<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Monday, February 09, 2004

Man, Kaus gets more desperate every day it seems. I might have to make this an ongoing feature or something.

In his latest polemic, Mickey sez:

WaPo's Dewar and Balz do a good job of highlighting the contradictions in Kerry's rationalizations for his 1991 vote against authorizing war versus Iraq and his 2002 vote in favor of authorizing war. Sample:

Kerry argued in 1991 that there was no need to pass the resolution to send a message threatening force against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, although that was his justification for supporting the 2002 resolution.

Before and after last year's war on Iraq, Kerry criticized the president for failing to assemble the kind of coalition Bush's father put together in 1991. But in his 1991 floor statement, Kerry was dismissive of the elder Bush's coalition. [Emphasis added.]


First off, let's look at the whole passage from the article:

Nowhere has Kerry been challenged more for voting one way and talking another than on Iraq, both for his vote in support of the war in 2002 and his vote opposing the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

In 2002, he voted for the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war unilaterally, but then became one of Bush's harshest critics for having done so. Kerry, in his floor speech before the vote, warned Bush to build an international coalition through the United Nations, but the resolution did not require the president to gain U.N. approval before going to war. Kerry later said he was voting not for the use of force but for the threat of force.

In January 1991, Kerry opposed the resolution authorizing Bush's father to go to war to eject Iraq from Kuwait, arguing that the U.N. sanctions then in place should be given more time to work. When former Vermont governor Howard Dean recently challenged Kerry to square those two votes, aides said that the 1991 vote was not one in opposition to the use of force, just as Kerry has said his 2002 vote was not in support of the use of force.

In his 1991 floor speech, Kerry accused President George H.W. Bush of engaging in a "rush to war" -- language similar to that he used in criticizing the current president on the eve of the Iraq war a year ago. Kerry argued in 1991 that there was no need to pass the resolution to send a message threatening force against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, although that was his justification for supporting the 2002 resolution.

Before and after last year's war on Iraq, Kerry criticized the president for failing to assemble the kind of coalition Bush's father put together in 1991. But in his 1991 floor statement, Kerry was dismissive of the elder Bush's coalition. That effort, he said, lacked "a true United Nations collective security effort," and he was critical of the then-president for trading favors for China's support and cozying up to Syria, despite its human rights record.

"I regret that I do not see a new world order in the United States going to war with shadow battlefield allies who barely carry a burden," he said then. "It is too much like the many flags policy of the old order in Vietnam, where other countries were used to try to mask the unilateral reality. I see international cooperation; yes, I see acquiescence to our position; I see bizarre new bedfellows and alliances, but I question if it adds up to a new world order."

The language raises the question of what kind of international coalition meets Kerry's standards. Cutter said that, in 1991, Kerry was concerned that the United States would bear a disproportionate burden of the casualties, despite the coalition assembled, and preferred to give Hussein "a little more time" to withdraw before launching the war.


So here's Kerry's 'contradictions':

- in 1991 he was in favor of waiting for UN sanctions to take effect before attacking Saddam and opposed the war; in 2002, after more than a decade of such sanctions, he voted for a resolution he claims advocated just the threat of force, but allowed for unilateral action.

Setting aside the question of whether he's lying about what he thought he was voting on, how are those positions contradictory? In '91 he wanted to see what effect the sanctions would have before attacking. By '02 you'd have to think he had a pretty good idea.

- in 1991 he criticized the anti-Saddam alliance as a "mask for unilateral reality"; in 2002 he advocated an international coalition.

Certainly what Li'l Bushie slapped together fits the 'mask for unilateral relaity' definition better than what Papa Bush did, but if the 1991 coalition didn't meet his standards the 2002 one wasn't going to either. Again, where's the contradiction? Both times he wanted a true international effort, not a US effort with other countries along for the ride.

- in 1991 he criticized the "rush to war"; in 2002 he, umm, criticized the rush to war.

Yes, it was after his vote helped authorize it. The voting record can be questioned, but that's not what Kaus is after. Mickey keeps trying to paint Kerry as an opportunist who flip-flops on issues sometimes just to stay in practice, but every time I look at an actual position Kerry has taken, it seems to maintain its consistency just fine.

Other 'contradictions' from the article:

- 20 years ago, in his first term in the Senate, he advocated cuts to defense programs (about $50 billion) that today he does not advocate.

Hmm, let's see. In 1984, under Reagan, Kerry called for cuts to the defense budget. Now what happened soon after 1984 that might have proven him right to call for cuts... meanwhile, a lifetime later in 2002, he doesn't support the cuts. Now, what could have happened soon before 2002 to alter his opinion...

Calling that a flip-flop makes about as much sense as calling somebody a Commie sympathizer today because he advocates trade with Russia.

- Kerry also proposed cuts in funding for the CIA during the 1990s but now advocates a more robust intelligence operation.

- In the late 1980s, Kerry opposed the death penalty for terrorists who killed Americans abroad but now supports capital punishment for terrorist acts.

Again, see above. So getting tough on terrorists and wanting to boost the CIA post 9-11 is political opportunism now?

Well yeah, actually it could be. It could also be a genuine emotional response to the tragedy. It could also be part and parcel with a slight conservative shift in values, which is what happens to most people as they get older. We're talking a span of 15-20 years here on these 'flip-flops'. Ridiculous. Does Mickey Kaus still believe in everything he held dear two decades ago?

- He, like almost everyone in the Senate, supported the USA Patriot Act after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but now denounces Attorney General John D. Ashcroft for aggressively implementing it.

Given what just happened in Iowa, I'd say questioning the government's use of the Patriot Act is the only sane response, whether you initially supported it or not.

Keep trying, Mickey. I'm sure you'll find something that actually justifies your hatred of Kerry eventually.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?