Monday, October 25, 2004

22 Questions for John Kerry. No Answers.

In this Washington Post piece, Bob Woodward outlines 22 questions he wanted to ask John Kerry.

On Sept. 1, Kerry began his intense criticism of Bush's decisions in the Iraq war, saying "I would've done almost everything differently." A few days later, I provided the Kerry campaign with a list of 22 possible questions based entirely on Bush's actions leading up to the war and how Kerry might have responded in the same situations. The senator and his campaign have since decided not to do the interview, though his advisers say Kerry would have strong and compelling answers.

Here are some samples:

2. The CIA was asked in late 2001 to do a "lessons learned" study of past covert operations in Iraq and concluded that the CIA alone could not overthrow Saddam Hussein and that a military operation would be required. The CIA soon became an advocate for military action.

Questions: How can such advocacy be avoided? The CIA argued that a two-track policy -- negotiations at the U.N. and covert action -- made their sources inside Iraq believe the United States was not serious about overthrowing Saddam. Can that be avoided? How can diplomacy and covert action be balanced?

3. In January 2002 President Bush gave his famous "axis of evil" speech singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as threats.

Questions: Was this speech too undiplomatic? How would a President Kerry frame the issues and relations with Iran and North Korea? Do you consider these two countries part of an axis of evil now?

Woodward sets up his questions in such a way that Kerry would have been afforded a great opportunity to level some serious criticism at the president. And yet Kerry declined to answer a single question. (Though his advisers assure us his answers would be "strong and compelling.")

Could it be that Kerry simply didn't have any answers? ("I have a plan" isn't a valid foreign policy.) Or that if he had done the interview it would have been abundantly clear that this little emperor has no clothes?


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