Now Mr. Kerry says that Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." What does that mean? He says that Mr. Bush should have given the weapons inspectors more time to work. But once they reported that they had found no caches, would Mr. Kerry's view of the dangers of leaving Saddam Hussein "to his own devices" have changed? And if not, how would he have handled what he described as the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his possible ties to terrorists?
Mr. Kerry says he would lead U.S. policy in Iraq in a new direction. That would consist of persuading allies to pay more of the costs and assume more of the risks of occupation; and training more Iraqi soldiers and police officers and training them faster and better. This would be "the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home." But allies are not going to shoulder this burden; they are falling short even in Afghanistan, a war they supported from the start. It's not clear how Iraqis can be trained faster or better than Gen. David H. Petraeus is doing now. And Mr. Kerry no longer says what "the job" really means.
At this point, the candidate seems to be trying to give the impression that he is opposed to the war, without actually saying so. He talks about bringing troops home in six months but resists pressure, including within his own campaign, to commit to such a withdrawal. It is to his credit that he resists taking such an irresponsible position. But his stance does not help Americans understand where he would really lead the nation and U.S. troops in Iraq.
Monday, September 13, 2004
The Washington Post is not happy with Mr. Kerry's sliding positions on Iraq.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:30 AM