Continuing his quest to be more all over the map than the Grateful Dead in the band's heyday, John Kerry has offered yet another new position on the Iraq war. He?s for it?for now.
Uttering words no sane person ever predicted would pass through his lips, Kerry started his statement with, ?I?ll answer it directly.? (Editor?s note: That quote is authentic. We couldn?t believe it either.)
President Bush had challenged his opponent to announce whether or not he would still authorize the war knowing what we know today. The rest of Kerry's response? ?Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively.?
What does that mean, to use ?authority effectively?? Is Saddam not sitting in a cell right now? Are not the Iraqi people free? Is Iraq not on the verge of its first-ever free election? Is there a more effective way to win a war?
For those keeping score at home, it has been a dizzying past few weeks. At the convention, he seemed to be against the war. But at least he was definitely a Vietnam vet.
Warming up for the big day, Kerry tested out a number of themes, some pro- and some anti-war. Speaking to the NAACP, Kerry blasted Bush for ?needlessly going it alone? and even suggested that the war was fought over oil. The very next day, he appeared to endorse both unilateralism and preemptive strikes, though each pledge was married to carefully crafted caveats.
In Boston, Kerry talked tough about his willingness to defend America?he?s a Vietnam vet, didn?t you hear??yet he dragged out his tired staple, ?We?ll never go to war because we want to; we?ll only go to war because we have to,? and even trotted out the ?going to war over oil? bit for good measure.
No need to delve into the full history of his hemming and hawing?from the voting to authorize war yet voting against funding the rebuilding afterward?as the record is fairly well-established at this point.
Some might predict that Kerry?s newfound hard-line position might mean that Iraq is now off the table. Well, it is for Kerry, but certainly not for Bush.
The President has one consistent position?albeit one that is not always clearly articulated?yet Kerry has so many that he needs to reach into his hat on any given night to see which previously stated stance he should embrace. Unless he chooses to manufacture a new one, as he did this week.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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