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October 03, 2004

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» John Kerry's Global Test and UNSCAM from Ashish's Niti
John Kerry's Global Test requirement looks pretty odd in light of the UNSCAM. It can't be called a truly global test unless everybody else also accepts it. [Read More]

» Live-Blogging Rush Limbaugh from La Shawn Barber's Corner
12:21 p.m. --- Since I didn't get into the debate hype last night, I'm live-blogging Rush, at least until my lunch hour is over at 1:00 p.m. He always makes me feel better. For instance, he said the Democrats are already putting together a video of B... [Read More]

» The "Global Test" and Israel from JawsBlog
Tom Maguire has a very interesting post up about what Kerry's "Global Test" could mean with regards to Israel. No, I don't think Kerry would automatically sell Israel up the river, that would be political suicide. (Althogh I am still concerned ... [Read More]

Comments

Brian

So now you're jumping on the bandwagon of those who are distorting what Kerry said? It's one to thing to criticize him on his positions that he actually holds. It's quite another to have an entire argument rely on the distortion of his words by his political opponents.

TM

Brian, his words are right there - do I have to read them to you?

...you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

What does that mean, please?

Wackyguy

I think the GOP should be known as the DOP -- the Deliberately Obtuse Party.

Tom, he's not saying he wouldn't act preemptively unless you can prove to the world you are striking for legitimate reasons. (In fact, he says exactly the opposite right before the "global test" comment.) He's saying you have to have a case in order to get international help. In other words, you won't get a global coalition to help you, because if no one will trust you, then they won't help out. He goes on to explain after that about the fact that we now have to go back and apologize for misleading the U.N., when in the '60s the president's word was good enough for -- amazingly -- France.

directorblue

Luckily, through a friend at CBS News, I've been able to locate a copy of "The Global Test".

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2004/10/what-is-global-test-many-of-my-regular.html

JB

It's impossible to distort what Kerry says because the man is incoherent. It's another meaningless straddle.

"you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Huh? What if defending America and "proving it to the world" are inconsistent matters? What if the world refuses to accept any reasonable burden of proof? It's basically an appeal to authority argument where "the world" has the final say of what constitutes acceptable US action.

abb1

What if defending America and "proving it to the world" are inconsistent matters?

He is saying that it would mean that your idea of "defending America" is probably wrong. You need to come up with a better plan.

Bill Peschel

So here's a situation: Iran restarts a nuclear processing plant that your intelligence shows has a high probability of refining uranium for making nuclear weapons. (Note I said "high probability." This is the way statements are usually worded. Unless you have your man right there, on the scene, looking at the plans, you're never going to get 100% probability.)

Considering that Iran and Iraq do not get along and have not for at least the last 25 years and have gone to war several times, there's a chance they will blackmail Iraq using the weapon. There's also a possibility they'll launch a missile toward Israel, or get a suitcase nuke into the hands of a suicide bomber (after all, who wouldn't want to be known as the man who nuked Tel Aviv? The Atta family is probably loving it that Mohammad made his fame known throughout the world).

What should Kerry do? Go to the U.N. and hope that France and Russia didn't get bribed to vote against him? Plead before world opinion to pretty-please let him bomb the plant? Will MoveOn and Michael Moore agree with him that it should be done? What if they say no? What if anti-nuke protesters in Paris, Rome and Madrid say no.

I would guess he'd give a Gallic shrug of his shoulders and go play some touch football. He'll complain later that the fallout over Israel violates the Kyoto plan.

Steven Den Beste

I think maybe the confusion here is between acting "preemptively" and acting "unilaterally". I'm no fan of Kerry, but I think the assumption is that "preemption" means attacking first, rather than attacking in response to someone else's attack. "Unilateralism" means doing something without permission.

I would suggest that what Kerry means is that he believes we should be able to attack first, but only with world approval. "Preemption" is OK; "unilateralism" is not.

Saying that "preemption is OK only if it is multilateral" is not contradictory. (However, it is preposterously naive and unwise IMHO.)

MaDr

Kerry never said he would use a pre-emptive strike. He only said he would not concede the right to. You know politicians and lawyers, they always want you to think they have a myriad of options and never want to reveal their non-options (good negotiating). He was even given the opportunity to say that there were cirstances under which he would pre-empt. His answer, "Now, whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don't know yet." Couldn't he have at least acknowledged that ultimately he might have to pre-empt?

Now let's travel back in time, as Kerry took us during the debates, to the Cold War.

"The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control."

Do you want to guess which position Kerry "argued about"?

DaveP.

Bush would rather err on the side of protecting America and preempting possible attacks. Kerry and the Democrats who support him would rather err on the side of dead Americans...

Not antiwar, just on the other side.

paul

"you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Mr. Kerry if you please
define what would constitute proof. do you mean "beyond a reasonable doubt, preponderance of evidence, what's admissable

Mr. Kerry if you please
Who is "the world"? the UN, NATO, OAS, MSM and how do you plan to poll "the world" on their interpretation of proof (see above)?

Mr. Kerry if you please...
How do we, you , "the world" go about determining "legitimate reasons" from iiegitimate? Suicide attacks in Israel are now called legitimate responses to "occupation" by some of "the world" and thus IDF responses to these attackes, by some kind of inverse logic, are assailed by "the world" as illegimate. Who decides "legitimate reasons"
Oh and by the way will this all be accomplished before or after innocent civilians die?

Syl

Doesn't matter. Kerry wouldn't be able to pre-empt anyway because he would have killed the bunker buster nuke program.

He'll just let us be attacked and worry about it later.

Tim

I disagree with Steven Den Beste about Kerry distinguishing between unilateral and preemption by considering the verb tense in the phrase: your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

"your people understand" implies past tense. You have explained it to them and gained their consent.

"you can prove to the world that you did it" implies your explanation to the world comes after you have acted. It also implies that you acted without the world, unilaterally, and now have to prove you were justified.

It is effective rhetoric. Had coalition forces uncovered drums of VX or anthrax last spring or summer, Bush would have been "proven" right whether you think he acted preemptively or not, unilaterally or not. Bush would have met the "global test" even if world opinion was just as mistrustful or antagonistic.

The balance between internationalism and nationalism, and how these two men weigh each, is important and why Kerry's quote is still being debated. But the "global test" is an opinion poll, nothing more.

Another Thought

Kerry proposes a global test that we can never pass.

Why? Because it is naive to expect that the world will give its unanimous approval to any preemptive action. Preemptive action will always be controversial with some, because one will never be able to prove definitively what would happen without the preemptive strike. If Churchill had been able to convince Britain to preemptively take out Hitler that would have generated great controversy, probably even to this day, because no one would have some Star Trek type time machine to see what was prevented. Also, let's face the truth: many countries do not see their interests as coinciding with ours, and in many cases want the US to be taken down.

Also, let's get serious about what constitutes acceptable approval for Kerry: virtually nothing. In 91 with the First Gulf War, Kerry voted against that on the grounds that he wanted the first Prez Bush to build a larger coalition. So apparently for Kerry no coalition is ever big enough.

Bottom line: Kerry's doctrine of the US having to gain global approval to preemptively act means no preemptive action.

BD

Bohunk - the "Global Test" is a big deal because it shows us how Kerry thinks.

Way back in the day, Kerry believed the United States could not be trusted and that anything the United States did out of self-interest was illegitimate & suspect. While he's retracted his statement that US troops should only be used under UN command, the thinking is still there.

Kerry supported the nuclear freeze in the 80's, even though, if affected, it would've de-coupled Europe from the United States. Reagan was trying to win the Cold War, you see, and Kerry not only didn't think it could be won, he didn't believe it should be won by us.

Kerry supported the communists in Central America against Reagan's efforts to defeat them. Once again, the United States concern about communist governments destabilizing Central America was not a sufficent reason for our actions.

Kerry opposed the 1991 Gulf War because it was being fought to protect our access to oil - even though "The World" supported it. As he saw it, it was in our self-interest, and which made our motives and goals suspect - even if the French & the Germans, even if "The World" was on board.

While Kerry generall supported the Clinton foreign policy during the 90's, it is telling that few of the Clinton Administration's actions were driven by National Interest - Bosnia certainly wasn't, for example. And even then, Kerry objected to the notion that the United States has anything special to offer the world - hence his criticism of the Clinton Administration when it was said (I believe by Madame Albright) that the United States is the indispensable nation.

For all his current bluster about being "consistent", Kerry only returned to his roots a couple of weeks ago - and the message is the same.

For Kerry, the fact that our National Interest calls for a particular action to be taken isn't good enough.

For Kerry, every other nation is free to act in its own interests - and if they oppose us, it's because they have darn good reasons to do so, i.e., "It's our fault."

Bottom line - if it's a close call, Kerry's far more likely to give "the world" the benefit of the doubt than he is to give it to us. And that's wrong.

MaDr

Steven D B

I believe you're generally correct about what Kerry wants us to believe. You said, "... he believes we should be able to attack first ...". The "we" in your sentence does not include him, IMHO. I think he just said "we" as a smokescreen to mask his true personal position. See my comment above and:

Most would agree that our interests need to be at stake before we use military force, either pre-emptively or in response to some aggression. Saddam invaded Kuwait and was poised to invade the other Gulf States along with Saudia Arabia. I'd say it was definitely in our interests to secure the lifeblood (oil) of our economy (and the rest of the world's) from a ruthless dictator whose plans for regional domination were long suspected. I'd also opine that even if access to oil wasn't at stake, we did have a vital interest in who controoled this part of the world.

Seems like a slam dunk, right? We built a large coalition (and hence their permission slip), and received the UN's permission via resolution. Even with these two conditions of Kerry's met, did he authorize the use of force?

BD

"Unilateral" does not mean "without permission", at least, not in this context.

"Unilateral" means "by yourself, alone".

locke

In the past 20 years, which preemptive actions on the part of U.S. Presidents has Sen. Kerry actually supported? This will provide us some idea about his inclination to use globally non-authorized force (GNAF). His feelings toward the Grenada invasion are
quite well known, at least outside the MSM. He opposed Gulf War I, which was preemptive--at least as far as Saudi Arabia and Jordan were concerned--and multilateral. He was no great fan of placing defensive missiles in Europe in order to further protect Europe. And he was remarkably comfortable with the idea of Daniel Ortega setting up a pro-Soviet cell the size of Nicaragua. If he wins the election, will everyone not short the Israeli stock market at the same time, please. Thank you.

Another Thought

Let's face it..examining Kerry's history in total, we see a person afraid to fight...a person who would be afraid to use American military force to protect this country...

He's been not only a dove all of his political life, but cynical and suspicious of US motives the entire time...

And if Bush 41's first Gulf War coalition wasn't good enough for Kerry, nothing can be...

I think if Kerry had been president during 9-11, that Kerry would not have invaded Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban...it just isn't in Kerry's blood to fight to protect us...

The Kid

Bill Peschel’s example is apt, especially given the recommendation of one of Iran’s influential but retired ruling clerics.

Just a few moments of thought demonstrates that while convincing the American public of the merits of an attack is straightforward, getting any sort of agreement from the world community is for all practical purposes impossible. Kosovo and the Bosnian “incursion” seem to come closest, but that’s because there was absolutely no US interest at stake. Grenada and Panama – accepted in the US but still somewhat contentious – do not, nor does any other US action that I can think of.

locke

I can think of one easy way for the world to join hands and sing the same merry tune: Disavow the Balfour declaration!

Abu Qa'Qa

What is this global test? Will it be published ahead of time? Who is to be the final arbiter? The UN?, The ICC?, The ACLU?, The DNC? What if 50 nations agree and 51 disagree and the rest abstain, is it still legitimate? Will the american people have a vote? How would we do that? What percent of the population would have to agree before we took action? Would we be allowed to preposition troops and supplies before approval? Could we launch from overseas bases, or just continental US?

If the congress approves preemption by 100 to 0 and the UN doesn't approve, what does the president do? Doesn't the congress have the responsibility to declare war? Can Congress' will be preempted by the UN? Doesn't the War Powers Act give the president authority to act in his own best judgement, will that act be repealed?

This is garbage of the first degree, Kerry is a puppet of the anti-war left and cannot be trusted to act in our best interests.

When will he sign the Form 180, what is he hiding?

locke

Not to defend Kerry, but I do not think he has a mechanical conception about determining the global acceptability quotient (GAQ) of his foreign policy endeavors. He means "pars valensor", or "the weightier part thereof. The weightier part thereof for Kerry will consist of whoever marches through Rome, Paris, or Berlin at any given time; the net editorial positions of the Washington Post and New York Times; the Brookings Institution; any flanking movements by Jimmy Carter; and the shoddy, immoral brilliance of Jacque Chirac. If I have left any members out, please let me know.

bill

I simply don't see your interpretation of the phrase: "that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're * doing * what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you * did * it for legitimate reasons."

I emphasize the differences in tense and give Kerry credit for deliberately making the distinction. A President who chooses war must be able to bring the country along with him or sooner or later the country will abandon the war and the President. But he must also be able to prove to the rest of the world - after the fact - that the pre-emptive action was justified.

All this nonsense about what constitutes proof is ballast. Our adversaries will never accept our justifications, no one expects that. But our President must give our allies reason to support his actions in the past if he cares about their support in the future. And even a hyper-power needs allies, though this administration seems to discount greatly their value.


To claim that Kerry's views in 1972 are identical to his views 32 years later is also ballast. I expect our leaders to learn and to change; to grow with experience and to temper ideology with pragmatism when entrusted with ultimate responsibility. One does not become either major party's candidate for President without passing through the filter of hard political realities. That filter assures that the candidates hold core beliefs in common with their countrymen.

Indeed, one reason the country is so evenly divided is that we agree on the basics. It's only on the margins that there is great disagreement. That's also one of the reasons there are so many swing voters. There are only one or two issues that will make the difference for those folks.

The partisan attempts to portray each man as an extremist who will destroy America is more nonsense. As Lincoln observed in his first inaugural address

"While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in
the short space of four years."


Steven Den Beste

BD: Yes, it is true that "unilateral" means "alone" if you look it up in the dictionary. But there are a lot of words whose current political meaning in the US have nothing whatever to do with the dictionary meaning (e.g. "liberal").

As it is currently used, the words "unilateral" and "multilateral" actually refer to the question of post-nationalism. "Multilateralism" means "submission to world governance". "Unilateral" means "refusing to yield national sovereignty to world governance".

That's why the invasion of Iraq was condemnned as being "unilateral" despite there being a couple of dozen countries in the "coalition of the willing".

And that is what Kerry is talking about here. The issue has nothing to do with preemption or response, it has to do with yielding national sovereignty and permitting other nations to veto American military decisions. Kerry thinks we should permit such vetoes; Bush does not, and has proved it.

locke

"One does not become either major party's candidate for President without passing through the filter of hard political realities. That filter assures that the candidates hold core beliefs in common with their countrymen." That does not explain the candidacy of George McGovern or John Kerry. Kerry passed through no such filter. He only had to seem less kooky than the governor of Vermont. If he has learned and adapted, then why doesn't he explain and/or disavow. Would he still sup with Daniel Ortega? Would he still vote "No" on Gulf War I? I would love to hear the intellectual growth between the unilateral nuclear freeze of the 1980s and his anti-bunker buster position the other night. I would enjoy even a 30 second sound bite about the decimating of HUMINT budgets in the mid to late 1990s, and the effrontery he showed by suggesting that intelligence is underfunded. He is aping main stream positions which he clearly does not hold. And the MSM and Kerry supporters have the intellectual incuriosity about his record to buttress him.

The Lonewacko Blog

Sorry to be inflammatory, but: if drank a liter of vodka and I beat my head against the wall a few dozen times I could probably play this game too. Just confuse "approval" with "being able to prove."

But as everyone knows (except the reporters on that conference call), the question is not whether the US would prefer the support of the world community; the question is whether President Kerry will act in the interests of the United States despite a lack of support from the world community.

If necessary, I'm sure he would. However, perhaps unlike Bush he wouldn't have gotten into the situation where he was being set up to fail to gain widespread support. And, unlike Bush he probably wouldn't have stressed things like the aluminum tubes and forced his Secy of State to have to apologize for being inaccurate and thereby lowering our credibility.

I think those who either deliberately misunderstand or just fail to understand the "global test" is going to come back to haunt them as more facts become known.

More here.

abb1

The "Global Test" is a very simple concept: you have to have a good reason to go to war, as in "war is the last resort". Then it will be understood by the world.

The Iraq war obviously doesn't meet this test. It wasn't a necessary war, it was a war of choice. Iraq wasn't an immediate threat to the US or anyone else in March 2003.

Iraq was under the microscope. UN inspectors were working in Iraq and they were reporting making progress. They were asking for only a few weeks more to conclude the project. Thus even if stockpiles of chemical (or even nuclear) weapons had been discovered in Iraq after the US invasion, it wouldn't have helped the invasion to pass this global test.

No matter how you spin it, it was simply wrong to invade Iraq in March 2003; it's as simple as that.

JB

"He is saying that it would mean that your idea of "defending America" is probably wrong. You need to come up with a better plan."

I'm saying that's incoherent BS. Let HIM prove that those two concepts are necessarily coexistent.

Patrick R. Sullivan

"prove to the world", being the operative phrase. Bush told Saddam Hussein that that was what HE had to do regarding his WMD. PROVE TO THE WORLD he no longer had them, and how he had destroyed them.

When he didn't or wouldn't produce such proof, the war to depose Saddam became the prudent option. Kerry wouldn't have put the question that way, much less act on it. Does anyone really think John and Teresa would be welcome to vacation in the South of France if he did?

And that would be a disaster of the first order for them. Those of you who don't see this are in the position of the blonde who has locked herself inside her car:

http://flyunderthebridge.blogspot.com/2004/10/shorter-kerry-won-debate.html

JB

"If necessary, I'm sure he would. However, perhaps unlike Bush he wouldn't have gotten into the situation where he was being set up to fail to gain widespread support. And, unlike Bush he probably wouldn't have stressed things like the aluminum tubes and forced his Secy of State to have to apologize for being inaccurate and thereby lowering our credibility."

Perhaps? Because he's...John Kerry, master of the universe? On what basis do you make this judgement?

abb1

Let HIM prove that those two concepts are necessarily coexistent.

The proof is obvious: if you consider yourself a human being like other human beings, then you should be able to explain your position to them, or at least a majority of them.

You seem to consider yourself some special specie: Homo American. The rest of us still feel they belong to Homo Sapien, like everybody else in the world.

abb1

OK, then - months. It doesn't change the argument.

What the US state says is obviously wrong - since Iraq, in fact, did NOT have any banned weapons and/or programs.

dick

I really think that Lonewacko is getting whacked on this one. If we look at the history of the man in the past 32 years, he has almost never supporting acting in the interests of the United States.

I would really like Lonewacko to cite some times when Kerry has supported the interests of the United States in that period of time. He is willing to just accept that Kerry will, as president, of course act to support the US. I am not because I do not see where he has. He has gone out of his way to stop funding the intelligence services that try to get us the information that will let us know what is going on in the other countries so that we can act accordingly. Without that HUMINT (which we are now being chastised for not having by the left) we are forced to act only in response to attacks. I prefer knowing the potentiality of our enemies, whoever they may be, and being in the position to act before we get attacked.

He has also gone out of his way to stop funding the military advances that have proven so devastating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Kosovo. Without those military weapons that Kerry has voted against, we would potentially have lost a rather large number of our young military and that is not a position I would want to be in.

If we look at his positions on foreign policy going back to the 1980's, we would still have a USSR to contend with as well as a Communist dictatorship in Nicaragua and possibly in some other Latin American countries and we would not have the weapons to fight against them.

I think we really as a nation cannot afford to elect Kerry as president. He may go against all the things he has preached in the past, but I would not trust him to do so based on his actual history and I for one do not want to trust my future well being to this man. Bush may not be the absolute best choice for president but given the option of Bush or Kerry, to my way of thinking there is not choice there. Kerry would be an absolute disaster.

Eric Sivula

abb1, who issues this test? The UN? That pack of dictators and looters have started plenty of wars of convience, of choice. Europe? Much of French, German, and Russian military history consists of wars of choice. The Left? They did not, and do not see preventing genocide, or the wholesale enslavement of poeple as legitimate reason to go war.

And while YOU might have been comfortable with an Iraq run by Saddam, build WMDs and killing/maiming/raping unarmed civilians, plenty of people weren't.

And abb1, when did the UN say that Saddam could have 'some' chem/bio weapons? The UN said, as part of the 1991 ceasefire, that Saddam had to get rid of ALL of his weapons. If he hid even ONE mortar shell with mustard gas in it, he is in violation. He also had to allow unfettered access to his sites and personnel. In what reality does shadowing inspectors and forbidding access to poeple or sites equal unfettered access?

And I think everyone should notice that by abb1's justification for war, no war in history was justified. The American Revolution was not the last resort: they could have remained taxed, unrepresented British subjects. The American Civil War: The Union could have let the southern states secede and continue keeping human beings in bondage. World War II: Perhaps the Poles, the Rom, and the Jews would have been justified, but Britain, France and America? All three of them had other options.

Tim

You mean what Blix said is obviously wrong - since Iraq, in fact, did NOT have any banned weaponse and/or programs.

(Besides, so far, some left over sarin filled and mustard bombs, numerous unfilled shells, undisclosed labs, ...)

Dark jethro

abb1,

You are right! It was wrong to invade Iraq in 2003. It should have been done in 1995, but we were too busy getting hummers at 1600 Pennsylvania ave to worry about National Security and America's image in the middle east.
The terrorists and thugs of the world do not care one whit about summits and international "tests". Fear of their own hides is all they respect.
Waiting until Saddam was clear of sanctions and had re constituted his weapons programs is not what I would call a prudent option. And thanks to this war, we know that to be a fact.
It was simply right to Invade Iraq in 2003 because postponing Iraq's refusal to abide by it ceasefire agreement, would only drive up the cost in lives of the inevitable invasion.
As much as you would like to believe it, the Saddams of the world do not just go away when you give them what they want. They come back with more demands.
Exibit #1: N. Korea
Kerry has as much given the Clinton/N Korea policy as his road map for Iran.
We would want to do that again?
Not me.

Cecil Turner

I don't think Israel is an appropriate test case.

His "global test" was clearly linked to preemptive US military action. Unless you can find a situation where there's some reasonable likelihood of having to take independent military action (as opposed to providing support for Israel), it doesn't seem terribly fair to try to grill him on it. So while I agree it's a silly concept, I don't think this is a legitimate place to show it.

capt joe

Well, lets take an example.

Does intervention in Sudan pass the global test?

If yes, why.

If no, then why not?

Now consider the following ancilliary factors?

1. France and China are clearly against intervention as they hold huge oil contracts and do not want their financial interaction harmed.

2. Russia has huge arms deals going on and refuses to interact

3. The arab federation sees this as an attack against an arab member.

4. The anti US left is now mounting a campaign against US requests for action against genocide saying this is all a US plot: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1318628,00.html

I think that this will turn out to deny that the global test is anything but an excuse to bind US power against European and Asian business interests.

Mantis

You jokers are too much. It's quite obvious what he's saying is before you go running around the world invading countries, you should actually consider: a) what the citizens think of it, b) how it will affect the world (both of which depend on actually having legitimate reasons). This second one is important not because we need permission to use military force in the world, but because a) terror is a product of certain conditions and attitudes in the world, and if our actions increase those conditions and attitudes, we work against ourselves, and b) successfully fighting terror requires allies, as many as possible; we cannot do this alone. That is what the global test is, not some ridiculous begging before the UN, or France, or anyplace else you self-righteous zenophobes are afraid of. It's time to wake up and realize we are only 5% of the world, and we can't control all of it, we actually need friends (and not just Poland). You're arguments have nothing to do with substance and everything to do with semantics.

Paul

'The "Global Test" is a very simple concept: you have to have a good reason to go to war, as in "war is the last resort". Then it will be understood by the world.

The Iraq war obviously doesn't meet this test. It wasn't a necessary war, it was a war of choice. Iraq wasn't an immediate threat to the US or anyone else in March 2003.'

The problem is that every attack on us in the WoT has been a sneak attack: 9/11, the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Kohbar Towers, the USS Cole, and so on. This is unlike wars past, e.g., the run-up to WWII where Hitler's buildup was obvious for all to see. Since every attack has been and will be a sneak attack, there will NEVER be an imminent threat. This is what makes a "Global Test" an impossible and even irrational standard. The case can only be made on the basis of intelligence, but you will never be able to make the case ahead of time to the international community due to the uncertain nature of intelligence.

Let's make this concrete. Iran's Ayatollah Rafsanjani has all but announced that once Iran gets a nuclear weapon they will use it on Israel. We think that they are trying to build a bomb, they claim otherwise. What "Global Test" should Israel or the US have to satisfy before attacking their nuclear facilities? Remember, this is an existential threat, not just one more suicide bomber. Bonus Question: How is this done without nuclear bunker busters because the facilities are in hardened underground bunkers designed to withstand conventional bombs?

Another Thought

Let's also face the truth: Kerry's global test would doom Israel...Kerry is Israel's greatest nightmare as US president, because Kerry is so beholden to world popular opinion, which almost always go counter to Israel.

The example of Iran is a classic one: Kerry would not preemptively take out Iran's nuke capabilities, and thus leave Israel incredibly vulnerable.

Let's remember an incident from the past: when Libya's nuke program was bombed by Israel...a preemptive strike, which the world condemned. This would never pass the Kerry test.

Kerry is a disaster waiting to happen: we can never allow this joker to become president...it would literally place our lives at risk.

Another Thought

I agree with Paul: Kerry's global test amounts to having 100% certainty of the threat, provable to the standards of a court of law, and even then we could never get unanimous world approval, because so many nations have agendas, both obvious and covert, against ours. Basically, the rest of the world is really screwed up, and has worse problems than we do...why rely on them for their judgement?

The nature of preemption, especially in the age of terrorism, means dealing with uncertainty and never being able to fully prove a danger, short of having a Star Trek time machine.

Kerry's global test doctrine is really an excuse to never act agressively against our enemies. Of course, this means that they would first have to strike before Kerry might do something. And even then, after being hit, who knows that Kerry would even take military action...he is that weak.

SDN

As Lincoln observed in his first inaugural address

"While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in
the short space of four years."

And as I recall, bill, 1861 was before atomic bombs, suitcase or otherwise. That technological change renders the basic premise of that statement NONSENSE.

Bruce Hayden

You need to define "necessary". To me, and to the administration, Iraq was a necessary war. Sanctions were falling apart, Saddam was thumbing his nose at us and the U.N. Three of the five permanent members of the Security Counsel were helping to undermine sanctions, and at least two of them were being massively bribed.

It is a figment of your imagination if you think that a little bit longer with sanctions would have done the trick. There is no evidence to back this, and a lot to contest this.

We really had two choices - invade or pull out completely, letting Saddam win. And what would that have accomplished? My guess is that it would have emboldened him and others, knowing that U.N. sanctions and resolutions were not worth the paper they were printed upon.

We had the U.N. resolutions. We had a bunch of them that Saddam was in violation of. What were the consequences of those violations? As was, the consequences were that he is now in jail, waiting trial, and if he lives long enough, will more than likely be executed by the new Iraqi government.

But if we hadn't, what would have been the consequences? Nothing. Bad psychology.

Bruce Hayden

The distinction here that I see being made by the President is that, as he and I appear to understand Mr. Kerry's statement, Kerry would only utilize preemptive action if he thought that the rest of the world would approve.

The nitpickers are correct (IMHO) that it is undefinable what the rest of the world includes.

But that ignores Mr. Bush's major point, which is that defending the United States is his priority, and not pleasing the world. Given the choice of acting preemptively for our safety, or not acting so because he feared pissing off the rest of the world, Mr. Bush was unequivacal - he would act. Mr. Kerry appeared to indicate that he wouldn't.

That is not to say that Mr. Bush (or I) would arbitrarily act preemptively, regardless of world opinion, because one of the effects of unpopular preemptive action might well be to inflame certain segments of the world population - most notably here, parts of the Moslem world, which might well have adverse consequences.

So, you compare the two harms. The one being preempted, and the one instigated by the preemption. And if the former is more significant, you act.

And Iraq is a good example here. Contrary to popular opinion, the Moslem world has not risen en-mass to take us on. Rather, many have bitched and moaned, but done nothing. Others have actually changed their behavior - notably Libya, but also to some extent Syria. This was an obvious calculated gamble on Mr. Bush's part, that seems to me to have worked out much better than the naysayers predicted.

bill

McGovern was a two term Representative and a three term Senator from a part of the country that has been called Heartland America. He was hugely influenced by the Great Depression and the New Deal and was a New Deal liberal. Sure, conservatives saw him as extreme, but then liberals saw Goldwater as an extremist too.

McGovern got 37% of the vote in '72; Nixon 61%. Not much of a showing for the Communists, Socialists and Fascists. There're only two teams on the field; if you want to play, you have to be on one of those teams. Sure, over time the parties move away from their base and back again as factions gain and lose influence. So, the most liberal Democrat is far to the left of the most conservative Republican - but neither are that far from the middle.

The trouble I have with the true believers is the absolute certainty they have that the opposing candidate is the antichrist, or at least the Manchurian Candidate. It was that way from the early days of the Republic and it is that way today. But our Constitution works, the center holds.

I don't mean to be a Pollyanna. The Presidency is as powerful a position as has ever existed and then some. If McNamara is to be believed Kennedy had us only inches from nuclear war. Mistakes don't come any bigger. So, in that regard at least, Lincoln was wrong.

I don't pretend expertise on nuclear weaponry, but a nuclear bunker buster sounds to me like a tactical nuclear weapon. I think tactical nuclear weapons are a strategic mistake. You don't build tactical weapons you don't intend to use. We somehow managed to stuff the genie back in the bottle after WW II. Do you really want to risk letting him out again? Used once it was an object lesson in worst case scenarios. Used as a tactical weapon it provides an excuse for India, Pakistan, North Korea and maybe Iran. Even Israel might come to see it as something more than the ultimate defense.

While one could certainly argue that cutting HUMINT budgets was bad policy, I don't see how one can argue that, after the end of the Cold War when many Americans were led to believe that cuts in military spending were part of the so-called 'peace dividend', Kerry was way outside the mainstream. If cutting HUMINT was so radical, how did it get through a Republican Congress?

It also seems to me that our current problems are much more a function of bad management than lack of money. Conservatives are forever whining about federal spending and the liberals throwing money at problems when what is really needed is more and better management and accountability. Which is not to say they are wrong, but only that they should take their own advice.

JM

"In his widely praised debate performance, John Kerry explained that the US always has the right to act alone, as long as the world approves first."

You're desperate. Although it was pointed out before, it needs to be pointed out again. Here's what Kerry really said:

"No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. 

"But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Do most of the people posting here have some problem with understanding the temporal aspects of our language? Nowhere did Kerry say that world approval would be required. In fact, he explicitly stated that the evidence can come after the actions. Or do you deny that "did" is not the past tense of "to do"?

Brian

"What does that mean, please?"

What exactly do you think it means? What does "legitimate" usually mean? It's not a direct statement, so it's hard to be particularly sure of what he's saying, but he seems to mean that we have to go to war for legitimate reasons, not made up reasons with unrealistic expectations.

Mantis

--"And Iraq is a good example here. Contrary to popular opinion, the Moslem world has not risen en-mass to take us on. Rather, many have bitched and moaned, but done nothing. Others have actually changed their behavior - notably Libya, but also to some extent Syria. This was an obvious calculated gamble on Mr. Bush's part, that seems to me to have worked out much better than the naysayers predicted."

See you're still looking at this war as if it were a traditional war. True, "Libya the unthreatening" has abandoned its weapons program for economic reasons, and that's a good sign. But this war is not about states, we are not fighting a nation or group of nations. Who we are fighting, terrorists, HAVE risen up, or rather, as Allawi states, "are flooding into Iraq" to fight us. We have lost control of large parts of that country, have commited nearly all of our military resources there, and that's still not enough, and you say it is a gamble that has worked out pretty well?
Fine, let's compare the two harms and the consequences of acting on them. We could invade a country led by a tyrant whom we had successfully contained (he had no active weapons programs at all) for over a decade, thereby getting mired in a difficult war against an elusive enemy in a hostile region with no end in sight, while simultaneously turning world opinion against us, and attracted countless terrorists and glory fighters to Iraq to battle America, OR, we could have continued containing him the way we had successfully done for years. The consequence of that, well, we'll never know now will we? But I imagine things might be a little more peaceful in the world. We know Saddam couldn't have bombed us (or anyone, for that matter). And as for continuing with sanctions and inspections, which had, again, succeeded in containing Saddam as a threat, not doing the trick; what trick? Bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq? Sure, maybe not, but our war won't give it to them either. But a lot of Americans will die trying.
The trick was to keep him from being able to harm us or his neighbors, and we did that. Too bad that wasn't enough for the people who just love a good war.

Fred G. Sanford

"have commited nearly all of our military resources there"

You win! This is the stupidest and least supportable thing anyone has written in this thread. Please see Mr. Kerry for a free bottle of ketchup.

FGS

bill

"And as I recall, bill, 1861 was before atomic bombs, suitcase or otherwise. That technological change renders the basic premise of that statement NONSENSE."

Dated, perhaps, but surely not NONSENSE. Unless you are arguing that Kerry, by action or inaction, is more likely than Bush, by action or inaction, to render us vulnerable to nuclear attack.

Personally, I don't believe Iraq had or would have soon had a nuclear capability. I just don't see that there is any convincing evidence. Some people seem to believe that whatever WMDs he had went to Syria after we attacked. Gee, that makes me feel so much more secure. If the administration was so sure there were WMDs, might they not have anticipated that eventuality?

As far as I can see, the only positive impact on terrorism and our domestic security that the Iraq invasion has had is to change the focus of the terrorists from the Homeland to Iraq. I don't believe that was the intent, it's too cynical even by Washington standards. In any case, I am far from convinced the present Administration has done the best job possible.

Will Kerry do better? It'll be hard work.

Tim

Here's an example, FWIW, of the "global test" in action:

2002: Saddam's a bad guy, everyone agrees he's a WMD threat. The "global test" folks tell Bush he must get Congressional authorization to use force against Iraq and go to the UN to get international authorization.

Bush goes to congress "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq."

He then goes to the United Nations which, among many other things, "demands further that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally, and actively with UNMOVIC and the IAEA;".

For four months, Iraq does not satisfy the inspectors, or Security Council, or anyone really, that they are fully cooperating. But, that's not the "global test" anymore. The "global test" isn't one Iraq has to pass. The "global test" is meant to restrain the United States and give leverage to Iraq's oil partners and co-conspirators in the Oil-for-Food scam. The "global test" is a bar that is being raised until the French say that there is no passing grade.

The flip-side of the "global test" is the Bush administration's (but not historically unique) multiple marketing answers to the shifting "global test" standard.

The result: You damn well better be right about the reasons you gave for the war, whether they meet the "global test" or not. Even if you are, you still don't pass.

The Kid

Since abb1, Brian, are caught up in tenses, let’s relax. Because Kerry believes that he must pass an ex post facto global test, he will limit himself only to those actions he believes that he can defend to some significant number of governments. Whether it’s 51% of the UN membership, the majority of the EU, or just the Francophile nations is not clear; perhaps he can clarify. He’s in effect constraining himself by what he thinks he can sell to the global judges; who the judges are and what he thinks their criteria may be is what’s of interest.

In stark contrast, Bush does not appear to be overly concerned with what foreigners might think. He’s stated that his first and only criterion is the interests of the US.

Cecil Turner

"We know Saddam couldn't have bombed us (or anyone, for that matter)."

We know he kept pulling banned weapons out of his bunkers for 12 years after agreeing to disarm, at least two WMDs were used as roadside bombs (luckily incompetently), and that he continued to funnel money to terrorist organizations and flout 17 UNSC resolutions.

And everyone likes to quote David Kay about not finding any WMD stockpiles, but this story doesn't get much attention:

I think Baghdad was actually becoming more dangerous in the last two years than even we realized. Saddam was not controlling the society any longer. In the marketplace of terrorism and of WMD, Iraq well could have been that supplier if the war had not intervened.
I'm also getting a chuckle out of all the idiotic convolutions we're jumping through about having the President pass a "global test" (apparently after the fact). Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I'd prefer the President focus on defense of the nation, and not a global popularity contest.

mantis

Thank you FS for proving my point that you guys haven't a leg to stand on in terms of substance, so your primary weapon semantic nitpicking. He said Global!! You heard him!! You said all of our military!!! You're stupid!!
Clearly I realize that we don't actually have nearly all of our resources committed to Iraq (just active duty army), but for all intents and purposes in fighting the war on terror, it seems as though we do:

"GAO Report Says Bush Administration's Actions May Hurt Long-Term Global War on Terror. The Bush Administration's overstretching of the military has put into doubt whether there will be enough troops to fight the global war on terror. The GAO reported, "If DOD's implementation of the partial mobilization authority restricts the cumulative time that reserve component forces can be mobilized, then it is possible that DOD will run out of forces... it is unclear how DOD plans to meet its longer-term requirements for the Global War on Terrorism." (GAO Report, "Military Personnel," GAO-04-1031, 9/04)"

National Security Expert Said War on Terror Was "Strategically Unfocused" "...The (Global War on Terror)'s goals are also politically, fiscally, and militarily unsustainable. ... The GWOT as it has so far been defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promises much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate scarce U.S. military and other means over too many ends. It violates the fundamental strategic principles of discrimination and concentration." (Dr. Jeffrey Record (professor, Air Force's Air War College), "Bounding the Global War on Terror," December 2003, Army Strategic Studies Institute)

National Security Expert Called Conflation of Iraq and Al Qaeda a "Strategic Error of the First Order" "...(T)he conflation of al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat...was a strategic error of the first order because it ignored critical differences between the two in character, threat level, and susceptibility to U.S. deterrence and military action. The result has been and unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al- Qaeda. The war against Iraq was not integral to Iraq, but rather a detour from it." (Dr. Jeffrey Record (professor, Air Force's Air War College), "Bounding the Global War on Terror," December 2003, Army Strategic Studies Institute)

Nice work Fred, you are a true right-wind spintard.

Fred G. Sanford

"Clearly I realize that we don't actually have nearly all of our resources committed to Iraq"

Then on top of being stupid, you also like to tell lies.

FGS

mantis

No, that's the Pentagon, not me.

Fred G. Sanford

The first quote if from the GOA. The second and third, which incidently do not makes claims that Iraq has cost us "nearly all our military resouces", are the opinions of one person at the Air Force War College. How you somehow distort these sources into the "Pentagon" illustrates that you are dillusional on top of being a stupid liar.

Fred

Fred G. Sanford

delusional. Lemont's convict friend Rolo must have stolen my spell checker.

Fred

Rob Hunter

This pesky Unilateral/Multilateral problem is solved here by our brilliant friend Hitchens. Come on folks, you either believe in America as a rational, sovereign entity or you don't.

Cecil Turner

"I realize that we don't actually have nearly all of our resources committed to Iraq (just active duty army), but for all intents and purposes in fighting the war on terror, it seems as though we do:"

140,000 US troops in Iraq (total), ~100,000 in Europe, and another ~100,000 in Asia. Iraq isn't even a majority of deployed troops.

My favorite part of Mr Record's monograph is this bit:

Indeed, the key to their defeat lies in the realms of intelligence and police work . . . If there is an analogy for the GWOT, it is the international war on illicit narcotics.
But I didn't find it nearly as convincing as you apparently did.

Rob Hunter
E. Nough

You know what I find amusing? The Kerry apologists are trying full throttle to convince everyone that Kerry does, in fact, support preemptive, unilateral military action, albeit with the hope that "the world" approves some time later. That they are engaging in some of the most minute parsing outside a contract dispute is unimportant -- what heartens me is that apparently the idea that the UN or "the world" furnish "legitimacy" to American prerogatives is quite dead. The only question around here, it seems, is whether or not Kerry has been informed.

Brian

Juan Cole has a good summary.

It's really kind of sad that a poorly phrased statement is becoming such an issue. But then again, I'm not surprised the Bush-Cheney campaign is smearing Kerry, since that's what it's done all along.

Pouncer

Was I the only one who caught Shrub accusing Kerry of "mexing missages" ?

Oscar

Here is a short historical answer to those leftist commenters who have tried to finesse Kerry's remarks. In his history of WWII, Liddell Hart comments that the one person most responsible for the start of the War in 39 was Chamberlin. Read the whole first chapter "How War was Percipitated", but the key quote is: "Within a few day, however, Chamberlin made a complete 'about-face' - so sudden and far-reaching that it amazed the world. He jumped to a decision to block any following move of Hitler's [into Poland]. A similar fiasco may have led Saddam to go into Quwait. Feckless leaders are worse than consistent idiots, and Bush is not (contra many on the Left) and idiot. This is not to say that I approve of all he has done: I am more Jacksonian than Wilsonian, but the point remains.

Robert Schwartz

Kerry defenders above and Richard Holbroke are trying to make the "Global Test" acceptable to the American people, by rendering the key phrase: "you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons" meaningless or inoperable.

This may be good campaign tactics but it will not do as a analytic platform. I think the only way of understanding Kerry's phrase and operationalizing it, is to understand it as a reformulation of the maxim of Kantian ethics that one should always act as if one's actions will be a universal law.

I am not here to debate the validity of Kantian Ethics. I think that it is safe to say that a majority of Americans do not accept it. It has never been popular in the English speaking world. Although it is foundational in continental European schools of philosophy.

One problem is that Americans, as the discussion above shows, tend not to believe in a universal objective rationality (although they do tend to believe in a personal God) they therefore understand Kerry's demand for proof to the world as proof to partial fallible human beings who in their experience are uninformed as to the facts and burdened with prejudices.

For example a majority of the Arab world believes top this day that the 9/11 attacks were made by Israeli security forces. When men start from such premises, we can talk until we are blue in the face and we will prove nothing to them.

Kerry seems to believe that, at least if he is President, the world will listen to his arguments, will accept them at face value and will judge them in accordance with tenets of universal rationality.

Bush, like most Americans, believes that he will have to justify himself before God. And any President will have to justify himself before Congress and the American people. But world opinion whether as a proxy for universal rationality or a concrete entity is not in that chain of command, and the American people will not accept its addition thereto.

Les Nessman

Quite so, Cecil.
""Indeed, the key to their defeat lies in the realms of intelligence and police work . . . If there is an analogy for the GWOT, it is the international war on illicit narcotics.""

Sure, Mr.Record. By the way, how's that war on drugs working out? Not.Too.Good.

Tim

a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes:

In his letter to Henry Lee of May 8, 1823, Jefferson said that the Declaration was intended to "place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."
Somehow Kerry's global test doesn't quite match, "in terms so plain and firm", an independent America.
James Madison wrote in Federalist no. 14: "Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience?

pajama_jihad

abb1 wrote: Iraq wasn't an immediate threat to the US or anyone else in March 2003.

Iraq was shooting at US planes on nearly a daily basis which is an act of war. Saddam was paying $25,000 bounties to the families of suicide bombers killing Jews. Saddam's mass graves included about 500,000 "anyone elses." Other than that, Iraq was just like Sweden.

Henry

I can not believe that so many people still will not admit that Bush screwed up his argument for his actions. The conservatives talk about taking responsiblity for one's actions, yet always try to defend Bush's actions or lack there of. As far back as Feb of 2001 when Bush gave Executive Order #5 which removed ALL national security EO's from the books. That order allowed the "Wall" to go back up between the different federal agencies which Clinton took down in an Executive order sometime in 1995. To Bush's "Slam Dunk" argument for attacking Iraq which is made up of BS.

Now, lets put Saddam on the famous "Global Test" and see if Bush could of justified his actions.

1) Saddam was clearly supporting terrorism by sponsoring a $25,000.00 payment to suicide bombers families. Proof: Families were paid.

2) Since his SB payment plan included Isreal Allies, the citizens of America was at risk. Proof: Any American traveling in Isreal or another country was subject to an terrorist attack.

3) Since 9/11 America has realized that our homeland could be attacked by terrorist; therefore, we can make the claim that Saddam's SB payment plan puts our own country at risk of being attacked. Proof: Twin Towers

4) By allowing Saddam to go unchecked with his SB payment plan, the international community is putting the entire region at risk due to Saddam's known desire to overthrow the leaders of certain countries.

There: Four good solid reasons for removing Saddam from power. In order to serve the greater good of the region. Notice, never once have I mentioned WMD's nor the Humanity junk that wasn't even on the table until Bush screwed up the WMD argument.

The Global Test is Kerry's political expression for the bullshit test, but since the political right wing would of had to have heart surgery, Kerry thought he better use his presidential statues to speak softly so not to cause Bush to faint.

ahem

Here's the global test, courtesy of D-squared:

Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance.

See, that one was easy. Next, please?

Davod

Getting back to Kerry's words. He mentions pre-emption and the Cold War. I thought the major deterrent in the Cold Ward was MAD - Mutually Assurred Destruction (I think that's the correct term.) If you send off your nuclear missiles we will strike back with equal or more force.

Where did pre-emption come into the picture.

Cecil Turner

"I don't pretend expertise on nuclear weaponry, but a nuclear bunker buster sounds to me like a tactical nuclear weapon. I think tactical nuclear weapons are a strategic mistake."

Your analysis is correct, but the premise is wrong. A nuclear "bunker buster" is designed to target national command bunkers (as opposed to, say, mountainside artillery caves). It's a strategic weapon, not tactical.

The old "MAD" concept was based on the ability to threaten "unacceptable" losses to the enemy population (usually given as ~25%). Obviously, however, that won't work against a fanatic dictator who doesn't mind losing 25% of his population--as long as he can hole up in a bombproof bunker and ride out the nuclear war.

The best argument against a "bunker buster" is that it's an attempt to provide a credible deterrent against an irrational strategy. However, there's considerable evidence to suggest a certain irrational dictator is pursuing exactly that strategy--and it may actually deter him. In any event, the argument that "if they were built, there'd be more chance of them being used" assumes an irrational US command authority, which isn't terribly convincing.

Cecil Turner

"Notice, never once have I mentioned WMD's nor the Humanity junk that wasn't even on the table until Bush screwed up the WMD argument."

And if the goal was rationalization, it'd be a pretty good case.

But if the goal is defending America against future attacks, the WMD/terrorist issue is by far the most important. The President's words are still correct:

"Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
Saddam's secret labs were quite capable of making anthrax, one kilogram of which, dropped over a major US city, could cause over 100,000 deaths (according to a mathematical model). Prisoners at Guantanamo indicated Iraq trained Al Qaeda members, and that Al Qaeda was looking to Iraq for help in manufacturing chem/bio weapons.

Those were the factors that went into the decision, which had to be made in real time based on imperfect real world intelligence . . . and it was the correct one. Post hoc damage control spin arguments are for armchair strategists. And decision paralysis waiting for airtight evidence on enemy intentions--to meet some future "global test"--is dangerously idiotic nonsense.

Henry

Cecil,
You are possible right in your argument that Saddam was interested in arming some terrorist group, but I think he would of done it against Isreal before he would risk all out war with the Neverthe less you are right about not waiting which only gives my "Global Test" all that more effective.

Sometimes it is not what you say, but the why you you say it that really matters in the world. I just know Bush stated an argument that even Miss. Rice said had flows in the story before it was even released to the public; however, I put alot of the blame on extremists like Rush and Hannity for their media blestcreek against anyone who asked for the same proof we require from Clinton as we went into Bosina.

Tim

"Notice, never once have I mentioned WMD's nor the Humanity junk that wasn't even on the table until Bush screwed up the WMD argument."

Bush, September 2002, UN presentation:

Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime's repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.
Powell, February 2003, UN presentation:

- Denial and Deception
- Biological Weapons
- Chemical Weapons
- Nuclear Weapons
- Delivery Systems
- Terrorism
- Human Rights Violations

Cecil Turner

"Sometimes it is not what you say, but the why you you say it that really matters in the world."

No argument. And if you want to say the Administration has been less than eloquent on the matter, I'd agree with that as well.

But Kerry's point seems to be that a decision on national defense depends on how you're going to spin it later. And that is, at best, foolish.

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Let's applaud Kerry for admitting (!!!) that he "mis-spoke" which, for all you hillbilly lefties out there, who "don't get it," means "lied" or "talked stupid" or "opened mouth, inserted foot."

The only reason Kerry can say he spoke wrong but Bush did wrong, is because Kerry was not in a position to do wrong. He wasn't Commander In Chief at the time, so all he could do, and all he seems to do, is "mis-speak."

Tim

The only reason Kerry can say he spoke wrong but Bush did wrong, is because Kerry was not in a position to do wrong.

For me, that is why his votes on the 1991 Gulf war, 1998 Iraq resolutions, 2003 Iraq use of force and 2004 $87 billion supplemental are so important.

That's the only way we can measure what he's done and what he might have done.

Henry Schlatman

Cecil,
If we use the premptive clause of international law we have to be able to spin our arguments so that we stand on the right side of the law. This is known as having creditable evidience before we make a move. If that means we have to send a special force team into harms way to get the proof we need than so be it.

For example, Bush41 used a premptive attack in Panama, but used some very fancy footwork (legal points) to prove we held the line of the law. Although there is some people who to this date still believe that Bush41 was wrong for doing so, they can not prove that America broke the international laws of premptive strikes. Now where we right in our actions before, during, and after the fact? I feel that history will have to work that one out due to our own involvement in the problems that lead up to the invasion, why it was exucuted, and our involvement since that date.

Cecil Turner

"If that means we have to send a special force team into harms way to get the proof we need than so be it."

If you need information, that'd certainly be an appropriate SpecOps mission. I could also see it if you wanted to persuade allies to join a coalition, or even to convince members of the UNSC to pass a resolution. But to "spin our arguments"? Is spin more important than men's lives?

You want to volunteer for that mission? I wouldn't. And if you had to write a letter to a bereaved wife or mother afterward would you tell the truth? Or lie your ass off? Because I suspect I'd choose the latter . . . which is a pretty good indicator the mission doesn't pass the sniff test.

Henry Schlatman

Cecil,
Putting anyone in harms way is not good if it can be avioded; nevertheless, sometimes we are required to do just that. Without going in to details, every operative of any countries intel units may have to required to cross the thin line of personal safety. However, if our country is at that much of a threat of being attacked is it worth the cost of a life?

To answer ypur question; Yes, I would volunteer for a mission if it was for a just cause. On writing a letter to the wife or mother, I would explain as much of the truth as I could without putting them in danger.

Spin of the truth is always easier to defend than trying to spin the lies that make up a case. For example, Bush was given the opportunity to level with the American public about the treatment of prisoners in Iraq before the pictures went public; however, his administration took a "Do Nothing Stance" and are still trying to spin their way out of the problem. One simple statement from Bush, "We did what we had to do" before hand would of held public opinion to a low rumble.

Cecil Turner

"Putting anyone in harms way is not good if it can be avioded; nevertheless, sometimes we are required to do just that."

I don't think that's in dispute. The question is whether spinning the case (after the decision) merits putting servicemen at extra risk. I contend it doesn't.

"One simple statement from Bush, "We did what we had to do" before hand would of held public opinion to a low rumble."

Except we didn't "do what we had to do." Some overexuberant idiots gave a group of deviant sadists free rein to play games. It wasn't necessary to the war effort, and certainly wasn't helpful.

Henry

My argument with the prisoner thing is why didn't someone with a pc just doctor the pictures up to begin with. By having your cell mate just suddenly disappear over screams of pain would make the next guy wonder what was in store for him. But I still say most Americans would of just blew the matter off if Bush would of said it was necessary to obtain certain information. I do know the American main media would of claiming it was in our national security interest.

Cecil Turner

"My argument with the prisoner thing is why didn't someone with a pc just doctor the pictures up to begin with."

Because it was evidence in a trial, and these idiots desperately deserve a court-martial. (So does their general, but that's another issue.)

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