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View Diary: Why did Obama let this happen, and other questions on Ukraine (313 comments)

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  •  No, You Undermine Your Credibility (1+ / 0-)
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    valkyrry

    If you don't brush your teeth and they all fall out, but the State Department replaces them with dentures better than your original, and you tell people they must brush their teeth without saying "or you'll suffer what I suffered", but instead saying "like people used to in the 19th Century", you undermine the message.

    If you then tell people you're going to force them to brush their teeth, people are not going to respect what you tell them.

    The tooth decay is still a real threat. But you are not persuading anyone to believe it.

    Kerry has not made the obvious rejoinder. Kerry is not at all acknowledging his personally walking the path he is now warning Putin from. In fact his hypocrisy makes insulting the injury that is his being Secretary of State and powerful enough to threaten Russia.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:00:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  you're right, Kerry should commit seppuku (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssnbbr, Matt Z, smartdemmg, rainmanjr

      and let a more honorable man take over at State. That would certainly make an impression on Putin.

      I am sure we've always been upset that Kerry was named Secretary of State. Kinda like how I'm sure we've always been at war with Eurasia.

      I recognize that Kerry's phrasing was particularly galling. But, the important part isn't that as a Senator he supported the war, it's that now, as Secretary of State he is right.

      And I much prefer to have the Secretary of State speaking out against this action in no uncertain terms, rather than have him try to phrase his statement to reduce the country's embarrassment.

      As to your other point, the United States invaded Iraq. Not John Kerry. There is no way for the Secretary of State of the United States, no matter who it is, to avoid the accusation of hypocrisy.

      •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

        No, Kerry shouldn't "commit seppuku". Despite that obnoxious strawman response - along with your cryptic jibe about "Eurasia" - I will tell you what's appropriate.

        Kerry shouldn't have been nominated for the office, and he should have declined it if offered. But given his baggage, it was absolutely mandatory that he explain how he has any authority after his extremely serious mistake. As I just told you in my prior post. But he didn't. That's not just "phrasing", it's the actual message. By ignoring his poor credentials for speaking against pretext invasions, he undermined the message that such invasions are intolerable. He could have, because there is a way, even though he himself was complicit in the Iraq invasion.

        I prefer to have a Secretary of State who can communicate that, rather than ignore it and so provoke legitimate responses of hypocricy from even the people defending this Russian invasion.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:50:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obsession with hypocrisy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          valkyrry, rainmanjr

          Is what Kerry said less correct because he's a hypocrite?

          The rest of the world doesn't give a sh*t if Kerry voted for or against the Iraq war. He is an American and therefore, by default, hypocritical on this issue. All Americans carry the shame of the Iraq war, no matter how hard we fought against it.

          provoke legitimate responses of hypocricy from even the people defending this Russian invasion
          The funny thing is I don't see people using "hypocrisy" as a response to defend Russia's actions. I see people like Kos sniping (counter-productively, unless the goal is to encourage Russian aggression).

          The people actually defending the Russians want very very badly that no one draw the parallel between Russia's actions in Ukraine and the United States' actions in Iraq.

          "This is not an invasion," they say.
          "The people welcome the Russian military."
          "It's really Russian territory, anyways. And a very small piece. Ukraine probably wont notice if it's gone."
          "There are neo-nazis in Kiev and they might start making nuclear bombs any minute."

          The one thing they are explicitly not saying is, "This is just like how the United States invaded Iraq."

          •  Obama Didn't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cany

            No, most people know Obama opposed Bush's war. But the main reaction to Kerry's statement to Russia about 19th Century invasions was to laugh at it because of Iraq. Not to stand with a strong and morally unambiguous US leadership.

            If Kerry - who ran against Bush in 2004 and so his Iraq position is also well known in the world - had opposed Iraq, the US would not be undermined by its hypocrisy. There is a very deep and powerful point to changing governments by elections. Unless the new government is the same old boss - as is Kerry on the subject of Iraq.

            Hypocrisy undermines the messenger, even if their later position is correct. It doesn't make Russia's invasion any more legitimate. It just delegitimizes the US moral ground.

            But you're denying that people heard Kerry and said "yeah, like you and Iraq, sure". They are indeed - both journalists and commenters in world news sites, and surely everyone else. And surely in Russia - and not just in the government. But it doesn't exist to you. Since you're impervious to those facts, my explanation isn't going to matter to you.

            So goodbye.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:24:42 PM PST

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        •  You make a strong point, DocGonzo, but... (0+ / 0-)

          if we only staffed the Cabinet with people who voted against Iraq we wouldn't have much of an operating govt.  This is part of the reason why it's so imperative that mistakes like Iraq don't happen and how badly our nation has been weakened because of it.  Hillary was a pretty popular SoS who also voted for Iraq and may be our next nominee, after all.  I think Kerry's response to the claim of hypocrisy is that he made the vote on the basis of lies told by our Pres, VP, VERY respected SoS, and demand of 85% of the American populace.  THAT'S his response but it needs to be made in a separate conversation.  Not while trying to push Putin back into his cage.

          "If it takes all night / that'll be alright / if I can get you to smile before I leave." Jackson Browne

          by rainmanjr on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 12:27:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No Indispensible Men (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rainmanjr

            I totally disagree. There are plenty of actually talented and experienced people among our 300M Americans. The Cabinet doesn't have to be staffed with every one of the party's presidential candidates. Hillary is precisely the kind of problem we have: popular despite a track record of the status quo, no matter how shabby or incomplete.

            Voting for the Iraq War, in a decent country, would have ended careers. Not promoted people upwards. When Kerry condemned Russia for invasion, he was among the worst messengers - who didn't even reference his own making that same "19th Century mistake". Any "but" of course needs to be delivered with the condemnation, or else the condemnation is hollow. He's not even having that "separate conversation". And I'm leaving aside that his claims he "believed Bush" are BS - he voted out of political expediency, just like Clinton. Further, he did absolutely nothing as Senator or as Secretary of State to fix that system, even when he had the power.

            Look, if what we want is just Americans saying things, OK, we've got a network of insiders who say things. If we want people to listen and take us seriously, we need those people to be believable. Of all the people telling Puting you just can't invade on a pretext, the people who told Bush he could are the last to do it.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:23:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, good points. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DocGonzo
              Of all the people telling Puting you just can't invade on a pretext, the people who told Bush he could are the last to do it.
               I can't argue with that except for the typo.  On the other hand, Kerry did rail against Iraq in his 2004 run so has some history of 'splaining his vote.
              What Kerry said was stupid and someone who voted no, or wasn't involved at all, would certainly have more cred alongside a Pres who spoke out against an Iraq war.  I can't deny that.  But I also agree that it's America which has lost cred because of that war and nobody could have made Kerry's statement sound credible.  Yet that's the argument against Putin's invasion.  (shrug)  It's our history and we have to live with it, now.  As a matter of pure fact it will weaken our ability to be outraged by the behavior of other nations.
              Putin is on the winning side of this argument and Obama is kind of stuck in needing to address it.  Europe will play a key role in how hard Obama can slap him, if at all, and that's mostly what's at stake.  This would be true regardless of who is SoS because it's a matter of pure oil economics.
              I was one of the Iraq War protestors so have full sympathy with how you feel, Doc.  Maybe we should break with the easy win (HRC) and nominate someone who also didn't favor Iraq.  There's no guarantee they will staff their cabinet with outsiders, though, and not many from Congress who didn't vote yes.  Peace.

              "If it takes all night / that'll be alright / if I can get you to smile before I leave." Jackson Browne

              by rainmanjr on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:35:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Further, it's important to remember that.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sweatyb

        Sen Kerry voted for invasion on the basis of lies that were told by our President, VP, SoS, and support by 85% of the American public.  It was a mistake but that can be addressed in a different conversation.  One doesn't address it when trying to win the upper hand and cultivate alliances.  

        "If it takes all night / that'll be alright / if I can get you to smile before I leave." Jackson Browne

        by rainmanjr on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 12:19:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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