Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Let Me Be Clear"

John Kerry, October 9, 2002
"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."
Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, adopted October 11, 2002:
"In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq..."
Hans Blix, March 7, 2003, from his address to the United Nations:

"Inspections in Iraq resumed on 27 November 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties...Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.

"As I noted on 14 February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks and, in particular, that there are mobile production units for biological weapons...Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities...No evidence of proscribed activities has so far been found.

"There have been reports, denied from the Iraqi side, that proscribed activities are conducted underground...During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspection teams have examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground penetrating radar equipment was used in several specific locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far.

"While during our meetings in Baghdad, the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al Samoud 2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council...Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed and has started the process of destruction under our supervision. The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament - indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s. We are not watching the breaking of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed.

"The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. It has not, however, so far persisted in these or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights. If it did, we would report it."
The Deserter, March 19, 2003:
"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."
But there were no "weapons of mass murder." Hans Blix told the Deserter and the world only twelve days prior that no weapons of mass destruction or proscribed activities had been found in Iraq even though U.N. inspectors had conducted "professional, no-notice inspections all over Iraq."

John Kerry stated unequivocally that he supported war against Iraq only "if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies." Similarly, the resolution adopted by Congress conditioned authorization of military force upon a finding by the president that "diplomatic or other peaceful means" to "adequately protect the national security of the United States" or enforce the U.N. resolutions had failed.

The inspections were ongoing when the Deserter went to war. They were being conducted without interference from Iraq. They were effective. They were disarming Iraq. How could the Deserter have certified to Congress that diplomatic and peaceful means of disarming Iraq had failed only twelve days after Blix's report that inspections were working and Iraq was disarming?

UPDATE: The Associated Press reported at 1:18 PM that "Kerry, as a U.S. senator, voted for the war." Just incredible. The Associated Press apparently finds it immaterial that the authorization Kerry voted for was conditioned upon the existence of an Iraqi threat and a failure of "diplomatic or other peaceful means" to "adequately protect the national security of the United States" or enforce the U.N. resolutions. The Associated Press apparently believes that as of March 19, 2003 the Iraqi threat existed and diplomacy had failed, notwithstanding Blix's report to the U.N. on March 7, 2003. Would it really be so difficult for the A.P. to say that Kerry had voted to "authorize the use of force if diplomatic efforts to disarm Iraq had failed"?


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