on both sides of the fence.
Senator John Kerry, the Democrat who hopes to elbow President George Bush from office on Nov. 2, promises all of the above and more. But there was little of it on display Monday, when Kerry responded to Bush's challenge to spell out where he stands on the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Rising to Bush's bait, Kerry said he would have cast the same Yes vote in Congress that he did on Oct. 11, 2002, to authorize the president to launch a pre-emptive war that began March 19, 2003, even if Kerry had known that Saddam Hussein had no ties with Al Qaeda terrorists, no weapons of mass destruction and posed no real threat to the world.Which is something of a flip-flop for Kerry, but we'll leave that alone.
"I believe it's the right authority for a president to have," Kerry now says. Only he would have used that power more "effectively."Now, the real question here is what would Kerry have done differently? Specifics. We want specifics.
Does the Toronto Star ask this question? No. Instead:
This amounts to a sweeping claim by Kerry that America has carte blanche to make war on even bogus grounds, and in defiance of the United Nations and world opinion, so long as the war is waged effectively.While Kerry's statement could be taken to mean that, we know where this is really going.
It's depressing from a candidate who has attacked Bush for "misleading" the nation, who promises a better direction and who claims to want to re-engage with the world.I'd say it's pretty much on form for Kerry, but if the Toronto Star wants to be depressed by Kerry's form, I can't argue.
Kerry's vote in 2002, while misguided, was defensible. Bush had exaggerated Saddam's threat, and had won over 7 in 10 Americans to the view that the Iraq war was justified.How, exactly, had Bush exaggerated Saddam's thread? Specifics. We want specifics.
But since then, the U.N. has been vindicated. Saddam was contained; there were no ties to the 9/11 terrorists; and Iraq had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.BWEEET! Foul!
Saddam was contained? Only with a permanent force of U.S. and British troops present, and at the expense of the Iraqi people.
No links to the 9/11 terrorists? Saddam has not been tied directly to 9/11, but he has been shown to have had connections with al Qaeda. The links are there.
No nuclear weapons? But not for lack of trying.
No chemical weapons? You mean, except for those Sarin gas artillery shells?
That leaves most Americans feeling misled, or duped.Unsupported assertion.
They can see the damage to U.S. prestige internationally.The French don't like America. But then, they never did. All that has changed is that the mask has slipped.
The loss of more than 1,000 American and allied lives, and 16,000 Iraqi lives.Even if 16,000 Iraqi lives have been lost (and I'd like to see the source for that figure) we can note that these largely fall into two groups:
1. Bad guys. Baathist thugs of all sorts and Islamist militia.
2. Ordinary Iraqis killed by group 1.
And how many people would have been killed by Saddam's regime in the past 15 months if we hadn't invaded?
A $200-billion cost.Yes. Ballpark.
And they see no easy exit.They're Americans. And British, and Australians, and Poles, and others. They didn't go in looking for an easy exit.
All this is baggage Bush should carry to the polls, alone. But Kerry has just re-endorsed his misguided policy, if not its clumsy delivery.And here come the ad-homs.
No wonder Kerry is struggling to pull ahead in a race with a president who has not delivered promised jobs and who is seen as a friend of the rich and powerful.There's a kernel of truth in the jobs remark.
But to say that Bush and not Kerry is seen as a friend of the rich and powerful takes a truly amazing level of bias.
Practical politics undoubtedly prompted Kerry's reply.Perhaps.
He is loath to admit he cast a foolish vote in 2002.Or possibly he doesn't consider it a foolish vote?
Well, who the heck knows what Kerry thinks anyway.
He does not want to alienate voters who were similarly dupedDuped? About what? By whom? Specifics, please.
and who are not keen to be reminded of it. And he must not be seen as "soft" on Saddam.Well, I should bloody well hope not!
Saddam Hussein was one of the bloodiest tyrants of the last few decades. He oversaw a regime of murder, rape and torture. He used poison gas on his own people, massacring entire villages. No-one sane would want to be seen as "soft" on Saddam.
But Kerry comes off looking like "Bush lite" on Iraq, rather than as a candidate with better values and a sounder program. He seems weak. Muddled.True.
Has he learned nothing from a slew of American investigations that have exposed the sloppiness of U.S. intelligence and the shabbiness of the rationale for war?Has the rest of the world entirely lost its moral compass?
Yes, the intelligence was not up to scratch. But the moral foundations of the war are absolutely unshakeable.
This is a letdown for American voters who yearn for a real alternative, and a healthier direction. It is not good news for the world, either.I agree that the failure of the Democratic Party to come up with a viable candidate is bad for America and bad for the world. But a truly viable candidate would have views on the Iraq war closer to Bush's than to Kerry's. Which is not, I think, what the Toronto Star is looking for. And in any case, Joe Lieberman did not get the nomination.
What they want to do is to go back to the holiday from history we enjoyed from 1993 to 2000. But that world is gone, never to return, and we are at war. It's not a war we started, but it's a war we must finish. And the hapless bleatings of dying newspapers like the Toronto Star* cannot be allowed to weaken our resolve.
Posted by: Susie at Thursday, August 12 2004 11:48 AM (CSnd4)
Posted by: Tuning Spork at Friday, August 13 2004 10:53 PM (8Chfh)
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