Joe Klein wacks both Kerry and Bush on Iraq. I'll reprint the Kerry-bashing:
John Kerry has been reticent about Iraq. He mentioned it only in passing last week. But those who say he needs to propose his own "solution" to the problem, or join those Democrats who are simplistically calling for a quick withdrawal, are off the mark. He has proposed a solution—greater reliance on the U.N.—and the Bush Administration is busy adopting it. What he hasn't done is make an emotional connection with the public. He seems incapable of providing comfort or reassurance, or even of speaking in a nonhortatory tone of voice. Worse, by steering clear of Iraq he seems to be making a political calculation about a profound moral issue (stay silent while Bush is hanging himself ). A basic rule for Kerry should be: Anything that makes him seem like a politician is bad, no matter how efficacious; anything that makes him seem like a statesman is good, no matter how risky.
On the subject of seeming like a politician, what are we to make of Kerry's recent call for more foreign troops to support the effort in Iraq? Is this a serious, statesmanlike suggestion, or a transparent attempt to raise the bar so that Bush's NATO meeting can be spun as as a failure? Hint: Colin Powell is cited as having noted that "many NATO countries are already in Iraq, and many others do not have the capacity to provide troops; France and Germany recently announced that they would not be sending troops to Iraq in the foreseeable future; Spain has recalled their troops; Great Britain, Italy, and Poland already have troops there.
It doesn't matter - as Adam Nagourney notes, Kerry can say whatever he wants.