America in November will disappoint the world. We will elect either a war criminal or one of the lawmakers who gave him the power to wage such an unlawful war (i.e. an accomplice). What we now know (and what was assumed by many at the time) about the intelligence employed to justify war in Iraq is staggering. According to Thomas Powers in the New York Review of Books, "It is unlikely that most Americans grasp the magnitude of the failure even now…"
Unfortunately, John Kerry the feeble and uninspiring leader of a party that continues to disappoint, has said little more on this matter than it being the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." He has said nothing of the fact that it was an illegal war made possible by the current administration’s use of what today passes as intelligence.
Is this a convincing approach? Does it mean that Kerry has plans for the right war in the right place at the right time? More important, why is he unwilling to challenge the president’s use of prewar intelligence? As Powers puts it, "Not even the Democratic nominee for president, Senator John Kerry, seems ready to say plainly that this immense mistake–the bloody invasion of Iraq to end threats which have turned out to be entirely imaginary–must properly be tracked to the door of the White House."
Perhaps Kerry feels a tinge of guilt that he did not oppose the war when it meant something and that he failed to question the president’s use of intelligence before the war.
In July, Kerry and Edwards were asked whether they would have voted for the war had they known what they now know about the intelligence used by the Bush administration on the eve of the war.
Mr. Edwards: "I"m not going to go back and answer hypothetical questions about what I would have done had I known this."
Mr. Kerry: "The vote is not today and that’s it. I completely agree with John Edwards." (NY Times 11 July 2004)
It’s nice having someone to agree with especially regarding questions of war, national security, and decisions that affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In short, Kerry is unwilling to say he would have opposed an illegal war. This is nothing short of criminal.
Well, it is campaign season you might allege, and Kerry is worried about nothing more than getting elected. (However, if this is the case it seems he’s not very concerned) So he must support the war at the same time critiquing it without appearing unpatriotic. He must show that he is capable of leading a nation at war (the right one, though) at the same time converting undecided voters unsure that invading Iraq was the right choice.
Why then refuse to condemn a commander in chief and his advisors for their misuse of intelligence?
Plainly, to do so is to oppose the war and the only people who seem to give a damn are the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who protested before the war began because they knew it was not only wrong but also illegal.
But they were ridiculed or used to demonstrate that democracy is flourishing in a country where people have the right to protest. This is why they hate us the president is fond of saying unable to step outside of his armored cavalcade in most European capitals.
The perversity of it all however is that the intelligence was unbelievable before it was "exposed" and reviewed by special committee. This makes the aforementioned question posed to Kerry and Edwards not as hypothetical as they would like it to be. I think this also explains why Americans might be slow in grasping the magnitude of the failure. They already have and they’re comfortable with it. It’s easier to believe in lies perhaps than nothing at all.
ADAM FEDERMAN can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org