A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Thursday, April 01, 2004 :::
A Mind That Suits has some topping stuff on popular culture, yet one more glorious spring in the nation's most beautiful city, kids, poker, and loads of other fun stuff, but, like an addict, he returns here to last month's obsession. he is off to NC next week, and so promises nothing but happy musings about the silly things that come to you while wiling away the morning in a coffee shop staffed by bumptious college students. But that is for tomorrow or the next day. A serious matter.

A Mind That Suits asks his readers' indulgence by reprinting again some words uttered by Sen. John Kerry during the October, 2002, debate on the authorization of the Iraq war. There is a point.

I believe the record of Saddam Hussein's ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior which is at the core of the cease-fire agreement, with no reach, no stretch, is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force, if necessary.

This much was quoted by Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic (on the indispensable Journal's op-ed page), and Mr. Kaplan was quoted here. Perhaps hindsight makes things appear differently, but it seemed to this writer at least that Mr. Kaplan was implying that Sen. Kerry was not all that interested in Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Alas, it turns out that this passage is indeed a quote from a long section in Mr. Kerry's floor speech on...WMD. Sen. Kerry was referring to the agreements that Saddam made to disarm.

There is a further point here, so we must explore it for a minute.

But first, a reminder that one should check the sources of quotations that others have extracted before repeating them. An apology is in order to the readers of A Mind That Suits and to to Sen. Kerry, and hereby offered.

But let us listen to Sen. Kerry on two more points.

The first concerns the question of whether any other argument was really relevant to support for the war in Congress, from the American public, and among the leaders (if not the voters) of the Coalition of the Willing.

The answer is "no."

WMD were always the tipping argument, the clincher. Conservative writers do no good whatsoever by saying that WMD were somehow just "part" of the reason for going to war, or even not all that important. As one a-political but lifelong Republican put it recently: "You said they were there. They're not there. Pffft." A wave of the hand made it clear he meant, "you're outta there."

Moreover, Sen. Kerry is the duly sworn representative of the State of Massachussetts and, under the Constitution, responsible for making sure that the President of the United States conducts military affairs according to the laws of the country. His reason for voting for the War count just as much as any other Senator's, even if one could find many Senators who had any other reasons. The WMD threat was it. Period.

To quote Sen. Kerry:

The reason for going to war, if we must fight, is not because Saddam Hussein has failed to deliver gulf war prisoners or Kuwaiti property...Regime change has been an American policy under the Clinton administration, and it is the current policy. I support the policy. But regime change in and of itself is not sufficient justification for going to war--particularly unilaterally--unless regime change is the only way to disarm Iraq of the weapons of mass destruction pursuant to the United Nations resolution.

And in the end of that section:

As bad as he is, Saddam Hussein, the dictator, is not the cause of war. Saddam Hussein sitting in Baghdad with an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction is a different matter.

It should be added that in rereading the conservative press from 2002, it is hard to find one of them who dissented from that position. (That changed in early 2003, but the public had little chance to express itself and Congress had no chance to vote on it.)

And so it must again be pointed out--as Peggy Noonan already has--that, if President Bush tries the lame line pushed by some writers ("You voted for it!!"), Sen. Kerry needs only say, "You lied to me." And that will be the end of that.

But need it be? Remember what Dr. Kay found. It is all truly frightening. If sanctions had slipped any more than they had, he would have been right back in business within a year. Saddam's own records indicate that Western members of parliament, reporters, and businessmen, and probably at least some UN officials, were on the take. How long would the sanctions have stayed in place? What then?

Let us listen to Sen. Kerry.

It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world. He has as much as promised it.

There , right there, is the beginning of the President's "paragraph" on WMD. Let's have a hundred versions, so he can pick the right one.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 2:19 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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