Apparently this is the line we’re going to hear about Biden’s vote for Iraq:
Former Secretary of State John Kerry defended former Vice President Biden over the Iraq War, saying that the George W. Bush administration “broke their word with respect to how they would proceed” in Iraq.
“The fact is that we were promised by a president, by an administration, that they were going to do it as a last resort after exhausting diplomacy, that if they have to go to war it would be with a coalition that they built broadly, and that they would do it only in conjunction with our allies,” Kerry said Friday. “It didn’t have to happen; it was a war of choice.”
“It was a mistake to have trusted them, I guess, and we paid a high price for it,” Kerry added. “But that was not voting for the war.”
This is such a projection of weakness and, frankly, political cowardice – we trusted Bush and he let us down. A mistake “I guess”. Is that really where Biden wants to go with this? To say he’s a victim of Bush? Two thoughts:
First, if we’re supposed to trust your judgment as the biggest, baddest, smartest foreign policy guy, isn’t trusting Cheney/Bush on foreign policy a refutation of learning from your experience? We all know people who have worked in a job for a long time (“experienced”) and absolutely suck at it. It’s not the experiences you have, but how you’ve grown and learned from them. If you hadn’t learned that you can’t trust someone like Cheney/Bush not to go to war, and you haven’t learned that Iraq was the biggest foreign policy fuckup in the last two decades of this country’s existence–and that any role you played in it deserves apology rather than weak excuses like this– you’ve learned nothing.
Second, Iraq is such heavy baggage. If I had to point to one factor that sunk Clinton’s ’08 campaign, other than her advisors’ inability to count delegates, it was her Iraq vote in contrast to Obama’s position on the war. I also think it was a factor in Kerry’s ’04 loss, since he had to dance around his vote rather than have a simple, forthright position opposing the war. Instead of trotting out excuse makers, the Biden campaign needs to be working to dump that baggage with a short, sweet acknowledgement of error and failure.
All that said, there are some things about Iraq I don’t understand at a very fundamental level. I was never, ever for a war in Iraq after 9/11. I certainly supported the Afghanistan war, but Iraq was clearly an war of choice. It had nothing to do with the perpetrators of 9/11. It seemed just like the kind of overreaction that they were trying to bait us into, we fell for it, and any honest history will show that it was a waste of some of our best people and immense amounts of money.
So when the excuse making begins, I have no interest in or patience for it, because I thought it was an obvious mistake from the start. The fact that it was a popular mistake at the time, and that Cheney/Bush lied about it, holds absolutely no water. I don’t think I’m alone in that view, but I guess Biden wants to go to Kerrytown in a bucket. I’m afraid I’m not enjoying the ride.
(via LGM, worth a read)