[A-List] Kerry endorses Bush's presidential right to declare illegal war
james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Fri Aug 20 05:34:11 MDT 2004
Posted by Fred Feldman to Marxmail
I am submitting this because I think that the antediluvian journalist Helen
Thomas, like Patti Smith although I think probably reflect different people,
is somebody who actually reflects thinking that is going on much more
broadly. Perhaps Kerry's endorsement of Bush on the war is one reason why
the GOP-backed attacks on his war record have had a resonance -- even though
they seem to be plainly fraudulent -- that is greater than one would expect.
Maybe Kerry, despite and maybe partly because he is trying to ride his war
record rather than his antiwar record into the White House, is beginning to
look like just another chicken-hawk to the person in the street. -- Fred
Helen Thomas, an old fashioned national treasure. Happy to send it on. --
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Kerry deals away his ace in the hole
By HELEN THOMAS
WASHINGTON -- It appears American voters have little choice between the
presidential candidates in the November election when it comes to the
disastrous war against Iraq.
Both President Bush and his rival, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., seem to think
it was worth the 932 American lives (so far) and thousands of U.S. wounded
to get one man behind bars -- Saddam Hussein.
There also are the untold thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded as well. But,
as one Pentagon spokesman told me, "They don't count."
Kerry has made a colossal mistake by continuing to defend his October
2002 vote authorizing President Bush's invasion of Iraq.
Last week at the Grand Canyon, Kerry said he would have "voted to give the
president the authority to go to war" even if he had known there were no
stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction -- Bush's original justification
for war on Iraq.
Kerry explained that he believes a president should have the "authority" to
go to war, and he voted accordingly. But he insisted that Bush subsequently
misused the authority by rushing headlong into combat based on faulty
intelligence about Saddam's weapons arsenal.
Kerry is mistaken on a key point. Under the U.S. Constitution, the president
does not have that sole right to declare war. Despite its mindless default,
that right still belongs to Congress.
Kerry has passed up several chances to distance himself from the Iraqi
debacle. But instead he has left himself wide open to Bush's ridicule.
What's he got left -- stem-cell research?
Bush had a field day smirking and mocking his political rival and telling
the nation that he was "right" to attack Iraq, absence of weapons
Bush has sarcastically told cheering Republican rallies, "After months of
questioning my motives and even my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees with
"We did the right thing," Bush bragged. "And the world is better off for
The senator should have called Bush's hand months ago and laid it on the
line after so much official deception. How could he say he would have voted
for the 2002 war resolution after he and the whole world learned the
rationale for the war was based on falsehoods?
Does Kerry realize that the U.S. invasion of Iraq without provocation
violates the U.N. Charter and the Nuremberg Tribunal principles?
Kerry has a weak fallback position-- that he would have planned things
differently before going to war and would have lined up more European
allies. Knowing what they know now about the Bush fiasco, France and Germany
are congratulating themselves for having the good sense to stay out of Iraq.
So Kerry has blown it big time, rising to Bush's bait and throwing away his
ace in the hole -- Bush's shaky credibility on the profound question of war
Bush has yet to apologize for misleading the nation or to explain why he
needed a war when Saddam's regime was tightly contained with sanctions,
weapons inspections and U.S. patrolling of the "no-fly" zone.
Bush has no exit strategy or timetable for a troop withdrawal even under the
facade of Iraqi sovereignty.
Kerry has talked about drawing down American forces and an eventual pullout.
But he could learn something from two previous wartime Republican
presidential candidates who had a better take on the public pulse and won
the White House.
In 1952 during the Korean War, Dwight D. Eisenhower made a campaign promise
that he would "go to Korea" and end the bloodshed. He did go to Korea and
the war ended with a cease-fire standoff months after his inauguration.
In 1968, Richard Nixon said he had a "plan" to end the Vietnam War and the
voters, wanting peace, bought it. Nixon -- in part forced by Congress --
reduced the U.S. troop commitment to Vietnam, but U.S. forces were still
there when Nixon was forced to resign from office in 1974 because of the
Watergate scandal. But the war ended the following year.
These were not triumphal solutions but they did give Americans some hope of
eventual escape from the two quagmires.
In 1964, a Los Angeles Times cartoon by famed Paul Conrad showed a pollster
knocking on a door. A woman sticks her head out of a window and the pollster
asks her voting preference: "President Johnson or Sen. Barry Goldwater,
R-Ariz.?" She replies: "Who else have you got?"
That may be the fix some Americans are in again.
Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.
E-mail: helent at hearstdc.com.
Copyright 2004 Hearst Newspapers.
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