How Kerry can explain his votes on Iraq

Many folks (especially pundits, Howard Dean, and right-wingers) seem to think that Kerry’s votes on Iraq mean that he cannot legitimately criticise Bush on the subject. I think that’s utter nonsense. Here’s one way he could answer those critics. I realise that this text may be a bit too strong — after all, only 20% of Americans actually believe that Bush lied, while another 35% think he merely “exaggerated”. Nevertheless what follows seems to me to be an entirely self-consistent position for Kerry to take:
“I voted to authorize the 2nd Gulf War because I believed the case that the Administration had presented, that Saddam Hussein represented a clear and present danger to the United States. The idea that the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the National Security Adviser, and the Secretary of Defense would mislead the Congress and the people over such a crucial matter was something that never even entered my head. What kind of man would undertake a pre-emptive and unilateral war, and would order American troops into battle, to kill and be killed, to slaughter Iraqi civilians, to destroy our standing among the United Nations, and to dramatically increase the likelihood of terrorism against ourselves and our allies, without incontrovertible evidence?
Yet, tragically, I was wrong. The President had no such evidence. His own Intelligence staff warned him of this. Whether you consider him guilty of deliberate lying or merely of exaggerated and wishful thinking, the fact is that the President did not tell us the truth. He misled us in order to persuade us to support an unjust war, a war unconnected to the tragedy of 9/11, and a war which, according to members of his own Cabinet, he had decided to fight as long ago as January, 2001. I trusted the President — we all did — and he abused that trust”

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