By Anthony Wade
As the glow fades from the second presidential debate, where John Kerry once again appeared more presidential, we must turn our attention to the stretch run and ensure that the Bush Cabal does not use clever catch phrases and non-substantive arguments to sway opinion. Coming out of Missouri , we see the tag line of choice down the stretch from Bush will be that Kerry can “run but he can’t hide” from his record.
This strategy has two prongs. One, it allows Bush to distort Kerry’s record hoping people will not be able to discern the spin before the elections. Two, and more important, is that Bush is using this strategy to try and make this election about Kerry’s record instead of what it should be about, Bush’s record. In essence, Bush is running and hiding from his own record by saying Kerry is running and hiding from his. We must be vigilant to make sure that we do not fall for this baseless form of propaganda and hold this president accountable for his horrific record the past four years.
The Kerry Record
I am not suggesting that Kerry’s record is somehow not relevant to the election process. I am suggesting however, that the Bush record is far more important as he has already had four years as president to convince us that he knows what he is doing. This new strategy belies the fact that George W. Bush cannot possibly run on his record, so he wants to make the issue Kerry’s record.
We see today the lies continue on the campaign trail. While campaigning Bush said, “With a straight face, he (Kerry) said, 'I only had one position on Iraq , he must think we've been on another planet. In the spring of 2003 as I ordered the invasion of Iraq , Sen. Kerry said it was the right decision. Now he says it's the wrong war. And he's trying to tell us he's had only one position. Who is he trying to kid? He can run, but he cannot hide."
Of course this is absolutely silly. Bush is comparing two statements separated by a year and omitting everything that actually happened during that year. For all of those who still get confused with all the dissembling by Bush allow me to show you how Kerry has been far more consistent than Bush.
John Kerry has always said that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He said it in the 1990s when Bush was still in Texas . When Bush was rushing our kids to die in the desert, he used intelligence from his own secret cell in the Pentagon called the Office of Special Plans. This cell led by noted neocon, Douglas Feith, who had been called by General Tommy Franks the dumbest man on the planet, was put in place by Bush for the express purpose of cooking intelligence against Iraq so Bush could convince you and me of the legitimacy of this war. So Kerry did look at this intelligence and supported the VOTE TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT THE AUTHORITY TO WAGE WAR IF NECESSARY. Bush runs around telling you that Kerry voted for the WAR. That is a lie. He voted to give the president the authority to seek a military solution, but only if certain thresholds were met. I beg anyone who has truly bought the Bush lie about Kerry’s changing positions to read the speech Kerry gave at this link:
This was the speech he gave on the senate floor BEFORE he cast that vote to give the president the power to wage war. No honest person can read this and conclude anything other than Senator Kerry being extremely consistent on this issue. I will reproduce the following statements from this speech here:
"Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days--to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.If we do wind up going to war with Iraq , it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent--and I emphasize "imminent"--threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs."
John Kerry has been very consistent. He said before he cast his vote that Bush had to meet certain criteria before going to war and Bush promised you, me, and Congress that he would. He lied and now our kids have died. His coalition is NOT representative of the international community. He has constantly snubbed his nose at nations that used to look up to us for leadership. We have 150,000 troops in Iraq and the NEXT largest contingent is Great Britain , who has 8,300. 85% of the coalition countries have 300 or less troops. How in the world is that fair? How is that a true coalition? It is not denigrating these countries to point out that they are truly not contributing to the cause. Last night Bush bullied the moderator to break the rules so he could try and make it seem that Kerry was demeaning the efforts of our coalition partners. The obvious fact when you look at the numbers listed above is that Bush put a coalition together in name only, so he can say he went in with the world. These countries are not partners, they are silent partners. The second threshold not met by Bush, which represents another broken promise is that inspections and sanctions were supposed to be given a fair opportunity to work before having to resort to war. Bush lied about this and rushed this country to war. His defense ever since was this litany of lies about how Saddam was deceiving the inspectors and how sanctions were not working. After the Duelfer report we now know that not only had Saddam disarmed, he disarmed a long long time ago. This means that the sanctions, which Bush STILL lies about in saying they were not working, had indeed worked before Bush even came into office.
Once these crucial thresholds were not met Kerry correctly pointed out that this is the wrong war. It was wrong because the rationale, the basis, the REASON we went in has now been proven to be a lie. You cannot support Bush’s Machiavellian excuse of, “isn’t the world better off without Saddam”. That is not the point. We live in a representative democracy. If we allow these types of rationales then we have abandoned democracy. This is the record of George W. Bush, he wants to run from it, but he cannot hide.
Hide and Seek
John Kerry said Bush could have the war powers if he brought in a true international effort, and he did not. John Kerry said that Bush could have the war powers if he exhausted all UN sanctions and inspections, and he did not. George Bush said Saddam has weapons, weapons, weapons. The following year that morphed into the capability to contemplate the possibility of maybe one day considering to pursue weapons-related thingys, perhaps. Then when confronted with the harsh reality that all of this was lies, he comes to us again, refuses to admit he has made a mistake and has the nerve to say that John Kerry can run from his record but he can’t hide. To use his own words, what planet is he on???
John Kerry has been consistent on his beliefs about Saddam and about how the war should have been managed. He has been consistent about how it needs to be managed from here forward. Last night Bush was asked to name three mistakes he has made in four years. Bush looked in the camera and could not name one. All he has left is clever catch phrases designed to cover up his own horrific record of flip-flopping on a subject that has killed over 1000 American soldiers. He says that you can run from your record but you cannot hide. I agree and it is time for him to look in the mirror.
Anthony Wade is co-administrator of www.ibtp.org, a website devoted to educating the populace to the ongoing lies of President George W. Bush and seeking his removal from office.