News Release

Kerry’s Judgement Questioned Because of Pro-War Vote

The New York Times is reporting: “President Obama plans to nominate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, a senior administration official said. He would succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton and become the first member of Mr. Obama’s second-term national security team.”

STEPHEN ZUNES [email]
Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said today: “John Kerry’s attacks on the International Court of Justice, his defense of Israeli occupation policies and human rights violations, and his support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq raise serious questions about his commitment to international law and treaty obligations. His false claims of Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and his repeated denial of human rights abuses by allied government well-documented by reputable monitoring groups raise serious questions about his credibility. …

“Kerry’s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq was not simply a matter of poor judgment. It demonstrated a dismissive attitude toward fundamental principles of international law, and disdain for the United Nations Charter and international treaties which prohibit aggressive war. Kerry revealed a willingness to either fabricate a non-existent threat or naively believe transparently false and manipulated intelligence claiming such a threat existed, ignoring a plethora of evidence from weapons inspectors and independent arms control analysts who said that Iraq had already achieved at least qualitative disarmament.” Zunes wrote the piece: “While Criticizing Implementation, Kerry Endorses Bush’s Unilateralist Agenda.”

SAM HUSSEINI [email]
Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: “Kerry’s reported nomination continues a pattern: Barack Obama, who originally got the Democratic nomination in 2008 based largely on his having given a speech critical of the Iraq invasion before it took place (though he didn’t have to vote on it) has without fail appointed individuals to top foreign policy positions who voted for or otherwise backed the invasion. This includes Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Robert Gates as well as Chuck Hagel, who is reportedly under consideration to head up the Pentagon. There were 23 senators and 133 representatives who voted against giving Bush authorization. Diplomats who resigned in protest against the invasion, such as Ann Wright, have remained outside of government — and critical of it.”

“Particularly noteworthy are the contortions individuals like Kerry have gone through. For example, when I questioned him 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.’ [Video at WashingtonStakeout] 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.’”

Background — John Kerry: “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. …” (Oct. 9, 2002) See 2008 IPA news release: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?