The Corner

Kerry Was For Waiting On U.N. Inspectors Before He Was Against It

John Kerry seems to have a short memory.

Secretary of State Kerry said today that the United States would not wait on the United Nations’ investigation of chemical-weapons use in Syria before deciding on a course of action, on the grounds that the investigation “can’t tell us anything . . . that we don’t already know.” In addition, Kerry said that the U.N. “cannot galvanize the world to act as it should” because of “Russian obstructionism.”

President Obama “will ensure that the United States of America makes our own decisions on our own timelines based on our values and our interests,” he said, unconstrained by other countries’ opinions.

While George W. Bush was in the White House, Kerry seemed to place a lot more value on the international community.

During a speech on September 21, 2004, Senator Kerry said that George W. Bush had “rushed to war” before United Nations weapons inspectors could complete their job, a charge he would later echo in the second presidential debate that fall. In the same 2004 speech, Kerry also blasted President Bush for going into Iraq without a “broad and deep coalition of allies.” 

His complaints weren’t original to his presidential campaign: Two years earlier, in a 2002 New York Times op-ed, Kerry cited the U.N.’s inspections proceess as a means of maintaining legitimacy, arguing that ”those who think that the inspection process is merely a waste of time should be reminded that legitimacy in the conduct of war, among our people and our allies, is not a waste, but an essential foundation of success.” 

“We are at a strange moment in history when an American administration has to be persuaded of the virtue of utilizing the procedures of international law and community — institutions American presidents from across the ideological spectrum have insisted on as essential to global security,” he wrote.

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