“You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.” — Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in an interview with MSNBC, Sept. 5, 2013
This is at least the second time since becoming secretary that Kerry has asserted that he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq while serving as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts. The first time the Kerry made this claim, during a student forum in Ethiopia, his statement mysteriously disappeared from the official State Department transcript.
But then he said it again, on television, also dragging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel into the mix. So let’s take a trip back in time and see what Kerry actually said in 2003.
When it comes to war, Kerry often takes a highly nuanced position. He voted against the congressional resolution authorizing force in the 1991 Gulf War, but voted for the 2002 resolution that supported military action against Iraq. Both votes turned out to be bad political bets.
When Kerry opposed the 1991 resolution, he complained that the George H.W. Bush administration had done too little to involve the rest of the world in its campaign to oust Iraq from Kuwait. But in 2002, he praised the coalition that had been formed for the first Gulf War, in part to complain that George W. Bush had thus far failed to secure the same level of cooperation.