How Many People Will Die Because of This "Mistake", Senator Kerry?

by SAM HUSSEINI

Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.

— Elizabeth Cady Stanton

At the debate last night, John Kerry, asked to give examples of the administration’s deceptiveness on the "war on terrorism," said the following:

"Well, 45 minutes deployment of weapons of mass destruction, number one. Aerial vehicles to be able to deliver materials of mass destruction, number two. I mean, I — nuclear weapons, number three. I could run a long list of clear misleading, clear exaggeration…."

On Oct. 9, 2002 John Kerry participated in "a long list of clear misleading, clear exaggerations," to put it mildly. In his speech on the floor of the Senate just before voting to authorize Bush to invade Iraq, Kerry said:

"Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try? … According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons … Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents…"

Kerry became famous by asking senators "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Kerry is now himself a senator.

Mr. Kerry: How do you ask someone to die for your support of the invasion of Iraq? How do you ask someone to die for this mistake? More than a "mistake," how do you ask someone to die because you voted for an illegal , unconstitutional invasion? How do you ask Iraqis and Americans and others to die because you backed Bush?

How can you tell us that Bush was deceitful when you uttered many of the same falsehoods? How can you hold him accountable when you refuse to be held accountable yourself?

How can you be "electable" when you have many of the same skeletons in your closet as Bush? Do you really think the Republican machine won’t cite your speech over and over again — "Kerry claims that Bush lied when Kerry said many of the same things!" Fox will blare. Or, after you get the Democratic nomination, will you be quiet about Iraq, other than to talk about narrow issues like Halliburton — searching for something, anything, that Bush is guilty of that you are not? You will come off as petty. Bush will come off as the visionary.

How could you have been deceived by the administration on Iraq? You tout your leadership and foreign policy experience. How could the idea of a government lying systematically about a war not been considered seriously by you, given your experience in Vietnam? How could you not know that Bush was lying even before the invasion?

How do you explain your speech — lies in your speech that were known lies at the time.

You said:

The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War. It has been with us for the last four years — since Saddam Hussein kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors at the end of 1998. And frankly, after Operation Desert Fox failed to force Iraq to readmit inspectors, the United States – and the international community — erred in failing to find effective ways to compel Iraqi compliance, thus giving Saddam Hussein a free hand for four years to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction programs and allowing the world to lose focus on the threat of proliferation.

Can you count the lies here? If anything, Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capability ended with the Gulf War, the exact opposite of what it claimed. Hussein did not "kick out U.N. weapons inspectors at the end of 1998." They were withdrawn by UNSCOM head Richard Butler at the behest of the Clinton administration so it could launch the "Desert Fox" bombing campaign on the eve of Clinton’s scheduled impeachment vote. And "Desert Fox" did not "fail" to achieve Iraqi compliance, it succeeded in destroying UNSCOM. The U.S. government, well before Bush, clearly did not want a successful weapons inspection program. If Saddam could continue verifying his compliance, there would be more pressure to lift the draconian economic sanctions.

How can you talk of the administration rushing to war when you said:

But the Administration missed an opportunity two years ago and particularly a year ago after September 11th to address this issue. They regrettably, even clumsily, complicated their own case. The events of September 11 created a new understanding of the terrorist threat and the degree to which every nation is vulnerable. That understanding enabled the Administration to forge a broad and impressive coalition against terrorism. Had the Administration tried then to capitalize on this unity of spirit to build a coalition to disarm Iraq, we would not be debating this question now, just a few weeks before Congressional elections. The Administration’s decision to engage on this issue now, rather than a year ago or earlier, and the manner in which it engaged has politicized and complicated the national debate and raised questions about the credibility of its case.

So that’s what raises questions about the credibility of the administration — the fact that they leveraged the Iraq invasion for the mid-term elections, not their pattern of lies. Mr. Kerry, you actually fault the administration for not being hawkish enough, for not immediately "capitalizing on" 9-11. It is clear that you merely offer a different flavor of U.S. corporate global control than the Bush administration.

For over a decade, no politician ever lost political ground by attacking Saddam. But you could be the first.

SAM HUSSEINI has put up the web page www.compassroses.com. He can be reached at: sam@accuracy.org

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalences on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Off-Shore Drilling
Lawrence Wittner
Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?