Kerry's latest troubles began when he responded to pressure from President Bush to tell us whether he would have voted to authorize military action against Iraq even knowing what we do now about Iraq's apparent absence of weapons of mass destruction.
Kerry said, "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have."
On what basis, one wonders, would Kerry have voted to give the president that authority in light of the many other conflicting statements he has made.
Consider his convention speech, when he said, "America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to." It's no secret Kerry was referring to Iraq there.
Kerry continued, "Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: 'I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people (and) fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent.' So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war."
Shouldn't Senator Kerry explain to us why "we (would have) had no choice" and how the "threat (would have been) real and imminent" if we would have believed there were no stockpiles of WMD, especially considering Kerry's insistence that there was no significant linkage between Iraq and Al-Qaeda?
To reconcile these inconsistencies we must conclude that Kerry didn't believe the threat from Iraq was real and imminent a few weeks ago but does today. There's no wiggle room here for the senator.
Yet he continues to wiggle. He says that in voting for the resolution he understood the president would only exercise military action as a last resort, would make a better effort at building an international coalition and would have had a plan to win the peace.
How can anyone possibly believe that Kerry, given his abiding distrust of George Bush and his judgment, would ever vote to delegate such carte blanche authority to President Bush concerning if and when to wage war?
Regardless, none of these things would have had anything to do with whether the threat was clear and imminent. Neither building a stronger coalition nor adopting a fail-safe plan for "winning the peace" would have altered the nature of the threat posed by Iraq. So Kerry failed his own test.
Moreover, can you imagine the futility of trying to persuade these recalcitrant nations to join our coalition if they believed Iraq didn't have WMD, when they wouldn't join us even when they believed that he did?
There's more. Kerry has repeatedly accused President Bush of misleading us into war by distorting the intelligence and exaggerating the WMD threat. And Kerry said, "They were wrong, and soldiers lost their lives because they were wrong."
Isn't Kerry saying that he wouldn't have gone along with putting our troops in harm's way if President Bush hadn't misled us on the WMD question? If not because of Iraq's presumed WMD, then on what basis would he have voted to put our soldiers? lives on the line?
Also consider Kerry's statements after it appeared that we were not going to find stockpiles of WMD. When President Bush reminded his detractors that WMD was not the only reason he led us into war against Iraq, Kerry accused him of changing his story. "Now the president is giving us a new reason for sending people to war."
Hold on now. President Bush always offered multiple reasons for our military action against Iraq. But since Kerry raised the issue, perhaps he should give us his reasons for retrospectively supporting the resolution, even assuming there were no WMD stockpiles. It won't suffice for him to tell us yet again that he expected Bush to attack only as a last resort. He has to offer an underlying reason he would have supported the resolution even if he expected the president not to act on it immediately. And that underlying reason must satisfy his convention speech test of an imminent threat.
Finally, if Kerry thinks the cause against Iraq was required with or without WMD, why is he so anxious to precipitously withdraw our troops and jeopardize all that our soldiers have died for? Ah yes, how history (Vietnam) does repeat itself.