Thursday, September 09, 2004

Couldn't have put it better myself 

William Kristol writes in the "Weekly Standard":

"John Kerry said yesterday that Iraq was 'the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.' Translation: We would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power.

Not an unheard of point of view. Indeed, as President Bush pointed out today, it was Howard Dean's position during the primary season. On December 15, 2003, in a speech at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles, Dean said that 'the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer.' Dean also said, 'The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at the extraordinary cost, so far, of $166 billion.'

"But who challenged Dean immediately? John Kerry. On December 16, at Drake University in Iowa, Kerry asserted that 'those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president.'

"Kerry was right then."
(hat tip: Tanker Schreiber)

John Kerry, of course, may well consider Iraq to be "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" and at the same time - and on a purely moral and humanitarian level - be happy that Saddam has been removed from power. He is, after all, no stranger to holding over-nuanced and seemingly self-contradictory policy positions. But
as Bill Kristol notes elsewhere, as the man who would lead the nation, Kerry should at least be able to answer these questions:

"Would we be safer with Saddam still in power? Would the world? What would such a world look like? Surely we couldn't have left 150,000 troops in the nations bordering Iraq for two years. Surely, then, the inspectors would once again have been expelled. And the sanctions regime was collapsing. Does Kerry then believe Saddam would not have moved to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction? Would that have been acceptable? Does Kerry believe pro-American, anti-terror forces in the Middle East, to say nothing of the forces of reform in that region, would be stronger or weaker if Saddam were still in power? What would have been the global effect on American credibility if we had authorized the president to use force, as Kerry voted to do, and then backed off? And what would a Kerry administration do now? How could a President Kerry ask any young American to be the last one to die for a mistake?"
And that might require a more comprehensive response than a catchy soundbite.


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