Thursday, October 21, 2004

Kerry didn't seem to have a problem with how Tora Bora was handled back in 2001

From Mickey Kaus.

I'd always figured Kerry was on relatively strong ground criticizing the "outsourced" approach at Tora Bora because he must have criticized it at the time. But Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute has come up with a transcript of a "Larry King Live" broadcast on Dec. 14, 2001, during the month-long battle, in which (responding to a question about why we weren't up in the caves using "napalm or flamethrowers"**) Kerry appears to actually endorse a play-it-safe, minimize-U.S.-casualties approach:

"But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way."

Perhaps Kerry was only referring here to the failure to use flamethrowers (though his language can just as easily be read more broadly). But earlier in the same interview-- in response to the question "how goes it so far in Afghanistan, in your opinion?"-- Kerry generally praises the U.S.'s strategy, which even as he spoke was relying heavily on proxies:

"I think we have been smart, I think the administration leadership has done it well and we are on right track."

Kerry certainly isn't critical of the "outsourcing." Nor was this interview at the beginning of the Tora Bora seige, when its contours were unclear. It was in the battle's final days, more than a week after bin Laden (by some accounts) had already escaped, at a time when even Donald Rumsfeld was having public doubts about our likely success. ... P.S.: If anyone has evidence of real-time Kerry criticism of the Tora Bora strategy (which may well exist) I'll be glad to reference it. Update: Silence. ...

After hearing his endless drone about flu vaccines, outsourcing, allies and Tora Bora, I bet Kerry would give his left nut for a real talking point.

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