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John Kerry’s Iraq Quandary


On September 6, 2002, John Kerry in an op-ed in The New York Times stated that ‘I refuse ever to accept the notion that anything I’ve suggested with respect to Iraq was nuanced. It was clear. It was precise. It was, in fact, prescient. It was ahead of the curve about what the difficulties were. And that is precisely what a president is supposed to be. I think I was right, 100% correct, about how you should have done Iraq.’

A sampling of his prescient remarks:

1990 – “Iraq has developed a chemical weapons capability, and is pursuing a nuclear weapons development program.”  (In 1991 Senator Kerry was in the minority of senators who voted against the Persian Gulf War.)

1997 – “Should the resolve of our allies wane, the United States must not lose its resolve to take action.” He further warned that if Saddam Hussein were not held to account for violation of UN resolutions, some future conflict would have ‘greater consequence.’

1998 – “I think there is a disconnect between the depth of the threat that Saddam Hussein presents to the world and what we are at the moment talking about doing … we have to be prepared to go the full distance, which is to do everything possible to disrupt his regime and to encourage the forces of democracy….

“I am way ahead of the commander in chief, and I’m probably way ahead of my colleagues and certainly of much of the country. But I believe this. I believe that he has used these weapons before. He has invaded another country. He views himself as a modern-day Nebuchadnezzar. He wants to continue to play the uniting critical role in that part of the world. And I think we have to stand up to that.”

2002 – “I would disagree with John McCain that it’s the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it’s what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel.

“Those are the things that – that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat.”

2003 – “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.”

2004 (January) – “Saddam Hussein took us to war once before. In that war, young Americans were killed. He went to war in order to take over the oil fields. It wasn’t just an invasion of Kuwait. He was heading for the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. And that would have had a profound effect on the security of the United States.

“This is a man who has used weapons of mass destruction, unlike other people on this Earth today, not only against other people but against his own people. This is a man who tried to assassinate a former president of the United States, a man who lobbed 36 missiles into Israel in order to destabilize the Middle East, a man who is so capable of miscalculation that he even brought this war on himself. 

“This is a man who, if he was left uncaptured, would have continued to be able to organize the Ba’athists. He would have continued to terrorize the people, just in their minds, because of 30 years of terror in Iraq.”

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On September 6, 2002, John Kerry in an op-ed in The New York Times stated that ‘I refuse ever to accept the notion that anything I’ve suggested with respect to Iraq was nuanced. It was clear. It was precise. It was, in fact, prescient. It was ahead of the curve about what the difficulties were. […]

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