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You know what they say, you know the lie is bad (certainly not “unbelievably small“) when the reliably liberal Washington Post gives you four – count ‘em – four Pinocchios for fibbing about your position on possible war with Iraq. Glenn Kessler writes:
You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.”
— Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in an interview with MSNBC, Sept. 5, 2013
This is at least the second time since becoming secretary that Kerry has asserted that he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq while serving as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts. The first time the Kerry made this claim, during a student forum in Ethiopia, his statement mysteriously disappeared from the official State Department transcript.
But then he said it again, on television, also dragging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel into the mix. So let’s take a trip back in time and see what Kerry actually said in 2003.
By the time of the March invasion, after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s United Nations presentation on Iraq’s alleged weapons, Kerry backed the attack, according to articles that appeared in the Boston Globe (and which were written by one of his current aides at the State Department).
“It appears that with the deadline for exile come and gone, Saddam Hussein has chosen to make military force the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism,” Kerry said. “If so, the only exit strategy is victory. This is our common mission and the world’s ca11use. We’re in this together. We want to complete the mission while safeguarding our troops, avoiding innocent civilian casualties, disarming Saddam Hussein, and engaging the community of nations to rebuild Iraq,” he said.
Kerry criticized what he called “a failure of diplomacy of a massive order” but told gthe Globe that if he were president, he may not have been able to avoid war.
Similarly, Hagel — who later also emerged as a harsh critic of the administration’s handling of the war — voted for the 2002 resolution and also supported the invasion.
For Kerry, the uncomfortable fact remains that he voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq, he believed the intelligence that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he said there was little choice but to launch an invasion to disarm him. Kerry may have been highly critical of Bush’s diplomatic efforts in advance of the invasion, but that is not the same thing as opposing the war when it started.
It’s time for the secretary to stop making this claim. In trying to make a distinction between his vote to authorize the war and his later dismay at how it turned out, Kerry earns Four Pinocchios.
Facts are pesky little things, aren’t they? Especially to Democrats.