Specifically, Bush asks, "What if John Kerry had been President instead of me?"
As anyone knows, this has implications for US policy toward Iraq. Indeed, this was the main theme of the President's recent campaign stops, as chronicled by the Washington Post:
President Bush charged on Friday that Saddam Hussein would still be ruling Iraq if John F. Kerry's view had prevailed, as the Bush campaign continued to press its case that Americans should not trust the Democratic presidential nominee to keep them safe...You want more, right?
"If he had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be a threat to the security and to the world," Bush said.
How about four more?
IAEA and other UN inspectors would have determined that Saddam Hussein was disarmed.Psssssssst: Kerry campaign, this is a frame you can use, with a little effort.
1000 mostly young Americans would be alive today.
American credibility on the world stage would not be devastated.
Al Qaeda might be in deep trouble, as resources would not have been diverted from Afghanistan/Pakistan to Iraq.
What we cannot have is this, also from the Post story:
Kerry, who voted to authorize force in Iraq but now calls it the "wrong war" and has had difficulty clarifying his view, has "more different positions than all his colleagues in the Senate combined," Bush added.It's time to run a commercial directly on-point to this argument. Here's my suggestion:
"I'm John Kerry and I approved this ad.Granted, it would take 2 minutes, but it would be cash well spent.
I want to take two minutes to explain my position on the war in Iraq because the President is doing his best to distort it.
In October 2002, I did vote to authorize the President to use force.
The intelligence community had produced what many saw as dramatic new evidence that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Most members of Congress thought the President should have the authority to use force against Saddam Hussein's regime -- if necessary.
However, as that resolution made clear, the Congress wanted the President to work with US friends and allies to build a large coalition to take on Saddam Hussein. Congress called on the President to work with the United Nations Security Council promptly and decisively to ensure that Iraq promptly complied with its past promises to disarm.
And that diplomatic approach was working. By March 19, 2003, when the President initiated the Iraq war, international weapons inspectors had already reported their free reign to inspect any suspicious facilities in Iraq. Inspectors accurately reported that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program.
Yet, the White House decided to ignore this new evidence.
In the war resolution, Congress authorized the President to use his judgment to determine if the US must use force against Iraq to protect the national security of the United States. Before going to war, the President was supposed to determine that diplomacy had failed.
The truth is that diplomacy had not failed by March 19, 2003, and I agreed with most diplomats at the UN and throughout the world that the unimpeded inspections should continue.
Inspectors were beginning to make it clear that Iraq did not pose an immediate threat to American security. In fact, to start this war, invaluable intelligence assets and special forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan and Pakistan where they were critically needed. Worse, it turns out that virtually all the intelligence the administration had trumpeted over the previous months was almost completely wrong.
It is obvious President Bush made a horrible error in judgment by invading a country that posed no immediate threat to America. He started the wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place.
I do not claim that I knew all this in October 2002, when I voted at the President's request to give him the authority to use force if necessary.
However, I do claim that I would have known better than to leap into a regrettable war in March 2003.
The war on terror is going to be a long and difficult fight. It is critical that your President makes the right choices along the way. President Bush has already committed one tremendous error in judgment. Do we want to give him the chance to make another?