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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

John McCain's rationale for support of the Iraq War

ate: August 31, 2004
Sent to but not published by New York Times

At the Republican convention last evening (August 30), Senator John McCain said he supported President Bush's attack on Iraq because: "We couldn't afford the risk posed by an unconstrained Saddam in these dangerous times."
The Senator seems to have forgotten the situation on the ground just before the war began. First, Saddam was highly constrained because of the UN Sanctions on Iraq. Despite their problems, they had drastically reduced the potential for Saddam buying weapons materiel. Second, inspectors were on the ground in Iraq. Their reports suggested that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The eight months since Bush claimed victory have only confirmed their findings. No weapons have been found.
Would the Senator agree that Saddam was constrained? Would the Senator agree that, based on his own logic that the war was not justified?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Susan Collins' amnesia about DHS

Date: August 29th., 2004
Sent to but not published in the Boston Globe

I am surprised that Senator Susan Collins would exhibit such amnesia in her statement that President Bush “called for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.” (Boston Globe, August 29, 2004).
Let me refresh her memory. From October 2001 until June of 2002, President Bush soundly resisted the call for a Department of Homeland Security. It was only through pressure from the Democrats and especially from the families of those who perished in the 9/11 attacks that President Bush reluctantly embraced the idea in June of 2002.
The creation of that Department was by no means a Bush initiative!

If you can't publish this letter -- and you just published one of mine -- I would ask you to call Susan Collins to account and have her publish a correction to this statement. Yet another political use of the "big lie."
As George H. W. Bush said during his campaign -- the lie is on the front page, the retraction is on the inside page; only the lie gets noticed.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Kerry Would Still Vote for War Authorization. Why?

Explaining Kerry's statement that he would still Vote for War Powers

Published in Boston Globe, August 23, 2004.

Ann Yurek (Globe, August 17 2004) says that Kerry wanted to trust the President so that is why he voted war making powers for the President (October 2002). But it really was not a question of trust; it was a vote designed to give the President leverage in calling Iraq to account before the United Nations. It exemplified realpolitik at its best.
It is hard to remember the sequence of events from 2001 and the present day. Up until November 2002 (that is until the President had the support of Senate and House) the Iraqis refused to allow UN inspectors to undertake inspections for Weapons of Mass Destruction on Iraqi territory. By the end of November, Inspections under the direction of Hans Blix were under way. The vote to grant the President war powers had achieved its purpose, the Iraq regime was being called to account for its actions.
We have forgotten too that Hans Blix called on the US and Britain to give his inspectors the "hard intelligence" that they claimed to possess so that his inspectors could go to check out that information on the ground. The failure of the US and Britain to do so should have roused our suspicions that all was not well with the intelligence -- its invalidity has been amply demonstrated in the past six months.
Where we went wrong -- the Senate, and the House, and the country, and all of us -- was the failure to recognize the importance of the inspector's reports in mid February 2003 that there was no evidence of immanent danger from Iraq. That should have led to a re-evaluation of the war power resolution and its potential repeal based on the changed situation. We failed to do so and we are reaping the tragic consequences today.
So, unlike Ann Yurek, I cannot understand Kerry's statement that, even with the evidence that there were no weapons of mass destruction, he would still have voted to give war powers to the President. There is no realpolitik rationale, there is no National Security rationale, there is no counter-terrorism rationale. So why would he say that he would still vote for war? His saying that today makes no sense -- except as a cheap ploy to garner votes in the upcoming election.
See edited and published version here