Monday, September 27, 2004

Not a Flipflop

Yet another great explaination for why Kerry hasn't flipflopped on Iraq comes from Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig:
As with most Americans, at the start, Kerry supported the war in Vietnam. Unlike almost all Americans of privilege (see, e.g., George Bush and Dick Cheney), Kerry demonstrated his support by volunteering to serve in that war. But after his experience, he—as almost all Americans—came to believe that war was a mistake. Our government had lied to get us into the war; it had lied about its prosecution of the war. Based upon the facts, he changed his mind.

The same is true about the war on Iraq. As with most Americans, Kerry supported giving the President the authority to go to war. As with most Americans, Kerry expected the President would exercise that authority in a way that did not unnecessarily put America at risk. But after his experience, he—as with most Americans—came to believe that war was a mistake. Most of us believe our government lied to get us into the war; most believe it has lied about its prosecution of the war. Based upon the facts, Kerry is now critical of a war he supported at the start.

This is not flip-flopping. It is evidence of a functioning brain. When you learn that the premise of your action was false, you should rethink your action. When you learn that the premise of a war was false, you should rethink the justification for the war. Being stubborn in the face of reality doesn't make you principled. It makes you Chairman Mao.

Another good indicator of a functioning brain is that you recognize the fallacy of the "Kerry flipflopped on Iraq" argument. But then, we knew that the far right had sacrificed its brainpower to the altar of dittoheadedness long ago.

2 comments:

Randomscrub said...

DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?

JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today.

DS: So it was not worth it.

JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that depends on the leadership. And we need better leadership to get the job done successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American people — plain and simple. Bottom line.

DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?

JK: No.

DS: But right now it wasn’t [ … ? … ]–

JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that we’ve done what he’s — I mean look — we have to succeed. But was it worth — as you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? That’s the question. The test of the presidency was whether or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.

DS: But no way to get rid of him.

JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.

DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .

JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Diane Sawyer doesn't seem like an interview to strike fear into the heart of presidential candidates... His flipflop is on whether the war was worth it. He claims that we shouldn't have done it because it took attention away from Al Qaeda and it's messed up, but goes on to say that he does not believe it would be better if we had just left Iraq the way it was. He's trying to have it both ways. He knows he can't outright oppose any involvement in Iraq because while most of the US thinks we screwed up the execution, they still think we were right to go originally.

Anonymous said...

Quit calling me braindead. If you want to call specific people braindead, go ahead, just back it up. Don't lump me in with idiots.