November 02, 2004
John Kerry talks a lot about "outsourcing" the pursuit for Osama bin Laden, and complains that the US shouldn't have attacked Saddam Hussein before bin Laden was captured. But let's see what he was saying in December 2001, when the assault on Tora Bora was at its peak:
BILL O'REILLY: One of the possible Democratic presidential candidates next time around, Senator Joseph Lieberman, told THE FACTOR last week he wants to go in and get Saddam. Joining us now is another possible presidential contender, Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. And do you feel the same way as Joe Lieberman, senator?
JOHN KERRY: Essentially, yes. I’m not sure exactly what Joe means by that, but I think we ought to put the heat on Saddam Hussein. I’ve said that for a number of years, Bill. I criticized the Clinton administration for backing off of the inspections when Ambassador Butler was giving us strong evidence that we needed to continue. I think we need to put the pressure on no matter what the evidence is about September 11. But I think we have to do it in a thoughtful and intelligent way.
O'REILLY: How would you put enough pressure on him to open up inspections again?
KERRY: Well, I’ll reinvigorate that process as step number one, and I think the administration is now suddenly starting to move in that direction. I think you have to work our allies sufficiently to pull that component of the effort back together. But the second thing I would do, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it, is back opposition more openly, and do it in a way that begins to put a counterinsurgency in the country itself.
There are other members of the opposition. There are people who are outside of the country prepared to go in, there are others inside the country. And I believe -- I mean, I was in Safra (ph), I went there when the signing of the armistice took place at the end of the war. And I remember seeing that land, which lent itself, in my judgment, considerably, to the creation of almost an enclave, which I thought we should have done then, and I think is one way to begin to approach things now.
Via Jon Henke, who notes: "Today, John Kerry criticizes Bush for 'divert[ing] critical resources to Iraq' and 'outsourc[ing] the job [of getting Osama Bin Laden] to Afghan warlords'. But, at the very time we were involved in the job of getting Osama Bin Laden, John Kerry was advocating the diversion of resources to Iraq ... in order to outsource a war to Iraqi warlords."
Posted by Tim Blair at November 2, 2004 11:28 AM
The really unfortunate thing about this is that it probably doesn't surprise anybody.
But the second thing I would do, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it, is back opposition more openly, and do it in a way that begins to put a counterinsurgency in the country itself.
The ``and I wouldn't hesitate to do it'' is a hesitation while the predicate is being composed. Time ran out, though, and the predicate wasn't much good ``is back opposition more openly.'' So another predicate was added, ``and do it [it what?] in a way that begins to put a counterinsurgency in the country.''
Not put one in, but begin to put one in.
Not the country, but the country ``itself.''
The guy is composing. It's not supposed to make sense.
The idea is, more or less exactly, ``Iraq, yes, something. Something too.''
Kerry can't think the voters are too stupid to hear and remember that he has taken every position on every issue, so I have to conclude that Kerry is the stupid one here, or he has big memory problems, or both, or those were some really bad drugs.
I'm off to vote when the polls open tomorrow at 7 am then anxiously await the end of this torture. Here's hoping when the dust settles we won' have John Kerry to kick around anymore!
I simply shake my head in utter amazement at just how little scrutiny Kerry has undergone, and how little we really know about him. The fact that he truly is a "say anything" politician is seemingly lost on the general public, and we have the media to thank for it. While CBS were out concocting some wild alegations of favouritism regarding Bush's ANG days (who cares anyway?) the far more interesting (and damaging) story was about Kerry's post-Vietnam activities. I can only imagine what the media would have done had it been Bush that came back and threw his medals away. It really frightens me how far the media has gone out of it's way to be the lapdogs of the Democratic party. The media's bias is becoming a threat to the democratic process. Without an informed electorate, democracy can not function properly.
I'm new to your blog, having just followed the InstaFlood link -- but I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Are you trying to suggest that Kerry is being inconsistent because his position on Iraq has changed over time, or that his old position on Iraq is consistent with what you think Bush et al did in Afghanistan?
Are you saying that the world had not changed between December 2001 and October 2002, and Kerry's argument for counterinsurgency to put pressure in December 2001 is inconsistent with an October 2002 position that the US itself should only war with Saddam Hussein as a last resort? Or are you saying that the corruptible warlords in Afghanistan were no worse than the Iraqi exiles?
It's certainly not clear from the tea leaves of an interview on Bill O'Reilly how it is that you want us to fill in the blanks. I think you're probably better off by reading what Kerry said about the vote to authorize force and leave it at that...
Unless you can make your point more clearly.
He supported outsourcing before he opposed it. I wonder what he uses for a backbone ? Wire hangers are series of water filled bladders.
Alien Grey, if that's the point, it's easy to argue against. One, the parties in Afghanistan were different from those in Iraq. And two (and this is a biggie), Knight-Ridder reported this weekend that reporters who were there in Afghanistan recollect that "Franks and other top officials" ignored warnings about the corruptibility of the warlords. (See the article here.) Kerry was not on the Senate Intelligence Committee at that point, and probably wasn't privy to all that "Franks and other top officials" were being warned about. Thus, his position then wasn't an informed position.
In all these examinations, you have to put Kerry's information in context. All claims that Kerry had access to the same intelligence that Bush saw are pretty flimsy, when you remember that Bush was receiving daily intelligence briefs, and that the Senate Intelligence Committee couldn't share much.
(I think I have the dates of Kerry's term on the Senate Intelligence Committee correct -- I think he moved to Foreign Relations in early 2001. But if I'm wrong I'll admit it and stand corrected.)
In all these examinations, you have to put Kerry's information in context.
You know, that's actually the big reason Kerry is being blasted over this. He never puts anything in context. Have you ever heard him acknowledge that his opinion-of-the-day actually isn't the same as his opinion-of-yesterday? No, he just glosses over that inconvenient fact, because he simply assumes that nobody remembers what he said before. (And the media covers for him.)
Before I give Kerry the benefit of the doubt that his, umm, "evolving" opinions are deserving of being put into proper context, I expect him to do the same. They're his opinions, after all, and "Hey, you voters! You try figure out what I'm really meaning to say, because I can't be bothered to" isn't an especially strong selling point for a politician. That Kerry supporters are willing to continuously fill in the blanks for their candidate is admirable, but really just highlights what a piss-poor candidate he is in the first place.
PW, we all change our opinions over time. Do you always add the footnotes when you speak to people who engage you on a topic for the first time? And would you do it in a debate where you're limited to a 90-seconds? And how does Bush favor on this bar? Has he ever explained his flip-flops on his resistence/support of the 9/11 Commission, his resistence/support of the Department of Homeland Security, his resistence/support of the committee to investigate the WMD intelligence?
How can anyone understand what Kerry is saying here? Did he advocate creating "almost enclaves" or something? The above is nonsensical.
Ron, PW, and others are right- Kerry's manner of speaking is the ultimate pol-speak designed to fill the void, position oneself flexibly and commit to nothing. I'll take Bush's simple and sometimes garbled syntax over this, any day.
Yeah, plain speaking is preferred, but I don't think Tim was concerned with clarity.
Bush was right in his position of the 9/11 Commission. He felt it would devolve into a political kangaroo court and possibly devulge state secrets. Guess what? It did devolve into just that, a partisan dog and pony show which did little in the way of uncovering new info and assigned blame to everyone. Woohoo, I feel safer.
And Bush was also right on DoHS, that job needed to be above union swabbling. If we allow labor contracts to get in the way of our national defense, we're idiots.
And for someone who calls these flip-flops, what the hell do you call the "I'm the Antiwar Candidate"-"I would ahve voted the same way now"-"Saddam might not necessarily be in power" tract of John Kerry? Or the I voted to amend a bill then claimed I voted for it before I voted against it. Or the numerous other positions he's held.
Mike, I'd like to hear more about why you think it was a political kangaroo court; I'll agree that some hearings were contentious, but since nobody was "on trial" or has been sentenced to anything, I guess I just need to hear more from you before repsonding to a charge which hasn't been fully expressed.
Bush's initial arguments agains the DoHS had nothing to do with union arguments. That came later.
RE Kerry, his "I would have voted the same way" will require some time on your part. If you're willing to invest it, I recommend you start with the statements he made when he voted to authorize force, and also what Bush was saying at the time. In brief, Bush positioned the authorization as part of an effort to get the inspectors in, not to declare war; but in order to get the inspectors in, he felt he needed it known that he had the force card in his hand. Kerry's position has always been that war is a last resort and that we needed to get the inspectors in. Based on the intelligence he had, he agreed that Saddam was a threat, but disagreed with how Bush responded to it.
Now, as for the "I was for it before I was against it" thing (which is what I think you mean by the amendment?) Bush was against it before he was for it, did you know that? Yes, Bush threatened to veto an $87 billion bill to support the troops. And yet, there's nothing complex about supporting our troops, right? Well, it turns out that there were two versions of the $87 billion support bill. Both Bush and Kerry were in favor of supporting the troops, but they differed in how to fund the small portion of that bill which was for Iraqi reconstruction. Bush wanted it funded outrightly, and Kerry either wanted to fund it by recalling the tax breaks to the "rich" or as loans (I'm not sure which). But Bush wanted to veto the bill if it wasn't his way. (Read more on Bush's threatened veto of "troop support" here and here.)
There is more complexity to politics than the President wants to allow, I'm afraid. If you plan on voting tomorrow (and I hope you do, one way or the other, because democracy works better when more are heard), I hope you'll remember these points, even if they don't sway you.
Oh, and I don't mean to act like some obsessive whacko who always has an answer for anything you might pose, but as for these issues, I have a set of links to major Iraq statements by Bush and Kerry in the left margin of my blog, as well as all the debates. Were the topic to be the environment or BCCI, I'd have to dig to come up with relevant links just like anyone else would have to.
Kerry: ...the second thing I would do, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it, is back opposition more openly, and do it in a way that begins to put a counterinsurgency in the country itself.
Here I think Kerry is talking about instigating voter fraud in Florida and Ohio.
Someday when you understand the phrase "We are at war with Eastasia, we have always been at war with Eastasia," you will understand Kerry, Kerry's worldview and Kerry's supporters.
Perfectsense, I do understand that reference, just like others such as "The Ministry of Information."
Frank, I'll think you'll find that most of us are aware of Kerry's reasons for "voting for it before he voted against it": that repealing tax breaks is more important than reconstructing a country we've invaded/funding our troops in the field. And I can't say I'm upset with with Bush's veto threat. Democratic lawmakers were trying to saddle Iraq with loans to pay us back for our invasion of their country. It damn well should've been Bush's way. Unless the Pottery Barn rule is now "You break it, you fix it, you send the owners of the Pottery Barn an bill for parts and labor."
Dorkafork, just to remind, Mike asked me to explain it as if he didn't know the details. And as for anyone being upset about Bush's threatened veto, I would expect that of anyone: there are political philosophical differences in this world. So far as I know I haven't jumped down anyone's throat over Bush's threatened veto, but I do think his oversimplification of the issue and its differences (as if Kerry doesn't support the troops) is reprehensible and an insult to the democratic process.
I mistyped, sorry, I meant that I don't expect anyone in advance to be upset at Bush's veto.
There is more complexity to politics than the President wants to allow, I'm afraid.
I'm afraid that Kerry is so "complex" that nobody really knows what he stands for. Why are even Democrats confused on what he would do about Iraq and more? Some are convinced he'll pull out soon on a good pretext. Others think he'd stay in but hand over to the UN as soon as possible. Still others are convinced Kerry should have a go as President so that he and other Dems will "take responsibility" for Iraq and our national security. What in heaven's name does that mean? Nobody knows.
Are we all just too simple to understand Kerry-speak? I don't think even our enemies know precisely what Kerry stands for, but they support him, anyway, because of some vague idea he can be talked into anything if it's labelled nuanced, ideologically sensitive, multicultural, multilateral and transnationally progressive. In other words, appeasing and not necessarily in US interests---
Why are so many Republicans confused about Iraq, and think we found WMDs there? Have you seen the latest PIPA study, charlotte?
Different topic, Frank. Is that an answer as to what Kerry will do about Iraq and our national security? Anyway, Kerry, leading Democrats, and even France and Germany have said over the years and up to the beginning of the war that Saddam had WMD. Remember how the Dems tried to scare us out of military action by saying Saddam would use them against our troops? I do, even if you don't.
Last week the NYT reported that 380 tons of nuclear triggers were missing in Iraq - and it was Bush's fault. So were Kerry and the NYT were lying last week about the great danger these nuclear triggers posed to America? The nuclear triggers weren't WMD as implied in the frantic NYT headlines and Kerry speeches?
I'm going to be very angry if President Kerry doesn't immediately invade Pakistan with a hundred thousand troops and hunt down Osama wherever he's hiding in Waziristan.
And Frank, you're not helping your candidate here. You're sounding as big a waffler and butt-coverer as Kerry is.
You're sounding as big a waffler and butt-coverer as Kerry is.
No one could be that bad.
Frank, it seems to me that you are trying to be reasonable, but you are taking Senator Kerry's side in the process. Maybe not entirely, but that's the way you are leaning.
Bush has been wrong on several points, and I don't agree with all his decisions, but he has fairly clear goals, and definite plans. The prime example is his global war on terrorism. The Iraq invasion/occupation has not been a cakewalk, and we have many problems there, but President Bush has stayed the course. He remains committed to this plan, and he communicates those plans clearly. What is in contention are his assumptions and facts (and toss in a lot of 20/20 hindsight).
Senator Kerry, on the other hand, has yet to follow a consistent plan for this campaign, let along communicate it. Senator Kerry supported the war until he saw Howard Dean's results, and copied him. He has openly stated, on several occasions, that he supported invading Iraq. On other occasions, he decried the invasion and occupation. Perhaps all of this is just an inability to speak clearly. But that's how he comes across to me.
President Bush also has executive experience as a state governor, and his current term. Senator Kerry, OTOH, has effectively zero executive experience, and a dismal senatorial record. This says nothing about his post-Vietnam activities, which should speak volumes for the man's character.
In my mind, it comes down to this: I prefer a leader that makes and executes an imperfect plan in a decisive manner, adjusting it as necessary.
This is opposed to a leader that can't communicate his intentions and vision clearly, or doesn't have a plan at all. Or if he does, it's a near clone of his opponents, with details to come later. (That, BTW, is where we see his waffling)
President Bush, for all his faults, is a decisive leader that stays the course. Senator Kerry is a divisive leader with few positive aspects of his character and record.
That's why I voted for President Bush.
I don't understand why you give Frank the time of day. He's an obvious troll.
Yeah, but Frank's a polite one, even if his bias is obvious. At least we aren't being cursed at like some twits I could mention.
And he tests our resolve on the day before the elections. My UberMaster, Karl Rove, must not be disappointed!
I just hope Karl sends that check soon, I have bills to pay.....
BTW - What happens to all the Moonbats after tomorrow is over. Do they decend into one of the lower rings of Hell, only to reemerge in 30 months to once again attack the electoral process. They are like the crowd characters in Night of the Living Dead, more destructive and vicious each time they rise from the grave for the next election cycle.
All is not lost.
kerry's indecisiveness may yet result in him outsourcing the Presidency if elected.
Good morning, all. No matter what happens today, God help America, we could use it.
Charlotte: my response regarding the PIPA study was meant to point out that we live in an imperfect world where people don't have perfect information, and even in cases of objectively verifiable facts, people will hold beliefs which don't mirror the truth. Thus, pointing out that different Democrats think Kerry will act differently towards Iraq is not, in itself, an argument that Kerry has been unclear. If, however, you can find recent statements where he's suggested different policies, I'd consider that concrete evidence.
Perfectsense: lots of weapons represent great dangers, but they're not all considered WMD. Neither the NYT nor Kerry (nor the IAEA, nor the US Government) were lying about this. If the US government considered it WMD, I assure you they'd have taken the KSTP footage (as well as the IAEA letter about their absence) as evidence that WMD were there. But not even David Kay has taken this position. I gather that the potential for blowing up an airplane is not "mass" enough to qualify for the M in WMD.
The Reall JeffS: I wasn't sure whether or not I should even spend time thinking about your response, from they way you started. You sound as if you don't think it's possible that a "reasonable" person could support John Kerry. That's very intolerant of you. Regarding your basic point that Kerry has been inconsistent regarding Iraq, you have to remember that he never "had access to the same intelligence" as Bush claims. Kerry's vote of an authorization to use force - - read what he said here - - was done to get inspectors on the ground. As Bush himself said about the resolution, it was intended to keep the peace. Yes, Kerry has said he was a threat, but he has always disagreed with the President's actions in response to that threat.
As to whether or not Bush can communicate his intentions clearly, perhaps you can tell me his position on how the Social Security cash flows for senior benefits will be maintained once he creates individualized savings accounts for younger workers? Under the current design, younger workers' contributions fund seniors' benefits. So far as I know Bush has not said how he'll do this, and even Republican talking heads have concurred. So, in my view Bush is playing a shell game on this issue, and I think you need to be careful about how sweeping you are when you talk about candidates who speak clearly. Bush does speak clearly, but he oversimplifies as he does, and thus his "clear" statements don't pass muster.
Michael Gill and JeffS: are people who disagree automatically considered trolls? Have you ghetto-ized yourselves that much, that a different opinion automatically merits this idea? What kind of political discourse do you want this country to have? I fear you have totalitarian leanings! :-) Seriously, if you want a troll, a troll is more like the guy I used to have on my site who opened his comments by calling people idiots and morons and didn't address what people said. THAT's a troll. As for me, I just disagree, and I don't think I deserve a pejorative characterization.
Like I said at the outset, no matter what happens today, God help America: we can sure use his help.
In the NY Times Saturday David Brooks wrote that John Kerry on the Larry King Live show in December 2001 stated that Kerry approved of the way General Tommy Franks conducted the operation in Tora Bora.
Later that day on the Capital Report they played the interview from the Larry King Live show and Kerry did in fact approve of the utilization of Afghans along with our Special Forces in Tora Bora. He said it saved American lives.
In his stump speeches he now claims that Bush "outsourced" the job.
Is this a flip-flop and why haven't the media called him on it?
Mike H, so far as I know Kerry has never reversed course on whether or not outsourcing saved American lives. But in the 2001 Larry King interview, he certainly wasn't aware that warlords had been corrupted (the interview took place on December 14, 2001; if OBL was really in Tora Bora, he was gone by then; you can read the full transcript here).
So Kerry has experience on his side when he argues against outsourcing now, and ignorance working against him when he was on Larry King.
I'm not sure that we can say Bush was ignorant of the issues in 2001. This past weekend Knight-Ridder ran a report based on discussions with reporters who had been in Tora Bora (see the article here.) The article states that...
Their reporting found that Franks and other top officials ignored warnings from their own and allied military and intelligence officers that the combination of precision bombing, special operations forces and Afghan forces that had driven the Taliban from northern Afghanistan might not work in the heartland of the country's dominant Pashtun tribe.
While more than 1,200 U.S. Marines sat at an abandoned air base in the desert 80 miles away, Franks and other commanders relied on three Afghan warlords and a small number of American, British and Australian special forces to stop al-Qaida and Taliban fighters from escaping across the mountains into Pakistan.
"We did rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora...," [Tommy] Franks wrote.
Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing - leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.
At this time, Kerry was no longer on the Senate Intelligence Committee (he had moved to Foreign Relations at the beginning of the year) and I doubt he was privy to these warnings. Whether or not Bush was among the "other top officials" who were warned is questionable, but you have to believe Rumsfeld was since Franks reported in to him; the President is just one level above Rumsfeld.
(It's a good article to read, by the way: the sums that the warlords were paid were quite hefty, and there were about a thousand al Qaeda fighters who got through the net.)
"PW, we all change our opinions over time."
Yes, but it's not a sign of moral courage to do so for purely political reasons. Strategy and procedural details can be changed, no argument there. But Kerry changes not just the detail, but his principles when it helps him politically. In fact, he is doing so now. He has portrayed himself as far more conservative than his records says he is, so either he is lying or he has changed his principles. Clearly, Bush would rather be un-elected than re-elected than compromise on his principles. Love it or hate it, you know where Bush stands.
You have to be careful even when you say Kerry is "more liberal" than what he says, though. Because the RNC has been fond of sending out a rating based on just thus year's voting -- when he has many absences. When you open up the time period he becomes less liberal than that rating implies.
This is not spin -- it's context.
Do I really know where Bush stands? No, I don't. I don't really think he's as single-minded about fighting terrorism as he'd have us believe, because he pursued tax cuts for those who don't really need them at the cost of greater port security; because he flip-flopped on steel tarriffs; because he comes out against admission programs like they had at Michigan, then lets his counsel pursue a softer line in the Supreme Court; because he talks about billions for AIDS medications for Africa in his SOTU and then doesn't see that the money gets used; because he puts through programs with misleading names like "The Clear Skies Initiative." I could go on. Actually, I think I do know what he stands for, the problem is that he tries to cast it otherwise.
I'm sorry, Frank, I've read all your comments here and I have yet to see one that can't be boiled down to "I know Kerry blah blah but so does Bush so there!" Well obviously Bush is not a political innocent. No one here said he was. At this point, you're just arguing for the sake of arguing, and as I see you have your own website I suggest you tend to it instead of lecturing others.
When you won't shut up it is.
John Kerry was assigned to the Foreign Relations Committee. John Edwards was assigned to the Intelligence Committee. Between the two of them they should of had access to all of the intelligence information that was needed to make an informed opinion.
There problem is that they failed to attend the vast bulk of the meetings of these committees. It is their own negligence that led to their uniformed votes.
It is my own opinion that are critical of President Bush for their own political purposes.
You keep using the word context and I see that as an apt argument. Here is my context on the two main hopefulls:
I can see what George Bush has done over the last 4 years. He said he would go after terrorists and those that can aid them. This he has done. America has enemies that she needs to get out of the way to continue this fight. One happened to be Iraq or rather Saddam. After doing everything that was asked of him by the Democrats he went in a removed a threat. We can argue about WMDs and whatnot but I feel that this did strengthen the United States.
John Kerry has been in the senant for 19 years without definition. We have voting records (my context for him) that show him both liberal, and not present to fulfil his elected job. Not very encouraging to me. Mr. Kerry has also defined himself earlier by both fighting in and protesting against Vietnam. I see this as a net zero on his patriotism. My context here is that he was using people's disgust of the war as a way to gain him political points.
Our argument here is about outsoursing. George Bush has used and not used outsourcing in a manner that I am happy with.
Kerry says that he would have done it differently.
I can disagree with carry based on this context.
I appreciate that you are very kind in your dessent.
Er, make that Kerry there towards the end. Dang my public school education.
My gosh. Frank here is doing the right thing -- he is making the journey that few make, to read the "other side" and engage in a reasoned discussion on the issues. I read through this thread. Was he persistent? Yes. A troll? Hardly. So why did you ban him?. Do you really only want to hear "yes"?
God help us all.
Even though I don't agree with many of Frank's arguments, I have to agree that banning him is wrong.
If you don't like his lectures, ignore him.
When you think he's wrong, refute him.
I'll agree he seems to approach everything from a leftist anti-globo perspective, but when it's presented rationally we should at least listen, so we know how the other side is making its case.
You'll probably never change his mind with your arguments, but it will make you sharper, and it may bring the open minded over to your side. Showing that you're close-minded won't.
Banning Frank? Over what he posted? Wow, that portends well for consolidation.
If you like Bush so much in Australia, come to the US and really feel what it's like.