The argument (straight out of Karl Rove's playbook) has been floating around for a month of Sundays. In total, it amounts to a good sound-bite: "John Kerry is a flip-flopper on Iraq". Dont get me wrong, sound-bites sell advertising (see: Janet Jackson's titty TV week on Fox), but theres always more to the story. So allow me to finally flush this floater for good.
The Kerry flip-flop argument is extremely flawed. Heres why:
1.) Ultimate Responsibility. This argument denies the accountability of George W Bush as the ultimate decision maker (commander in chief), and tries to throw the blame onto Congress - and John Kerry - for approving W's "use of force". John Kerry is not responsible for Bush's mishandling of the conflict. Only GEORGE WALKER BUSH is responsible for:
A.) Going into a full-blown invasion and occupation of a soveriegn country with a slapped-together weak coalition that wouldnt put a boot on the ground, a dime in the cophers, and would run at the first sign of trouble.
B.) Making damn sure that there was some sort of Exit Strategy (see: the Powell Doctrine ). In fact, Bush doesnt even have an Exit Strategy now!!! I think "staying the course" is all we've recieved so far.
C.) Convincing the Iraqis that they were being "liberated" and not "occupied", and not just convincing the Americans that the Iraqis were being "liberated" and not "occupied".
Face facts: after a while, the buck must stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
2.) "Use of force" misconception. Alluded to above, the idea that "use of force" is synonomous with "full-blown invasion and occupation of a soveriegn nation" is 100% pure SPIN. During the congressional debates over this, yours truly thought it would be a good idea (with John Kerry) to approve "use of force" power against Saddam. I saw it as a useful tool to push Saddam back into the bargaining table regarding inspections regime. When Colin Powell was flashing his fancy arial photos of WMD's in front of the UN, I even mentioned:
"Why the hell are these installations NOT in the crosshairs of a fucking cruise-missile at this very moment!" (which started me doubting the WMD claims from the very beginning)
In other words, "Use of force" could entail a whole laundry list of options and choices of how to deal with Saddam: Drone missile attacks of Terrorists & WMD installations (which we have since used in Yemen); cruise missile attacks of key Republican guard installations or WMDs; strategic bombing of key military installations - weakening them; support of rival factions to take out weakened installations... The list goes on, but it should be obvious that these all have one thing in common: they dont involve putting one single boot on the ground, but as we saw in Bosnia, they are still incredibly effective.
3.) Funding the War. First off, remember that the Constitution gives the President the right to enter into a military conflict BUT then gives CONGRESS the POWER OF THE PURSE. (go back a read your 101 civics books - or ask me for one). John Kerry & Congress gave Bush "use of force" against Iraq. John Kerry then said that he would use this Power of the purse to keep the President honest (you know, because in this country we have a President, not an Emperor). And sure enough, after Bush went forward with his complete walking miscarriage of a plan, John Kerry followed through, and used his power to vote against funding - knowing as I did that Bush's policy (again, full scale invasion and occupation of a foreign nation on the cheap with no allies or exit plan) was a failed-from-the-get-go money-pit. He sealed up the purse, and GOD BLESS him for it.
Additionally, much has been made about Kerry voting for the $87 billion before voting against it. Remember that Bush did JUST THE OPPOSITE: he said he would vote AGAINST funding, THEN he approved of the plan only after it was full of PORK.
Examples of "The Pork":
A.) B-52 bomber funding: completely outdated, non-targeted carpet-bombing completely useless for street-by-street keeping the peace in Iraq.
B.) Submarine technology: Very important... 40 YEARS AGO!!! (and when armed Iraqi militants get a submarine - but I'm not holding my breath)
C.) Bradley fighting Vehicles: Ask Mike Cadwallader (Bradley driver '90-99). A Bradley is a grenade housed in a tin-can on tracks, a rolling target, and made completely OBSOLETE by M-1 A-1 tanks and larger Armored Personel Carriers. The Bradley was actually featured in the anti-Kerry commercials! (for more on the Bradley boondoggle, see: "The Pentagon Wars")
D.) Re-vamped funding of Star wars missile defense. Even if these small militant groups gained access to ICBMs (again, breath held), preliminary tests of this plan proved incredibly unreliable even against ICBMs. (See: Center for Defense Information )
So here are 4 examples of complete PORK added into the $87 billion. George W Bush told congressional leaders he would vote against it if these were not added to the MOST important stuff - Body armor, supplies, Humvee armor, etc.
John Kerry defended our pocket-books (very conservative policy) and voted against this useless bureaucratic PORK in an overall walking miscarriage of a plan, which if you took time to look at Kerry's Senate record, he has always consistantly done. And GOD BLESS him for it.
(Note: there have been many such Pork broilers in the Senate and they all share the same characteristics: not much legislation in their name, often vote against bills they initially support (too full of pork), and lose-out on key positions. Kerry - as a former prosecuter - is one such hero)
So there you are. Obviously not a sound-bite, but proof-positive that sound-bites may sell advertizing, but they dont have to sell you. This also proof-positive that the valve is open, and that "flip-flop" has now been officially delivered to the sound-bite sewer, and the ash-heap of history!
KA - FLOOOOOOOOSH!!!
PS, despite Kerry's cost-saving vote against funding, Bush's 87 billion ball of PORK ended up passing... And how has it helped us in Iraq? (again, breath held)
PPS, I'm also nominating "Ka-Floosh" as the official sound-bite word for all of George W Bush's simpleton, horse-blinder ideas. As with any simple solution to complex problems, they are all turd tootsie-pops: Sweet on the outside, but full of shit. The question is then, ultimately, how many times will you lick?