To people who accuse Kerry of “flip-flopping”: If you want to be an honest person you owe it to yourself to actually read and understand Kerry’s position before you accuse him of things like changing positions. Fair enough?
I encourage anyone who really wants to know what Kerry’s position on the war was to read the statement he made to the Senate when he voted to allow the use of force. He says his vote was based on President Bush’s promises to get sufficient UN authorization (Bush didn’t) if he was going to use force, and only to use that force as a last resort if Iraq did not let weapons inspectors in. (Bush didn’t.)
Excerpts from John Kerry’s Statement on Iraq Before the War:
First, he had been told by the Administration that there were WMD. (Remember, the Administration was NOT sharing intelligence reports that contradicted this case for war.):
“… Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? … Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? … Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? … Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents? [. . .] Although Iraq’s chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 years. Evidence suggests that it has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. Intelligence reports show that Iraq has invested more heavily in its biological weapons programs over the 4 years, with the result that all key aspects of this program–R&D, production and weaponization–are active. Most elements of the program are larger and more advanced than they were before the gulf war. Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland.”
ALL of these “intelligence reports” given to the Senate by the Bush administration turned out to be untrue, largely based on reports supplied by Chalabi plants — and the Bush administration KNEW IT.
Eventually he starts to get around to his reasons for voting for the resolution,
… I traveled to New York a week ago. I met with members of the Security Council and came away with a conviction that they will indeed move to enforce, that they understand the need to enforce, if Saddam Hussein does not fulfill his obligation to disarm.”
And I believe they made it clear that if the United States operates through the U.N., and through the Security Council, they–all of them–will also bear responsibility for the aftermath of rebuilding Iraq and for the joint efforts to do what we need to do as a consequence of that enforcement.
[. . .] If the President arbitrarily walks away from this course of action–without good cause or reason–the legitimacy of any subsequent action by the United States against Iraq will be challenged by the American people and the international community. And I would vigorously oppose the President doing so.
[. . .] I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world’s case against Saddam Hussein.
As the President made clear earlier this week, “Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.” It means “America speaks with one voice.”
Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.
In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days–to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.
If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent–and I emphasize “imminent”–threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs.
[. . .] I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances.
[. . .] The administration must continue its efforts to build support at the United Nations for a new, unfettered, unconditional weapons inspection regime. If we can eliminate the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction through inspections, whenever, wherever, and however we want them, including in palaces–and I am highly skeptical, given the full record, given their past practices, that we can necessarily achieve that–then we have an obligation to try that as the first course of action before we expend American lives in any further effort.
It’s all there. It is exactly what he is saying now. He was voting for this in order to force Iraq to let weapons inspectors back in, which Iraq did. Kerry goes on to predict what will happen if we do not build a solid international coalition in conjunction with the UN, and the prediction is what is now occurring.
It’s long, really long, and it goes on (and on and on and on) from where I left off, but I encourage you to read it so that you will understand what Kerry said he was voting for, what the President had promised the Congress and the UN, and how the President broke the promise.
The President asked Kerry for his support, appealing to his patriotism. It was a trick and a betrayal, and Bush is now twisting what Kerry did to make him appear unpatriotic!
It is Bush who has flip-flopped all over the place. But worse, Bush conducted a bait-and-switch operation on us, and launched aggressive war, and is using every dirty trick lie in the book, accusing everyone else of what he himself has done, calling people unpatriotic, even treasonous, BECAUSE they supported him when he asked, in the name of the country.