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September 6, 2004
More Doublespeak On Iraq

John Kerry, in an appearance today in Pennsylvania, continued to vacillate on his approach to Iraq as supporters forced him to answer questions on the issue at an appearance on Canonsburg. Kerry flipped back to his earlier, fully anti-war position of the primary campaign and eschewed his assertion last month that he would have gone to war against Saddam regardless of the WMD question:

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Monday called the invasion of Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in his first White House term.

Under pressure from some Democrats to change the subject from national security -- regarded by many as President Bush's strongest issue -- Kerry tried to focus exclusively on the economy and other domestic topics at a neighborhood meeting but supporters raised Iraq.

The Massachusetts senator, who has said he would have voted to give Bush the authority to use force if necessary against Iraq even if he had known at the time that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, has struggled to draw clear contrasts with the president.

Nor did Kerry stop there. He called the contributions of allies such as Britain, Italy, Poland, and South Korea "the phoniest thing I've ever heard," saying that they had "500 troops here and 500 troops there," despite these countries having thousands of troops -- especially Britain, which stations tens of thousands in Iraq and had 40,000 at the beginning of the war fighting alongside America. And yet, he also asserted this:

He denied that he was "Monday morning quarterbacking."

Nowhere does Kerry explain how he would have convinced France and Germany to send troops to Iraq while they pocketed millions from the Oil-For-Food program. This is no mean distinction, either. Kerry keeps insisting that having their cooperation would have legitimized Bush's efforts in Iraq, but never talks about the fact that both countries have been deeply implicated in the UN corruption that fed billions to Saddam Hussein while he paid off officials in both countries with oil futures worth millions of dollars. Nor does Kerry tell audiences how little military support either country could contribute, even had they been inclined to do so.

Kerry continues to argue Iraq from all sides of the debate, providing his own odd version of triangulation. His only consistent statement is his intent to remove American troops at the first opportunity from Iraq, leaving the Iraqis holding the bag against the terrorists in their midst. It's the same cut-and-run strategy that we have employed for a quarter-century in that region and one of the reasons we have the problems with Islamofascists now. The fact that Kerry still does not understand that retreat does not equal victory demonstrates that he learned nothing from his activism in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the wrong candidate for the wrong office at the wrong time.

Addendum: In the AP update, Kerry has apparently abandoned his pledge earlier this summer to have the bulk of American troops home by next summer. This is yet another point of vacillation for Kerry and highlights the fact that he still has not disclosed any comprehensive plan for Iraq or the war on terror. He only campaigns as the Not-Bush and his entire debate consists of nothing but the automatic gainsay of his opponent. As Monty Python once said, that's not an argument -- it's petulance.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 6, 2004 11:27 AM

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On yet another flip flop by Democratic candidate John Kerry, he now is blasting President Bush on the war in Iraq. [Read More]

Tracked on September 6, 2004 8:17 PM

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