John Kerry’s Tangled Webs

April 24, 2006

Oh, what tangled webs John Kerry weaves. But then again, foolish consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds, not sophisticated, expansive minds calibrated for complexity and nuance, like John Kerry’s.

Sen. Kerry has been trying to make himself a part of the news other than as a failed presidential candidate ever since he became a failed presidential candidate. He has been sending group e-mails almost daily since his defeat, on every imaginable political subject. Hey, if I’m on the distribution list, can you imagine who all gets these gems?

They cry out, “Look at me. I’m still here. I have craved this position since before I made the most profound statement ever uttered by a precocious politician-in-waiting: ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ Oh, those were the glory days — before the Swiftees started stalking me. Oh, and by the way, I’m running again in 2008.”

Kerry has stepped up his profile even more in the last few days. Thirty-five years ago from the day he sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee and slandered his fellow Vietnam soldiers with false allegations that they committed atrocities, he gave a speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston. This time the subject was the War in Iraq and patriotic dissent. Kerry just couldn’t wait to tell the fawning antiwar, antiBush audience how proud he was to have been a loud, dissenting voice on returning from Vietnam, and he was proud to be one again over Iraq. He also reiterated his patently bogus charge that the Bush administration, by defending itself against the onslaught of lies against it, is trying to stifle dissent.

Kerry also appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” where he made some remarkable statements on the alleged leak of classified information concerning the existence of secret prisons in Europe by CIA official Mary McCarthy. Stephanopoulos asked Kerry his opinion on the CIA’s firing of McCarthy for leaking.

The gist of Kerry’s response was, “Here’s my fundamental view of this, that you have somebody being fired from the CIA for allegedly telling the truth, and you have no one fired from the White House for revealing a CIA agent in order to support a lie.” Under further questioning Kerry acknowledged, probably grudgingly, that a CIA agent has an “obligation to uphold the law,” but reiterated that “if you’re leaking to tell the truth, Americans are going to look at that, at least mitigate … “

So many things are wrong with Kerry’s statement. In the first place no one in the White House has been charged with illegally leaking in the Valerie Plame affair — to which Kerry was obviously referring. Plus, the statements connecting Plame with her husband Joe Wilson were not made to support any lie, but to counter lies and smears coming from Wilson and other Bush detractors.

No matter how many times Kerry and others deny it, Bush’s 16-word State of the Union statement that the British had learned Saddam was trying to acquire uranium from Africa was true. Britain still stands by it. And Bush did believe, quite reasonably, along with everyone else, that Saddam still had or was furiously developing WMD.

More importantly, Kerry’s notion that a leak is mitigated if it contains truthful information is as wrongheaded as it gets. I would think that leaks, by definition, are truthful. If you are leaking something that isn’t true, you can hardly be leaking anything, can you? You would just be making things up. How can disinformation fabricated by a “leaker” be classified? This is sheer idiocy. Further, Kerry’s idea that the American people’s opinion matters in whether Mary McCarthy should be prosecuted also misses the point. This is a criminal matter, not political, and prosecutors don’t take polls before filing charges. Well, they’re not supposed to, anyway.

But make no mistake, Kerry was one of the first to call for Karl Rove’s firing over the Plame affair, when he had no idea what the facts were — and didn’t care. He decried alleged leaks from the Bush team — even though if they occurred they wouldn’t have damaged national security.

But with McCarthy we have a clear case of a leak damaging national security, and Kerry is sympathetic to it. Of course, on closer inspection, Kerry is being quite consistent in his inconsistencies. The common denominator in his positions is that he favors that which damages the Bush administration, irrespective of whether it damages our national security, and irrespective of the truth of the allegations.

Some people never change, and John Kerry is one of them.