The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Kerry, the war resolution and Iraq diplomacy - the parsing gets no easier

Kerry is fronted by the Post today saying
that he still would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq even if he had known then that U.S. and allied forces would not find weapons of mass destruction.

There is no direct quote of his saying all of that later in the piece, which is a pity [1]. Because, straight off the bat, it sounds wacky as hell: Kerry would have voted to authorise the use of US force (H JRes 114) in a process mainly designed to force Saddam to reveal his WMD, even if he'd known Saddam had no WMD to reveal.

That's so damned subtle, it could be French!

And that's without admitting secondary consequences of his counterfactual. (And considering a counterfactual without admitting secondary consequences is sharp practice, not to mention missing on half the fun.) For example, if Kerry had known when he supported the resolution that there were no WMD, which Bush said existed, wouldn't he (Kerry) have pointed out this discrepancy to the world? Or to the other UN Security Council members?

The effectiveness of such warnings might depend on the form of the revelation Kerry supposes he had had: revealed by the Angel Gabriel in a dream, for instance? Or an affidavit from the Almighty?

Perhaps more mature consideration will uncover some sound basis for Kerry's counterfactual. Perhaps not.

Meanwhile, he had another try with his Iraq diplomacy/redeployment of US troops policy after his August 6 NPR interview.

Whatever the varying formulations - James Rubin is credited as spinning his comments yesterday - the basic problem (August 5) is the lack of evidence that viable deployments in relief of US troops in Iraq are likely to be available.

A piece yesterday from the LA Times, under the hed Allies Not in Formation on Kerry's Troops Plan, gives Kerry's Pollyanna-ish statements on the subject little support.

The Times piece patiently goes down the list of possible sources of troops, and comes up empty. A whistling Dixie blind quote is offered:
A senior foreign policy advisor to Kerry, who asked to remain unidentified, said that campaign officials knew through foreign contacts that other governments would cooperate.

"There are enough indications through enough channels that we wouldn't be saying it if we didn't think we could do it," the advisor said.

The Bush campaign is described as scoffing at this: in this instance, something more than mere histrionic derision, I suspect.

(From the paper that gave us Gropergate, the Times piece is one big wet blanket on Kerry foreign policy and the diplomatic love-fest that the CW in some parts supposes will result from a Kerry victory.)

Kerry's problem with on the deployment issue is that he will never have any direct evidence to offer of the promises made to his people by foreign governments: of necessity, he's putting his credibility on the line [2].

And, frankly, on this issue, his story is just not credible.

  1. He may not have said it all: some of it may have been in the question. No transcripts on the Kerry site, so far as I know.

  2. With other policies - on health, for instance - he can look to third party validation. Not here.

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