Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So THAT’S Why!

The referenced article describes Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s latest stance on the war in Iraq. He is now effectively saying that invading Iraq was a big mistake. He also is on record for voting for the resolution allowing us the option of force when dealing with Saddam Hussein, then criticizing President Bush when he actually made use of the authority. Strangely enough, in the same article above, he states that he would still have voted for the Iraq War resolution.

He has also spoken out several times against the president’s decision to go to war without the imprimatur of the U.N. and our “AINO (Allies In Name Only). He has said that we should have spent more time pursuing diplomatic solutions and that we should have gotten more of a multinational coalition before the invasion. Yet he is on record as having criticized Clinton for not being more aggressive towards Hussein.

So which is it? What’s his stance, and why are the Democrats so firmly behind this apparently conflicting set of stances?

It becomes apparent when you look at the Democrats’ attitudes from another angle. They are for the U.N., for diplomatic processes, for multinational consensuses, for meetings, and for cooperation and participation by all. What they are for, effectively, is talking.

If all you do is talk, nobody gets killed (nobody that you are concerned about, anyway). No action is taken for which you are responsible. No money is spent for which you must account. The only thing you must do is sit in comfortable chairs in air-conditioned offices, eat good food, and voice an opinion every now and then. If a situation is serious (i.e.: the media starts asking you several questions about it), hurry up and pass a resolution condoning or condemning something, then congratulate yourself for a hard day’s work.

Now don’t get me wrong. Cooperation and consensus are generally desirable. The problem is that meetings and talking and consensus building can go on forever, and there are some situations where that is simply unacceptable. Imminent threats, real or perceived, are one. Lots of people being tortured or killed is another. In critical situations it is better to slight some entities by taking quick action than it is to wait until everyone can come to a decision for action or, as the case often is, a decision to meet for another decision.

Iraq is a good example. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The British said Iraq had WMD. During the Clinton administration several Democrats were on record complaining about Iraq’s WMD and how Saddam Hussein needed to go. Salman Pak was one of several terrorist training grounds within Iraq and there were meetings between Hussein’s people and Al Quaeda.

The U.S. gave Hussein an ultimatum to submit to the U.N. inspections he’d manipulated for over a decade, and appealed to the U.N. to actually get serious about the inspections. Given Hussein’s record, it was reasonable to assume that he would hide or even give away his WMD before surrendering them to any outside body. By the time we finally got in there a year after the ultimatum, not only had no multinational consensus been reached but most of the WMD had been either hidden or given away, most likely to organizations supporting terrorism. If anything, we should have taken action more quickly than we did.

This reasoning escapes the Democrats, however. Instead of acknowledging the perils of waiting so long, they claim we should have waited longer. Instead of taking action, we should have either continued to seek the blessings of the French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese, or we should have waited for Hussein to play with the U.N. inspection teams for another decade or so.

Conservatives and even some liberals claim that Kerry is weak on defense, but that’s not quite true. What Kerry is weak on is action, and we need leaders who are willing to take action even when polls and the media don’t endorse it.


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