Matt Drudge and the Washington Times are discussing a Kerry appearance on Crossfire from 1997 for which we (PROBABLY!) have the transcript, and we smell a rat. [UPDATE: So does the Wash Times, who runs a correction - see below.]
HUGE CAVEAT - maybe King and Kerry came back for an encore appearance; the Wash Times quotes Kerry as saying, "We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest", but I can't find anything exactly like that in this transcript. Hmm, could the Wash Times be quoting King paraphrasing Kerry? Weird, but possible - Kerry does say things that are similar to the quote above.
In favor of this transcript - from the Wash Times: "Mr. King says the U.N. Security Council had just adopted a resolution against Iraq that was watered down at the behest of the French and the Russians.
From the transcript: SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, John, you're correct that this resolution is less than we would have liked.
So, in late 1997 on Crossfire King and Kerry are discussing a recently passed UN resolution on Iraq that was watered down because of French and Russian objections. Did they do the same show twice?
In the spirit of open-source journalism, I will post this with reservations - let the world decide.
MORE: Powerline is engaged in similar head-scratching, but they don't post their version of the transcript. Who luvs ya? (You know I'm kidding, right?)
And here is a link to Memeorandum; let's see how quickly the truth can ripple through.
(Ahh, and what is the truth? Hmm, the truth is, we'd better hold the gloating until someone verifies the new Wash Times quotes. I'm betting that the Wash Times quoted King paraphrasing Kerry, and got confused in attribution during the write-up.)
UPDATE: Brain Carnell provides a transcript as well, and wonders whether the Washington Times has heard of "Lexis".
UPDATE 2: The Wash Times runs a correction at the top of the story, at the same link. Can't fault themfor a failure to disclose.
But an Alert Reader found this from March 8 at the Free Republic, which is essentially the same story that the Wash Times ran yesterday. Someone is recycling old (and misleading) press releases.
We do note a subtle change for the worse in the Wash Times re-write. This is from March 8:
According to King, Kerry argued: "We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians. We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest."
One might take that as a strong hint that King is paraphrasing Kerry. This hint was dropped by the Wash Times.
OK, having established some facts, we may as well reflect on the content. Briefly, reserving the right to act alone in our national self-interest is standard diplomatic boiler-plate; Kerry has said it dozens of times as a qualifier to a call for greater multilateral cooperation. (It's either find a link, or find a cup of coffee... Sorry, but you can trust me on this.)
And pre-emptive action has always been acceptable in certain scenarios.
So the real question is the threshold for unilateral action. Everyone's guess is that, with Kerry, that threshold is pretty high.
MY NAGGING CONSCIENCE: Trust, but verify. Here's Kerry himself, in a big security speech:
If such an attack appears imminent, as commander-in-chief, I will do whatever is necessary to stop it. And, as commander-in-chief, I will never cede our security to anyone. I will always do what is necessary to safeguard our country.
Ahh, but what about this, from earlier in the same speech?
America must always be the world’s paramount military power. But we can magnify our power through alliances. We simply can’t go it alone – or rely on a coalition of the few. The threat of terrorism demands alliances on a global scale...
Well, that's our John - something for everyone.