SAM HUSSEINI, samhusseini at gmail.com, @samhusseini
Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: “Last night, John Kerry told Chris Hayes on MSNBC that he and Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel ‘opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq...’ This is a total lie — and it covers up the fact that the administration is full of people, including Kerry and Hagel, who themselves falsely claimed Iraq had WMDs and backed the invasion of that country.
“In 2002, John Kerry voted for the Iraq war authorization, saying: ‘Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try? … According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons … Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents.’
“When I questioned Kerry in 2011 about voting to authorize the Iraq war, he said: ‘I didn’t vote for the Iraq war. I voted to give the president authority that he misused and abused. And from the moment he used it, I opposed that.’ [see video at 2:30] However, a look at the record shows that after the Iraq invasion, Kerry did the opposite, outflanking Bush’s war stance in 2003: ‘I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy.'” See CNN “Kerry stands by ‘yes’ vote on Iraq war.”
“It’s no wonder we’re getting so much propaganda on Syria from this administration. While President Obama continues to try to score points for one speech he gave that was critical of the Iraq war before it started, making false statements about Iraqi WMDs seems to have been a prerequisite for being picked for a top post. During the buildup to the Iraq war Joseph Biden also voted for war stating: “[Saddam Hussein] possesses chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons.” Susan Rice told NPR: “I think he [then Secretary of State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.”
“Some supporters of bombing Syria voted against the Iraq authorization, but made similar false claims, like Nancy Pelosi: ‘Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that.’ Of course individuals like John McCain continued making statements about Iraqi WMDs after the invasion: ‘I remain confident that we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.’
“Kerry also remarked last night that ‘we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given’ is quite ironic, since we already know he has made false statements about Syria and WMDs — and it ignores that 23 senators voted against the Iraq war authorization. So, it’s easy for Jon Stewart to make fun of the Donald Rumsfeld et al ‘idiot parade‘ — but that just distracts from the real point: How the entire foreign policy hierarchy of both establishment parties is addicted to falsifying for war.”
STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu
Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, Zunes just wrote the piece “Eight Arguments Against Going to War With Syria.” He warned in “The Case Against Kerry,” when Kerry was nominated for Secretary of State: “In 2002, he voted against an unsuccessful resolution authorizing the president to use force against Iraq only if the United Nations Security Council permitted such force under the UN Charter and instead voted for an alternative Republican resolution, which authorized President Bush to invade that oil-rich country unilaterally in violation of the UN Charter.
“The October 2002 war resolution backed by Kerry was not like the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution regarding Vietnam, where there was no time for reflection and debate. Kerry had been briefed by the chief UN weapons inspector and by prominent scholars of the region, who informed him of the likely absence of any of the alleged ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and the likely consequences of a U.S. invasion, but he voted to authorize the invasion anyway. It was not a ‘mistake’ or a momentary lapse of judgment. It demonstrated Kerry’s dismissive attitude toward fundamental principles of international law and international treaties that prohibit aggressive war.
“Kerry and his supporters claim he does not really reject international law. They note that, in voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq, Kerry stated at that time that he expected President Bush ‘to work with the United Nations Security Council and our allies … if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force.’ He then promised that if President Bush failed to do so, ‘I will be the first to speak out.’
“However, Senator Kerry broke that promise. When President Bush abandoned his efforts to gain United Nations Security Council authorization for the war in late February 2003 and pressed forward with plans for the invasion without a credible international coalition, Kerry remained silent. Indeed, when President Bush actually launched the invasion soon afterwards, Senator Kerry praised him, co-sponsoring a Senate resolution declaring that the invasion was ‘lawful and fully authorized by the Congress’ and that he ‘commends and supports the efforts and leadership of the President … in the conflict with Iraq.'”