The Bush campaign has been flogging Kerry for being a flip-flopper so it was rather refreshing to see an article by CBSNews.com Chief Political Writer David Paul Kuhn on Bush’s Top Ten Flip-Flops:
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Announcing the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, Mr. Bush said, “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
Two months into the war, on May 29, 2003, Mr. Bush said weapons of mass destruction had been found.
“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories,” Mr. Bush told Polish television. “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.”
On Sept. 9, 2004, in Pennsylvania, Mr. Bush said: “I recognize we didn’t find the stockpiles [of weapons] we all thought were there.”
Nation Building and the War in Iraq
During the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush argued against nation building and foreign military entanglements. In the second presidential debate, he said: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’”
The United States is currently involved in nation building in Iraq on a scale unseen since the years immediately following World War II.
During the 2000 election, Mr. Bush called for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the NATO peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. His administration now cites such missions as an example of how America must “stay the course.”
In the interests of balance they also have an article on Kerry’s Top Ten Flip-Flops:
Senate’s Role In Wars With Iraq
Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in January 1991, Kerry broke with the majority of senators and voted against authorizing the first Gulf War. He said on the Senate floor, “It is a vote about war because whether or not the president exercises his power, we will have no further say after this vote.”
Kerry thus voted against war after Iraq took aggressive military action. He said a vote in favor of military action was tantamount to giving Congress “no further say” on the war.
In October 2002, he supported the current war in Iraq, despite the fact that Iraq took no aggressive action against its neighbors.
In announcing his candidacy for president, in September 2003, he said his October 2002 vote was simply “to threaten” the use of force, apparently backtracking from his belief in 1991 that such a vote would grant the president an open-ended ticket to wage war.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now…
“We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today,” Kerry said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Knowing there was no imminent threat to America, knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, knowing there was no connection of Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda, I would not have gone to war. That’s plain and simple.”
But on Aug. 9, 2004, when asked if he would still have gone to war knowing Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, Kerry said: “Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.” Speaking to reporters at the edge of the Grand Canyon, he added: “[Although] I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has.”
The Kerry campaign says voting to authorize the war in Iraq is different from deciding diplomacy has failed and waging war. But Kerry’s nuanced position has contradicted itself on whether it was right or wrong to wage the war.
In May 2003, at the first Democratic primary debate, John Kerry said his vote authorizing the president to use force was the “right decision” though he would have “preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity.”
But then in January 2004, Kerry began to run as anti-war candidate, saying, “I don’t believe the president took us to war as he should have.”
Personally I’m very tired of all the Flip-Flopping Finger Pointing going on by both sides. Any intelligent leader will change his mind on an issue when presented with new facts or information that give good cause to rethink his position. The issue shouldn’t be whether or not a candidate should change his mind about something so much as why a candidate changed his mind. Both Kerry and Bush are guilty of changing their positions depending on which way the political wind was blowing at the time so neither of them really have much cause to accuse the other of being a flip-flopper. I really wish they’d shut the hell up about it and focus on what they plan to do in the next four years instead.