Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Kerry interview on Iraq

So, watch and learn as Kerry squirms as he gets asked real questions about whether the Iraq war was worth it. At this rate, hes got time to change his mind three or four more times come election day... (transcript from PoliPundit)

DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?

JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today.

DS: So it was not worth it.

JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that depends on the leadership. And we need better leadership to get the job done successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American people — plain and simple. Bottom line.

DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?

JK: No.

DS: But right now it wasn’t [ … ? … ]–

JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that we’ve done what he’s — I mean look — we have to succeed. But was it worth — as you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? That’s the question. The test of the presidency was whether or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.

DS: But no way to get rid of him.

JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.

DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .

JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Diane Sawyer doesn't seem like an interview to strike fear into the heart of presidential candidates...

2 Comments:

At 9/30/2004 4:45 PM, Blogger David Schraub said...

What does this Q+A prove? That Kerry's an inarticulate politician who still can't coherently explain his Iraq position? Sure. But does it show he's a flipflopper? I'm not convinced.

Cutting through the convulsions, here's what I get out of the answers.

"DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?

JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today."

Translation: This answer doesn't answer the question. We shouldn't have gone originally has nothing to do with whether or not its worthwhile today.

"DS: So it was not worth it.

JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that depends on the leadership. And we need better leadership to get the job done successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American people — plain and simple. Bottom line.

DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?

JK: No.

DS: But right now it wasn’t [ … ? … ]–

JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that we’ve done what he’s — I mean look — we have to succeed. But was it worth — as you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? That’s the question. The test of the presidency was whether or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein."

Translation: Again he's trying to dodge, but I think this a fair dodge because the question misses the point and is a gross oversimplification of the issue. Whether on not its "worth" it is irrelevant at this point, though we now know we probably shouldn't have gone in (at least according to Kerry). What is important is that now that we're there, we win. But saying we have to win now is different from claiming that we should have gone originally.

"DS: But no way to get rid of him.

JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.

DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .

JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here."
Translation: Basic oppurtunity cost. Its great that we got Saddam out of power. Its NOT great what we sacrificed to do it. THAT'S a simple concept.

The reason that the GOP is trying to tag Kerry as a flipflopper (and lord knows Kerry is making their job WAY too easy) is that Kerry refuses to give one answer to very different questions. Whether we should have gone into Iraq, whether we should have gone into Iraq in the manner that Bush did, whether Bush was honest with us in selling the war, and what we need to do now that we're there are all very different questions that mandate different answers. If I may hazard a guess on where Kerry falls on each, its no, hell no, definitely not, and we need to be resolute and win the damn war, respectively. At best, only the first one is up in the air, and its the least important to where we go as a nation later. In all the rest, Kerry has stayed quite consistent (indeed, he's put forward a more coherent plan for winning the war than Bush has).

 
At 10/01/2004 3:59 PM, Blogger Randomscrub said...

John Kerry, 7/29/02:
I agree completely with this Administration's goal of a regime change in Iraq...

John Kerry, 9/6/02, OpEd in the NY Times:
If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement... even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act.

It is more than just a little different from "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Make no mistake, Kerry had been pushing hard for Saddam's removal. He may disagree with the execution, but there is no way he can honestly claim that he disagreed with going originally.

Your comment:
DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .

JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here."
Translation: Basic oppurtunity cost. Its great that we got Saddam out of power. Its NOT great what we sacrificed to do it. THAT'S a simple concept.


Kerry implied with his previous comment that a stable Iraq under Saddam was preferable to the current situation, opportunity cost included. That you are right on. But then Kerry says that "No, I would not prefer that." He is having it both ways. He needs to choose either A) Iraq with Saddam is preferable to getting where we are now at so high a cost OR B) Iraq is better without Saddam, the way we did it. He tends toward option A because it is a good position, but whenever he is asked if he would prefer Saddam were still there and the war had never happened, he consistently shies away from being, well, consistent.

 

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