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Peretz on Kerry
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Martin Peretz reminds us how tough Kerry will be on genocidal dictators:

How would John Kerry have dealt with Saddam? He has told us Saddam needed to be "confronted." But the word itself--which implies that the United States could have overthrown Saddam without using military force--tells us what we need to know. Had the United States and our allies not embarked on this war, the Iraqi mass murderer would still be in power. And, were international sanctions gone, as they soon would have been thanks to Russia and France, he would have been on his way back to having and deploying weapons of mass destruction. And the senator from Massachusetts would not have raised his voice.

Now, of course, the WMD rationale for war has dissolved like a mirage in the Mesopotamian desert. For Kerry and for Democrats, this has simply dissolved the case for the war. Finis. Which leaves us with the dilemma of how we deal with regimes that commit genocide. Saddam's genocides seem not to have provoked Kerry at all, nor, for that matter, did the genocide in Rwanda.

To which critics reply either "You're shifting your rationale for war!" or "But all that happened a long time ago!"

To the first I'd simply repeat that no, while the WMD argument was front-and-center, it was never the only rationale. And to the second I'd repeat the question: Is there a statute of limitations on genocide? Oh, well he's not massacring people now. Well, see...he must have turned over a new leaf!

Which just makes the "Yeah he was bad, but there are lots of bad people in the world" argument ring false. Yes, the Saudis royals are a noxious bunch, but as far as know they haven't steamshoveled masses of men, women, and children into trenches.

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