The Corner

The First Gulf War

I think all of the Republicans who’ve dinged Kerry’s vote against the first Gulf War have missed an opportunity by not actually repeating some of the arguments that Kerry made in defense of that no-vote and then comparing those arguments to his more recent rationales. He believed in 1990-91, for example, that we would abandon the principle of “deterrence” if we tried to remove Saddam from Kuwait — which he’d invaded undeterred. His rationale for being “against” the more recent Gulf War is that Bush didn’t build a big enough coalition even though the first war couldn’t have had a bigger coalition and Kerry still opposed it. He criticized W for not getting final approval from the United Nations — but Poppa got exactly that and Kerry still opposed it. Etc.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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