Kerry on Iraq: Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Monday called the invasion of Iraq “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time” and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in his first White House term. Under pressure from some Democrats to change the subject from national security — regarded by many as President Bush’s strongest issue — Kerry tried to focus exclusively on the economy and other domestic topics at a neighborhood meeting but supporters raised Iraq.
The Massachusetts senator, who has said he would have voted to give Bush the authority to use force if necessary against Iraq even if he had known at the time that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, has struggled to draw clear contrasts with the president. “I would not have done just one thing differently than the president on Iraq, I would have done everything differently than the president on Iraq,” Kerry said. He denied that he was “Monday morning quarterbacking.”
“I said this from the beginning of the debate to the walk up to the war. I said, Mr. President don’t rush to war, take the time to build a legitimate coalition and have a plan to win the peace.” Kerry said Bush had failed on all three counts. He called the president’s talk about a coalition fighting alongside about 125,000 U.S. troops “the phoniest thing I’ve ever heard.” “You’ve about 500 troops here, 500 troops there and it’s American troops that are 90 percent of the combat casualties and it’s American taxpayers that are paying 90 percent of the cost of the war,” he said. “It’s the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
This strikes me as awfully desperate, given his previous tacit support for the war. Further, it’s a dangerous position for him to take with tens of thousands of American troops in harm’s way. Seven more Marines were killed today. Kerry leaves himself open to charges that he’s not supporting our troops.
If this is the best advice that the new campaign staff he’s hired (what is this, the fourth?) can give him, he might ought consider phoning Susan Estrich. I hear she’s got a tank lined up for him to ride in,–with one of those really cool helmets and everything.