Mona Charen

 But then hawkish Kerry ran into a stiff headwind called Howard Dean, and he began to tack. Having said in July 2002, "I agree completely with this administration's goal of a regime change in Iraq," Kerry-scared-by-Dean temporized in August 2003: "And the fact is, in the resolution we passed, we did not empower the president to do regime change." No? Then what? "I voted to threaten the use of force. ..." To threaten but not to follow through? Was it called the bluffing resolution?

 By October 2003, Kerry's spear had truly become a pruning hook. When Congress was asked to authorize $87 billion for security and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kerry at first declared that it would be "irresponsible" to deny our troops what they need. "I don't think anyone in the Congress is going to not give our troops ammunition, not give our troops the ability to be able to defend themselves. We're not going to cut and run and not do the job." Except Kerry-scared-of Dean. He voted no.

 By January 2004, the Massachusetts senator was firmly in the antiwar camp. Asked, "Are you one of the antiwar candidates?" Kerry said, "I am -- yeah."

 Kerry's new position was that he was for threatening war, not waging it. Later this evolved into what he would no doubt call a "nuanced" position that the way George W. Bush went to war was all wrong. But he has never specified what was wrong. Indeed, during the run up to the war, Kerry defended the diplomatic efforts of the president and secretary of state.

Today, when asked his position on whether it was right to remove Saddam or not, Kerry dissolves into incoherence -- expedience having finally caught up with him. Radio host Don Imus asked last week, "Do you think there are any circumstances we should have gone to war in Iraq?" Kerry replied, "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 I think it was the right vote based on what Saddam Hussein had done, and I think it was the right thing to do to hold him accountable. I've said a hundred times, there was a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. The president chose the wrong way. Can't be more direct than that."

 Sadly, that is probably true.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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