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September 5, 2004
Kerry Calls McCain A Liar

John Kerry's campaign has now responded to the speakers at the Republican National Conventionby calling them all liars and distorters. Apparently no one is safe from Kerry's poisoned pen, including his first choice for running mate, John McCain. The author of this piece doesn't bother to list opposing arguments or any supporting evidence that the plethora of statements -- their website lists a whopping 143 of them -- are false, misleading, or half-truths, as the title labels them. In fact, they don't even distinguish which is which.

McCain comes under fire for these four statements:

Bush Has Done A Good Job With Our Allies.

10. Senator John McCain: My friends in the Democratic Party and I'm fortunate to call many of them my friends assure us they share the conviction that winning the war against terrorism is our government's most important obligation. I don't doubt their sincerity. They emphasize that military action alone won't protect us, that this war has many fronts: in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy. They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies. We agree. And, as we've been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle. That is what the President believes. And, thanks to his efforts we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe, even if we have, at times, been disappointed with the reactions of some.

11. Senator John McCain: Our President will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all.

Bush Did It Right Going to War Against Iraq.

12. Senator John McCain: However just the cause, we should shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us. But there is no avoiding this war. We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly. And while this war has many components, we can't make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct.

13. Senator John McCain: After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq. Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone."

Let's take a look at each of these in order to find out why Kerry would call his supposed good friend John McCain -- a man who has defended Kerry and spoken only well of him on the campaign trail -- a dishonest liar.

#10: Since most of this statement actually praises the presumed points of agreement between the Democrats and the Republicans, the only part of #10 that Kerry could rationally find objectionable would be the assertion that "thanks to [Bush's] efforts we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe." Why he would object to this statement makes little sense to me at all. Several countries, including Britain, Italy, Poland, South Korea, and a number of other countries have troops stationed in Iraq, and several have suffered casualties as a result. Can we not agree that their assistance has had value? Even if we disagree on whether the three countries who did not agree to support our efforts (France, Germany, and Russia) ever would have agreed under any conditions to end the regime that put millions of dollars into their pockets?

If Kerry has not been made aware that other nations have troops in Iraq, some (Britain, Poland, Italy, South Korea) numbering in the thousands, it speaks poorly about his understanding of the military situation and his expertise on any solutions. Perhaps he should attend more briefings.

#11: Our President will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all. How could this possibly be untrue? Have we turned down any offers to join the coalition? For this to be a lie or a mischaracterization, Kerry would have to assert that George Bush made a habit of turning down countries that begged the US to allow their troops to join ours in Baghdad. What Bush has been unwilling to do is to kowtow to nations that only love us as victims and resent us when we use the same power that kept them free from Soviet domination for two decades to engage the terrorists on their ground rather than ours.

#12: In this case, the Kerry campaign misleads or flat-out lies by placing McCain's quotes in the wrong context, and one would have to conclude that it was purposeful. McCain, in saying "there is no avoiding this war," was speaking about the broader war on terror, not specifically Iraq. However, even if McCain applied this to Iraq, he would still be correct. Those who labor under the delusion that the containment strategies were working have not paid attention to the evidence discovered after the war about arms shipments to Saddam's Iraq through Syria, bought with the billions skimmed off of the Oil-For-Food program. European opposition to the sanctions regime had been increasing for years even though Saddam had defied UN resolutions calling for him to verifiably disarm for twelve years.

With Saddam's record, anyone who thinks that he would suddenly become a rational and moderate leader after the sanctions regime completely fell apart and would abandon his terrorist ties is nothing short of delusional. And if you want any confirmation of that, you could ask John Kerry, who a few weeks ago claimed that he still would have voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam even if he'd known that WMD would not be found.

So who's lying now? It doesn't appear to be John McCain.

#13: At least Kerry uses McCain's quote in the correct context, but it's the same argument as #12. And it gets the same response. If John Kerry doesn't think a re-armed Saddam Hussein presented a danger to US interests in that area and around the globe, then perhaps he can explain what Saddam was doing putting sleeper agents inside the US.

If John Kerry thinks that John McCain is a liar, perhaps in the future he can come up with a better explanation of why, or any explanation at all. This list of unrebutted statements amounts to nothing more than random ad hominem attacks instead of enlightened debate, and the poison of name-calling rather than honest disagreement. The latter is especially egregious considering the lengths to which McCain went in his speech to impute nothing but the best motivations to his political opponents. Kerry is incapable of even returning McCain's graciousness. It provides another look into the character of the Democratic nominee, a character whose uncloaking has led to Kerry's sudden erosion in the polls. (Hat tip: Wolff.)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 5, 2004 9:23 PM

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