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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

More on Kerry 

Below I posted on the hit Kerry may take trying to explain his vote against (or abstention, I'm not sure) the 1991 Iraq war, and his vote for the 2003 Iraq war. Easterblogg has some thoughts:
KERRY'S WAR VOTES: Why was it "inconsistent" that he voted against the first Iraq war, then voted in favor of the second? Kerry's vote against the first Iraq war might have been a mistake, but this hardly means there were no reasons for such a vote. Here are three bases on which a reasonable person might have voted against the 1991 Gulf War:

1. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait posed no conceivable threat to American national security. 2. Liberating average Kuwaitis was a noble cause; to replace the Emir upon his golden commode was not worth even one American life, and bringing back the Emir and his corrupt cronies was exactly what we did. 3. To the extent the 1991 war was about assuring oil supplies, it is sickening to think the United States government would rather send its finest young men and women to die than raise MPG standards.

By the time of Kerry's vote on the 2003 Iraq war, United States national security had been invoked. Perhaps wrongly so--you may have heard something about whether banned weapons were really there--but an issue nonetheless. And by the time of Kerry's vote on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States had declared a goal of replacing Arab despotism with democracy. We may fail, or it may be none of our business; but the current goal of liberating everyone Iraq from tyranny is a noble goal compared to the 1991 policy of placing everyone in Kuwait back under the boot of a corrupt, inbred family of thieves.

Thus there's nothing inconsistent about Kerry having voted against the 1991 war and for the 2003 war. Add that in 1991, military fiasco was a legitimate concern--Vietnam, Beirut, and other unhappy experiences were fresh in the Senate's mind, and Pentagon leaders were predicting tens of thousands of U.S. casualties. By the moment of the 2003 vote, American armed forces had recently demonstrated several times that they have achieved power, precision, and professionalism without precedent in world history. So, while there was (and still is) a chance of political fiasco around the 2003 invasion, there was little fear of military breakdown. That's the sort of thing that might legitimately change a senator's mind.
I think his is pretty good. Nonetheless, it doesn't save Kerry. Even if this is a 100% perfect explanation, which it is not, I don't think most people really want to hear any of this shit. And certainly the media won't take these explanations seriously--they don't want to spend time re-hashing the reasons to go to war in 1990/1991--people think that was a good and just war, and aren't going to change their mind now.
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