Thursday, August 12, 2004

The authority to wage war

I like Adam Felber's take on this charge that Kerry is supposedly flip-flopping by defending his vote to give Bush the authorization needed to wage war in Iraq.

"Let's imagine that I have a son, a little nine year-old boy. Let's name him Thaddeus, too, because there's no harm in giving imaginary kids humiliating-but-undeniably-cute names.

So one summer afternoon, little Thad comes scampering into the house, trailed by the unmistakable sound of an ice cream truck's melody. "Dad," says Thad, "Can I get some some ice cream?"

"Why, of course, Thad," I say, remembering my youth and wanting only the best for young Thaddeus. He charges outside, yelling, "Ice cream! Ice cream!" I smile fondly at his retreating form...

Outside, young Thaddeus grabs a baseball bat, a sturdy Louisville Slugger, runs to the ice cream truck, and assaults the ice cream man. He beats him bloody, renders him unconscious, and ties him up in the back of the truck. Thad takes the ice cream truck for a 2 hour, reckless joyride, knocking over road-signs, terrorizing the neighborhood, squashing Mrs. Abram's dog, and traumatizing several local children for life. Thad finally runs the truck over a cliff, jumping out just in time before it plummets 200 feet onto a rocky beach, sending the ice cream man and all his tempting confections to a fiery doom.

Twenty minutes later, Thaddeus comes home, munching happily on a Chocolate Swirl-Kone with sprinkles. Immediately, I lay into him, lecturing him sternly, grounding him, and venting my extreme disapproval. Thad looks at me squarely and protests, "But Dad, you said I could get ice cream."

I'm nonplussed. He's got a point. Am I a flip-flopper?"

By saying that he still would have voted to give Bush the authority to wage war even knowing what we know today, Kerry is paying Bush an undeserved compliment. He is not saying that he would have supported going to war. Just that he still believes the president should have that as an option if he deems it necessary. Kerry was willing to give Bush that authority, but Bush misused it.

I said at the time that Bush was actually aiding the U.N. inspectors by threatening force against Saddam. Unfortunately, Bush had an itchy trigger finger and failed to play to diplomacy game the way his father did. Now we are paying the price.

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