WASHINGTON -- If the election were held today, John Kerry would lose by between 58 and 100 electoral votes. The reason is simple: the central vulnerability of this president -- the central issue of this campaign -- is the Iraq War. And Kerry has nothing left to say.
If he had simply admitted that he had made a mistake in supporting the war, he might have become an antiwar candidate. But having taken a dozen positions, he has nowhere to go.
He now calls Iraq ``the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.'' But of course he voted to authorize the war. And shortly after the fall of Baghdad he emphatically repeated his approval of the war: ``It was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein. And when the president made the decision, I supported him.''
When Don Imus asked him this week, ``Do you think there are any circumstances we should have gone to war in Iraq, any?'' Kerry responded: ``Not under the current circumstances, no. There are none that I see. I voted based on weapons of mass destruction. The president distorted that.'' But just last month he said that even if he had known then what he knows now, he would have voted for the war resolution.
Is Iraq part of the war on terror or a cynical distraction from it? ``And everything (Bush) did in Iraq, he's going to try to persuade people it has to do with terror, even though everybody here knows that it has nothing whatsoever to do with al Qaeda and everything to do with an agenda that they had preset, determined.''
That was April 2004. Of course, shortly after 9/11, Kerry was saying the opposite. ``I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally," he said in December 2001. ``This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. ... Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue (with), for instance, Saddam Hussein.''
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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