Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Ooh, more red meat for the base: a senator has come swinging in favor of war with Iraq. And he pulls no punches. U.N. Security Council? We don't need their permission. Allies? France wants to make oil deals with Iraq. Critics? They need to back off, especially those folks making silly distinctions in order to criticize the president. Preach it, brother:
The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. (Richard) Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war.
I mean, as Tom Friedman said in a great article the other day, France Inc. wants to do business with oil and they are moving in the exact sort of opposite direction on their own from the very cause of the initial conflict, which was oil.... I think a lot of us are very disappointed that the French haven't joined us in a number of other efforts with respect to China, with respect to other issues in Asia and elsewhere and also in Europe. These are, this is a disaprpointment. But the fact is this. The president has, in effect, put military action on the table. Secretary (Richard) Cohen canceled his trip, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff canceled a trip, troops are deployed, the aircraft carriers are being brandished. There's no misunderstanding here about where the United States is prepared to go and I think that people need to just sort of back off. It's funny how in Washington inevitably there are always distinctions to be found, even if they're only at the margins here, and I would suggest that if all we're doing is suggesting that the president needs to be doing some diplomacy behind-the-scenes, that's not a bad criticism because he's obviously doing that behind the scenes.
Oh wait, that was John Kerry, in 1997.

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