The wrong Kerrey

Byline: | Category: 2008 Presidential Election, Foreign Policy, Iraq | Posted at: Tuesday, 22 May 2007

If Democrats had nominated the other Senator Kerrey in 2004, they might already control the White House. 

From Senator Bob Kerrey in today’s Wall Street Journal:

No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.

Kerrey also adds this important caution I find timely as in just the last two weeks I’ve seen more and more of those green ”Not on Our Watch” yards signs sponsored by SaveDarfur.org:

The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.

Kerrey then unites Iraq and liberal humanitarianism:

Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn’t you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.

Senator Kerrey’s (Bob, not John) voice is the first realistic Democratic foreign policy message I’ve heard since the Party ousted Joe Lieberman last summer. 

Mickey Kaus (scroll down to April 27) was right when he said that the Democratic debate would benefit from a “conservative dark horse who can sharpen the debate from the right the way Kucinich sharpened it from the left.”

Instead of Zell, why not another Kerrey?

Read the whole thing.

(ht:GR)

UPDATE:

Contra my previous assertion that having ten candidates on the stage dilutes a debate, apparently Ron Paul is having a necessary and clarifying effect on the GOP nominating process.  In spite of his large internet presence and his nationally televised appearances during two debates so far, he has drawn zero support.  That’s worth knowing.

I suspect, on the other hand, that Bob Kerrey’s position would find more than zero support among Democrats, presumably some of whom believe that while Bush wasn’t wrong, he’s managed the war wrongly.  Right now, the national Democratic leadership doesn’t know the percentage of Democratic voters alienated by a lack of foreign policy options among the field of presidential candidates.  Now would be a good time to find out how large that bloc of unhappy Democrats is.

ALSO:  There’s some question over this statement by Sen. Kerrey:

Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before.

Iraq wasn’t any larger a “national security risk” on September 12th than it was on September 10th.  What changed was not Iraq but us, when we realized that the confluence of tyranny, terrorism, and WMDs made it a larger threat than we had previously realized.

Ironic that Sen. Kerrey himself “poorly chose” his words to describe his position.

2nd UPDATE:

. . . former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey says that the war in Iraq is central to the war against Islamic terrorism and the media apparently responds with deafening silence.

Instead of jumping to the conclusion that the differing treatments are indicative of media bias, might it be dog bites man?  Perhaps the existence of pro-war Democrats is more common than anti-war Republicans, and that’s why it’s not news.

More.

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11 Responses to “The wrong Kerrey”

  1. brittney Says:

    *Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11*

    Senator Kerrey seems confused about who attacked us. Not surprising, considering.

  2. who's confused? Says:

    Brittney,

    “This does not mean that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; he was not.”

    Tip: Actual, vs. virtual reading helps avoid confusion. Try it.

  3. brittney Says:

    I did not read the article linked, you are correct. I read *this* post in full, hence my mistake.

  4. Omar Aksa Says:

    You didn’t read it very carefully, Brittney. “Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before.” isn’t the same as “Saddam was responsible for 9/11.”

    Your inability to distinguish the two points speaks poorly of your understanding.

  5. DR Says:

    Apparently I don’t have poor reading and understanding skills as well.

    Can somebody explain to me why Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before?

  6. bob Says:

    While I agree with Bob Kerrey, I think he misstated his intent on this question.

    Iraq wasn’t any larger a “national security risk” on September 12th than it was on September 10th. What changed was that we realized that the confluence of tyranny, terrorism, and WMDs made it a larger threat than we had previously realized.

  7. brittney Says:

    *You didn’t read it very carefully, Brittney. “Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before.” isn’t the same as “Saddam was responsible for 9/11.”*

    Care to explain how? Or is it more satisfying and easy to patronize?

  8. Sean Braisted Says:

    Bob,

    While I think there are a good chunk of Democrats who don’t think that immediate withdrawal is the best course of action; I don’t think there is a large glut of Democrats who think that the invasion of Iraq, in hindsight, was a good idea.

    There is a difference between stepping into a crisis once it has started, and starting the crisis. Could Saddam have been overthrown by Shiites and Sunnis internally? Sure, but who the heck knows how it would’ve turned out.

    Have we involved ourselves in every civil war in the world? Certainly not…and I’m not sure there are many voters out there who think America needs to involve itself in every single civil war in the world. There are some situations where a genocide is taking place where we feel that it is necessary to balance the equation; I’m not sure if Iraq is the same type of situation. Yes, there are ethnic killings, but I don’t think there is the kind of one-sided slaughtering seen in Darfur or Kosovo.

    Bob Kerrey’s voice is welcome in the Democratic party. If he wants to run for the nomination, so be it…it would be interested to hear him. Would he gain much traction? Probably not…there is a top-tier in the Democratic party just like there is in the Republican party. Ron Paul’s intellectual honesty and passion for the constitution is clearly not popular in a Republican party taken over by Right-wing Nationalists who think objective thinking is akin to treason. However, I’m sure there are many more Republicans who agree with him than the polls would indicate…unfortunately (or fortunately) many of those people have the left the Republican party over the past 2-4 years, and so they aren’t reflected in the polls.

  9. slick Says:

    “However, I’m sure there are many more Republicans who agree with him than the polls would indicate…unfortunately (or fortunately) many of those people have the left the Republican party over the past 2-4 years, and so they aren’t reflected in the polls.

    This is both illogical and delusional – based on nothing but your fantasy.

    However much you might like or agree with Paul, the *REALITY* is that he’s totally off the radar as far as Republicans (and independents) are concerned.

  10. Alexander Perry Says:

    On September 13, 2002, just as Congress was debating whether to approve a resolution providing President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

    “The real choice is between sustaining a military effort designed to contain Saddam Hussein and a military effort designed to replace him. In my mind the case for the second choice is overwhelming. … Regime change is the only way we can safely reduce our military commitment to the region.”

    In calling for regime change, Kerrey displayed an inability to comprehend the predictable chaos that would ensue. The intelligence community warned the Bush administration in January 2003 that regime change “would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict.”

    In December 2003, an undeterred Kerrey claimed that he had been vindicated and Iraq war critics would ultimately be proven wrong. “Twenty years from now, we’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says it wasn’t worth the effort,” he wrote.

    Today, Bob Kerrey (D-NE), unrepentant over his failed Iraq war predictions, returns to the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to blast “American liberals.” In making his argument that democracy can indeed be imposed by military force (apparently by overlooking the Iraq war), Kerrey writes:

    “American liberals need to face these truths … [A] unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory.”

    Perhaps he should have thought about that before advocating regime change as “the only way” to “safely reduce our military commitment to the region.” By staying in Iraq as an occupying force, the U.S. is helping inflame the terrorist movement. But Bob Kerrey has never understood that from the beginning, so why would he understand that now?

  11. Jim C. Says:

    Sean Braisted Says: “However, I’m sure there are many more Republicans who agree with him than the polls would indicate…unfortunately (or fortunately) many of those people have the left the Republican party over the past 2-4 years, and so they aren’t reflected in the polls.”

    1. If you’re sure, present the compelling evidence for your position. If none, how can you call yourself “sure”?

    2. If they’ve left the Republican party, why should they be reflected in a poll of Republicans? Your statement simply makes no sense.