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September 24, 2004



Mr. Maguire,

Regarding the transcript, are you saying you think the transcript that is floating about might be forged or not accurate?

There is part of it I can vouch for. This part at a minimum is absolutely as it happened:

"That's very strong language. And it also references the underlying resolution on which the use of force is based. So clearly the allies may not like it, and I think that's our great concern -- where's the backbone of Russia, where's the backbone of France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity, but in a sense, they're now climbing into a box and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq."

I know this because I just watched Kerry saying it. It is part of the 11 minute video that the Republicans threw together earlier this year.

Brian Carnell

"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?"

No, they did not both do Crossfire in 1997. The funny thing was that the Washington Times idiot claiming there aren't transcripts of 1997 Crossfire available. What a Ma-moonie.


Brian Carnell

"No, they did not both do Crossfire in 1997."

I meant to say they did not both do Crossfire again in 1997 other than that Nov. appearance. Or if they did, it's not indexed in Lexis.


Notice what the Washington Times actually says in that article: "While no "Crossfire" transcripts from 1997 are available, Mr. King in recent days produced a tape of the show, sharing it with New York radio host Monica Crowley for broadcast, and this Inside the Beltway column for publication. Stay tuned" They are apparently quoting from a tape they have.

Scott Criss

This is my humble read on the subject. The Wash Times quote isn't attributed to anyone directly. The most likely explanation is that the quote is Pete King's paraphrase (or more accurately, his distillation) of what Kerry said. In other words, the quoted material is fake, but accurate.

A review of the transcript (which is on Lexis, but which the WT inexplicably says is unavailable) demonstrates that Kerry the thrust of Kerry's answers has been distilled into the quote in the WT, most likely by King.

As for your inability to find the money quote, "...we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action...", I believe its nuanced version is contained here, in Kerry's answer to Sununu's question about Clinton's failure to gain the support of France, Russia and China:

"KERRY: Well, John, there's absolutely no statement that they have made or that they will make that will prevent the United States of America and this president or any president from acting in what they believe are the best interests of our country."

Of course, everything Kerry said is heavily nuanced, so there is complete deniability for the entire exchange. Kerry can and will claim that none of what he said should suggest that it has any applicability to the exact same situation in 2003.


I find it interesting that Senator Kerry expected
Saddam Hussein to pay the price for a war which
the good Senator himself voted against. How could
Kerry NOT CONDEMN raw agression, but authorize Bush
to go to war to avenge G.H.W.Bush's honor? I'm
afraid I've lost myself in all this nuance.

From the transcript:

KERRY: On the contrary. The administration is leading. The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war.


"UPDATE: Brain Carnell provides a transcript as well, and wonders whether the Washington Times has heard of "Lexis"."

The part that gets me is that the Washington Times article says that King shared the tape with McCaslin.

The burden of proof right now, I think, is on McCaslin to prove what he says is said on that tape.

But it would not shock me if the transcript that Nexis-Lexis has is not quite right. (Nor would it shock me if his 'quotations' were paraphrases).

Time will tell-- release the tapes! From his tease at the end of that part of his article, it sounds like that is to come.


The audio of Kerry's remarks were played today on the Sean Hannity radio show -- in my recollection they match the transcript published by the Washington Times in their "correction".

Toby Petzold

Tom, I got hoodwinked on that story, too. But, then, I went ahead and fisked what Kerry did say. (Bad language alerts all around; sorry.)

I'll bet it's true that McCaslin or King or some other lackey between them paraphrased Kerry, but the Freepers had that same "paraphrase" up back in March. So it's been lying around, mouldering.

Anyhow, it's an object lesson to be learned from. There's been a lack of that lately.


Toby, can you find any such link where it was mouldering around on Free Republic? Google does not find any such occurrence:


Toby Petzold

Gerry, the one I Googled up is at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1092985/posts. Just put in the keywords Kerry+crossfire+1997

Helping Hand

Playing it safe proves to have been a good policy: it seems, going to the link provided, that the Washington Times has now retracted the statement. The 11-minute video Gerry mentions, which does indeed include a clip from late 1997 with Kerry on Crossfire, is also available at GeorgeWBush.com.

In plain fact, the misquoted claim is practically aside from the point: what's in the 11-minute video history of Kerry's positions on the war in Iraq is quite damning enough on its own. Kerry was accusing Iraq of being a big problem that might need ground troops to solve back when Clinton was still in office. If that's not pre-emptive, what is?

The greatest irony of all: the video ends with Dan Rather, of all people, questioning Kerry about voting for the war, but against the funding for it. Kerry's reply: "That's not a flip-flop. That's not a flip-flop!"

I sometimes wonder if Kerry ever secretly feels any grim satisfaction seeing how Rather's twisting in the wind now. And whether Rather secretly feels that way about Kerry.

Lynxx Pherrett

The Washington Times has issued a correction at the URL you linked to:

Due to erroneous information from Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, an item in the Inside the Beltway column in yesterday's editions incorrectly quoted Sen. John Kerry in a 1997 appearance on CNN's "Crossfire" as arguing for a unilateral, pre-emptive war against Iraq.
In reference to a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding access to Iraqi weapons sites, Mr. Kerry actually said: "I think that's our great concern [-] where's the backbone of Russia, where's the backbone of France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity [-] but in a sense, they're now climbing into a box and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq."
Later, referring to French and Russian reservations on the use of force, Mr. Kerry said: "There's absolutely no statement that they have made or that they will make that will prevent the United States of America and this president or any president from acting in what they believe are the best interests of our country."


I'll be darned.

And that Freeper link from March 8, 2004 looks exactly like yesterdays Wash Times story. Recycling March press releases? Hmm, maybe Peter King is trying to re-ignite this "story".

Secondly, Newsmax had a story in March based on different out-of-context quotes from the same Crossfire interview. The Monica Crowley radio broadcast was the guiding light then.

Is Ms. Crowley re-issuing old press releases?


It all comes clear! Re-reading the Freeper link from MArch 8 (GREAT work finding that, Toby!) the original story was this:

During a 1997 debate on CNN's "Crossfire," Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry made the case for launching a pre-emptive attack against Iraq, according to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who appeared with Kerry on the program.

King recounted the debate for WABC Radio's Monica Crowley on Saturday, recalling that at the time, the U.N. Security Council had just adopted a resolution against Iraq that had been watered down at the behest of the French and the Russians.

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."

"Crossfire" transcripts from 1997 are no longer available, but King said he'd share a copy of the Kerry tape with Crowley, who said she looked forward to broadcasting it. Stay tuned.

Emphasis added. That strikes me as a clear hint that King is simply paraphrasing Kerry.


The 97/98 blowback from the UN was pretty severe, especially after Clinton fired up Operation Desert Fox to punish Iraq for inspection violations. Four days of heavy bombing resulted in massive protests, the Russians recalling their US ambassador (something they had never done before, even during the cold war), and worse. The French, Russians and Chinese all moved to lift sanctions entirely, and we were only able to avoid that by agreeing to replaceme the aggressive UNSCOM inspection regime with the weak (verify-only) UNMOVIC regime, and even that only passed because the F/R/C coalition abstained in the final security council vote.

People like to talk about how badly GW has pissed on foreign relations, how bad he was at coalition building, etc., while 97/98 prove that the supposedly magnificent Clinton was far worse at this stuff.

Oh yeah, look for the highlight reels of the CNN Town Hall with Albright and Cohen and the rest. The administrations have changed, but the anti-war crowd did not.


...Clinton was far worse at this stuff...

This statement is objectively and undeniably insane.


Clinton was indeed far worse at this stuff.

Here is your homework: how many nations stood up as supporters for Operation Desert Fox versus this one? Clinton could only assemble about ~15% of the "coalition", and that was for a smaller mission with a narrower objective.

That's just one example. Next we'll study the Middle East response to the two missions (including the forced airlift evactuation of US embassies that were overtaken in riots during Desert Fox).


Lol. How many nations stood up as supporters for Clinton changing his underwear comparing to Bush destroying and occupying Iraq while killing 50,000 people in the process, inflaming the ME and pretty much the rest of the world? Clearly fewer, if any. Clinton couldn't even convince Solomon Islands to support his changing his underwear. QED. I got it.


Of course you dismiss ODF as inconsequential next to OIF. On the other hand, the negative response to ODF was much higher so it would seem that it was not quite so inconsequential. Russia recalled their ambassador in protest, the ME riots were more severe, King Abdullah of Jordan went on international TV to beg Clinton to stop the bombing... but sure, the liberal script says that ODF was inconsequential and should not be used as a comparison point. I got it.

All the metrics you want to use to show that Bush 43 was miserable in comparison to Bush 41 can also be applied to Clinton. Clinton comes in last.

Assistant Village Idiot

You lost me, abb1. I can't fit the various statements together. However, I do know that the number 50,000 is an enormous overestimate. Not only is the real number closer to 10,000, but most of those were Iraqi comabatants, and civilians killed by the Iraqis. The number of civilians unintentionally killed by US forces is saddening but small.


Toby, thanks.

From that I was able to trace it back at least to this report from Newsmax, which said the source was (again) King and Crowley.


What I don't get is, Kerry's statements are bad enough. Why does King feel the need to enhance or embellish? That's the same shit that got Kerry into trouble with his Cambodia fable.


TM, good find on the Newsmax piece, but this one from them is even earlier.

capt joe

yes, abb1 is prone to to hyperbole, 50K or 10K, what's the difference to him. So long as it is a chance to trash americans.


The number of dead Iraqi civilians is estimated between 10 and 37 thousand people. Plus Iraqi military - who are exactly as innocent as civilians because they were defending their country against illegal military foreign invasion. Plus the coalition cannon fodder and various foreign contractors, truck drivers and so on. Over 50K easily.

Probably at least a quarter of a million injured. Not to mention depleted uranium, cluster bombs still laying around and so on.

Cecil Turner

"Plus Iraqi military - who are exactly as innocent as civilians . . ."

Would that make all US military personnel war criminals by any chance?

"Not to mention depleted uranium, cluster bombs still laying around and so on."

You forgot bullets. Bullets with lead in them. O the horror!



So, conscripts are innocent? So glad to hear that: Soviet conscripts in Afghanistan, Chinese conscripts in Vietnam, Nazi conscripts in France and the USSR, all to be viewed as "exactly as innocent as civilians."

Does this make them equal to, say, Jews on a bus in Haifa?

More to the point, what does this make bystanders to a car bomb on the streets of Baghdad?

Moral equals?

BTW, I take it that Uday and Qusay, having died "defending their country again stillegal military foreign invasion" are also to be considered innocents? Or perhaps even morally enlightened?

But, be careful abb1. With that "logic," killing insurgents, who are not drafted but doing so by choice, becomes less morally reprehensible. Whether they are fighting in defense of their nation or to drive out invaders, they have CHOSEN to do so, and on that little moral scale of yours, undoubtedly have lost some of their sanctity.

Small wonder that the EUropeans today can field no meaningful militaries. Those forces would be innocents, and those who would dispatch them would be guilty, undoubtedly, of war crimes, for putting innocents' lives in danger.

Whatever will John Kerry do to obtain troops from NATO, then?

Ah, the Left. One can obtain such moral clarity, I suppose, only through their thought process!


I thought I made it clear: both professional military and conscripts are innocent and heroic when they fight a just war. In this particular case they were defending their country against illegal foreign invasion; I can't imagine a more righteous cause than that. What does it have to do with Soviet conscripts in Afghanistan and the rest of it?

Jon Henke

Tom: While that quote may be apocryphal, it's not exactly inaccurate. It fairly reflects his positions around that time quite well. You'll recall he sent Clinton a letter expressing the belief that we had all the justification and legitimacy to attack Iraq, regardless of UNSC/international opinion.

Toby Petzold

At any rate, this just goes to show that the blogosphere is its own best ombudsman. I don't know who said it (probably Reynolds or one of the guys at the Power Line), but, for all the chaos and decentralization of the blogosphere, the successful bloggers are the ones who cop to their mistakes right away. Their credibility depends on it. No Friday afternoon news dumps in real time, baby! No half-inch "corrections" at the bottom of A-2 the next week, either.

Glad to pitch in, gents.


you make it sound like he was urging Clinton to invade and occupy Iraq, but, according to your link, the letter said:

"we urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraq sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."

This seems to be entirely consistent with everything else he's said. It's not "his position around that time", it's his position, period.



Simple questions:

Were Uday and Qusay "innocent and heroic"? They died defending their country.

Are the Iraqi civilians killed by the current spate of car bombs to be considered morally equivalent to the people who are setting off the car bombs? Especially since the people setting off the car bombs CHOOSE to immolate themselves, but the people in the streets have not been consulted?

Cecil Turner

"I thought I made it clear: both professional military and conscripts are innocent and heroic when they fight a just war."

Yes, but you don't consider the Iraq invasion a just war. Do you? And if it isn't, are the US servicemen involved war criminals? Or maybe willing or unwilling accomplices?


Uday and Qusay were criminals who managed to die heroically and righteously - thanks to the US misguided policy. Same as, say, Stalin's henchmen who died defending their country in the WWII. Or Afghan warlords who fought the Russians in the 1980s.

I am not sure what exactly you're asking in regards to the car bombs.

Jon Henke
This seems to be entirely consistent with everything else he's said.
It might help to note the utter paucity of UNSC and international support for that action, at that time. It was roundly condemned, barely supported, and finally useless. (not in the sense that it did not destroy WMD program facilities....it may have...but in the sense that we really had no idea, at the time, whether it was effective or not. It certainly didn't end the problem.)


Thus, the Khmer Rouge who died fighting off the Vietnamese in 1979 died "heroically and righteously." They may have been criminals, they may have committed genocide, but they were fighting in defense of their nation, and the Vietnamese were in the wrong to have invaded.

Thus, the Serbians in Kosovo (a part of Serbia) were in the right to have fought, and it was NATO, bereft of UN authority, that was in the wrong. Every Serbian militiaman, no matter how many Kosovars he had killed, is now dying "heroically and righteously."

As I said earlier, thank you for the lesson in moral clarity.


Jon, I agree. But that's a different discussion.

One could argue that the action made sense along the lines of Bush's usual rhetoric of 'showing that we are serious', that 'there are consequences' - but without invading and occupying the country, killing thousands of innocent people, wasting hundreds of billions dollars, creating training ground for terrorists and so on.


I think the Vietnamese invasion was one of the very few that could actually be justified on humanitarian grounds. Not so sure about Serbia.

But you're just obfuscating here. There was no genocide or anything even remotely approaching it in 2003 Iraq. There were no humanitarian grounds for the invasion.

Cecil Turner

"There was no genocide or anything even remotely approaching it in 2003 Iraq."

That's funny. Your philosophical "Band of Brothers," in a web site called: "American/British Terrorism and Genocide of the Iraqi People, 1991-2003," first repeat many of your talking points:

cowardly American and British pilots (and to a lesser extent French and Saudi pilots) mass-murdered at least 200,000 people, using depleted uranium missiles, napalm, cluster-bombs, fuel-air bombs, cruise missiles and other so-called "smart bombs".
And then claim the genocide was ongoing, using casualty calculations that also look a lot like yours:
Slow Genocide by Economic Sanctions [. . .]In the years since that carnage, the United Nations estimates that over one million Iraqi civilians--including 600,000 children below the age of five--have died as a result of American sanctions alone. This is a conservative estimate.


Not sure what your point is here. If you wanted to stop killing people by sanctions, all you had to do is to modify or end the sanctions.

Cecil Turner

"Not sure what your point is here."

Reductio ad Absurdum--your assertions are self-contradictory.

In this particular case, to meet your humanitarian requirements, we not only have to not invade Iraq, but must remove sanctions. But sanctions (and threat of invasion) are the only things keeping Saddam's WMD programs in check. (Which even the most sympathetic analyses said were merely dormant, to be rebuilt after the threat passed.)

In any event, it's hard to see how we'd get a more clear-cut case than a brutal dictator who'd started two wars, ran two simultaneous genocidal campaigns (Kurds and Marsh Arabs), and used chemical weapons in warfare and on his own people. Especially after he'd failed to abide by the previous cease-fire, flouted seventeen Chapter VII UNSC resolutions, and had a US law passed requiring regime change. The contention that deposing him was unlawful, while defending him was heroic, requires a particulary acute form of moral myopia.


Well, maybe instead of helping him commit those genocidal campaigns you should've told him to stop back 15 years ago when it happened.

If you consider invading and occupying a country and killing tens of thousands of its people an adequate response to something that was done a couple of decades ago with your assistance - you're too far out to have a rational discussion with. Which we've already established a while ago.

As far as the sanction - first of all, I said modify or end them. Sanctions are usually applied with a purpose to change someone's behavior. Having both sanctions and the 'regime change' policy - as they did in Iraq - doesn't make any sense.

Also, you contradict your standard talking points here: oil-for-food - remember? He had more than enough money to have any WMD programs, but he didn't.

Cecil Turner

"Well, maybe instead of helping him commit those genocidal campaigns you should've told him to stop back 15 years ago when it happened."

Ah yes, if we could only time warp back to a decade or so ago to appease an aggressive dictatorship, everything would be fine. And the US military "helped" with "genocide." Very sensible position.

"you're too far out to have a rational discussion with. "

Well, you'd certainly be qualified as an expert on that score.

"He had more than enough money to have any WMD programs, but he didn't."

Better recheck your facts. There's no doubt he had programs . . . what we can't seem to find are any "stockpiles". Which isn't, of course, the same thing.


And the US military "helped" with "genocide."

Military? Who said anything about 'US military'? If you can't respond without distorting and twisting - why respond at all. Not only do you lose the argument but also embarrass yourself.

Cecil Turner

"Military? Who said anything about 'US military'?"

Okay, maybe you can explain what you meant by:

Well, maybe instead of helping him commit those genocidal campaigns you should've . . .
Because the only way I "helped" was as a member of the US military.

Brian Duffy

All wrong:

Yup, lets glorify the war. Lets not show the carnage. Idiot.

Check this movie:

Cecil Turner

"Yup, lets glorify the war."

You mean like giving a cheesy salute and saying "reporting for duty" at campaign stops? Or replaying Vietnam "glories" at the national convention? Yup, idiotic all right.

But it's not glorifying war to point out that holding aloft a piece of paper and declaring "peace in our time" doesn't make it so. In fact, appeasing dictators makes war more likely, and more destructive when it finally arrives. And all the nattering peaceniks who'd rather wring hands than take necessary action (or worse, help coordinate totalitarian regimes' propaganda efforts) actually cause more of the horrors they claim to abhor.

Why don't you go peddle your moral platitudes to the people unearthing mass graves in Iraq . . . or better yet, tell the mothers of the last couple of people Uday and Qusay killed why it took 12 years to enforce the Gulf War cease-fire. Santayana said it best: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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