John Kerry once referred to the nations who George Bush built into Coalition partners for Operation Iraqi Freedom as the “Coalition of the coerced and the bribed” and “window dressing”.
Marc Thiessen in yesterday’s WaPo on “I was against it before I was for it” John “Global Test” Kerry:
When John Kerry ran for president in 2004, he dismissed the allies fighting alongside the United States in Iraq as a “trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.”
Now, as secretary of state, Kerry is going hat-in-hand to many of the same nations he insulted, asking them to join a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
No wonder he’s having so much trouble.
As Kerry lobbies potential coalition partners at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York this week, it is worth recalling how he offended the 30-plus nations that sent ground troops to fight alongside us in Iraq — including the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia, Romania, South Korea, Japan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Thailand, El Salvador, Hungary, Singapore, Norway, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Latvia, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia, Albania, New Zealand, Tonga, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Philippines, Armenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina — plus the many others who supported the mission with basing, overflight and other crucialassistance.
Kerry dismissed as “window dressing” the sacrifice of those nations, including the 14 coalition countries who by then had seen their soldiers die on the battlefield in Iraq. His cavalier comments prompted the president of Poland (a country that led Multinational Division in Central-South Iraq and lost 23 soldiers in battle) to declare, “It’s sad that a Senator with twenty years of experience does not appreciate Polish sacrifice . . . I don’t think it’s a question of ignorance. . . . It’s immoral not to see this involvement we undertook.”
Kerry mocked the contributions of smaller nations, declaring “When they talk about a coalition, that’s the phoniest thing I ever heard. You’ve got 500 troops here, 500 troops there.” Never mind he’s now working for a president who just used a prime-time address to announce that he is deploying — wait for it — 475 troops to Iraq (but insists they will not have a “combat role”).
“Mr. Obama made much of his commitment to a multilateral foreign policy, in contrast to President George W. Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq,” wrote Landler.
That, his advisers say, grew out of a conviction the United States needed to work with others and forge consensus to restore its moral standing.
I suppose if France, Russia, China, and Germany had supported OIF, that would have qualified as “multinational”. The governments of these same countries didn’t oppose OIF due to any moral high ground or belief that Saddam was not a wmd threat to the world. These countries opposed due to their own vested, selfish, self-interests (France with oil contracts, food-for-oil scandal…and guess which countries were the ones who really armed Saddam and undermined sanctions).
Or perhaps the “go it alone” fallacy is the idea that George W. Bush needed to go to the UN one more time to authorize a vote for war, with the UN’s blessings. The UN should have thanked the U.S. for finally enforcing a 16 + 1 UNSCRs issued over a decade of deceit and defiance on the part of Saddam. (Note the U.S. did not cite the legality of invasion on 1441, but from the combined effect of Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441).
It is an insult to the 31 other nations who did contribute to a multinational force that ousted Saddam Hussein from power, to make the false claim that America “went it alone” under the leadership of George W. Bush. These countries supported the war effort, contributing what they could afford. You can’t realistically expect countries without the economic and military power of the U.S. to sacrifice blood and treasure equally. The U.S. is a hyperpower. These other nations are not. This is why the U.S., more or less, is forced into the role of “policeman of the world”. Many Americans may not like it, but that is the responsibility of the world’s sole hyperpower. To non-intervene and exercise a muscular foreign policy is to allow chaos and instability to fester.
How would Senator Kerry describe Great Britain, coerced or bribed? Or Italy, which recently lost 19 citizens killed by terrorists in Najaf, was Italy’s contribution just window dressing?
If such dismissive terms are the vernacular of the golden age of diplomacy Senator Kerry promises we are left to wonder which nations would care to join any future coalition. He speaks as if only those who openly oppose America’s objectives have a chance of earning his respect.
Senator Kerry’s characterization of our good allies is ungrateful to nations that have withstood danger, hardship and insult for standing with America in the cause of freedom.
NYTimes’ Mark Landler made the same error in perpetuating the falsehood that George W. Bush was a unilateralist. Hot Air points out that it took the NYTimes only TWO WEEKS to note and correct the error:
It seems that the Paper of Record had no record of the broad coalition built by George W. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including ground troops from more than a dozen nations, when it attempted to explain the difference between the approaches of Bush and Barack Obama on war in Iraq and now Syria. On September 11, the Mark Landler article included this curious sentence: “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.” Two days later, the Gray Lady issued a correction on a photo credit, but it took the layers of fact-checkers and editors another ten days to issue this correction. Since the NYT puts corrections behind a pay wall (!!), I’ll just use the screen shot (via Daniel Halper):
In the New York Times’ defense, they weren’t the only news agency with short memories. Our colleagues at Twitchy caught Josh Lederman of the Associated Press trying out the same line last night:
In fact, as others informed Lederman, three of the five Arab nations included in the coalition for last night’s strikes were part of the 2003 coalition, too. Also, Bush got a vote from Congress authorizing the action, something Obama has thus far not bothered to try. Lederman deleted the tweet rather than issuing a correction, and has not commented on this assertion since.
But seriously, how difficult is it to research this basic fact — especially given the White House insistence since late August that Obama intended to build a “broad coalition” in response to ISIS?
The difference between George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama is this: The former behaved as a leader of the free world. The latter wishes to reduce America’s role from the status of leadership to one of equality with other nations.
Now…does any Obama defender wish to dispell the “Lead from Behind” reputation that our current PotUS has earned, and call it a myth and a fallacy?