The Alterman Reality

In a July 2 response to a correspondent named Cynthia Anderson, Eric Alterman responded to the erstwhile Nader supporter (who had called him a “prick” and signed off with a Cheneyesque salutation) by essentially blaming the Iraq war on Nader, presumably because he helped Bush get in the White House. I’m not so sure it would have made a difference.


I’ve been watching Democrats chasing their tails about Nader now for nearly four years. The Republicans never spent this much time foaming at the mouth about Perot when he sucked far more votes from Bush and Dole in ’92 and ’96. They just kept pounding away at Clinton and Gore by hook or by crook. If, instead of expending a bunch of effort to keep Nader off the ballot, Dems could do something to attract some of Nader’s voters, wouldn’t that be a better use of their time and energy? The Republicans who are going to rallies here in Portland to try to get him on the ballot aren’t doing anything for him unless they’re going to vote for him instead of Bush. People who really want to vote for him where he’s not on the ballot can just write him him in.

I’m voting for Kerry. I’ve donated money to Kerry. But one item in your reply to Cynthia intrigues me. In dismissing her admittedly rude letter, you ended it: “And by the way, nice little war we’ve got going in Iraq. Thanks.” Do you know for sure that Al Gore wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq? Or that John Kerry, if he’d been in the same position as George W. Bush, wouldn’t have? I’m assuming George Tenet would still have been the CIA chief. The funding of Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress was going on through at least the second half of the Clinton administration. Kerry, at least, was with everyone else in his acceptance of the Bush team’s “intelligence” that Iraq was a danger to others — despite the concerns of the UN inspectors and foreign governments about the validity of that data. A President Gore or President Kerry wouldn’t have had Cheney and Wolfowitz at the door beating the drums to go into Iraq after striking at al-Quaeda in Afghanistan, but the same flawed intelligence would have been coming through. Can you be sure a VP Joe Lieberman would have been uninterested? Or that if the stories from the INC had been “stovepiped” to members of Congress instead of Scooter Libbey that Gore or Kerry could have avoided invading Iraq? Not without questioning things more than Kerry did as a member of the Senate. Which leaves me with some options:

John Kerry wanted to go to war in Iraq.


John Kerry, a member of the Foreign Relations committee of the Senate, knew that the administration’s case for war against Iraq on the issue of WMD was flawed, as was suspected by any number of people outside of the government and — particularly — outside of the U.S., but he decided to go ahead and support it for whatever reason (perhaps because he was announce for President in about a year),


John Kerry, a former prosecutor, was duped by the administration’s case for Iraqi WMD because he either didn’t bother to check into it or — perhaps worse — he trusted a group of people who proved from the moment Bush began to run for office that they were willing to lie about anything.

Pick your own poison.