During yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the possible authorization of U.S. military action against the Syrian government, Secretary of State John Kerry got tripped up once again with his tendency to be consistently inconsistent.
Kerry was asked by the Committee Chairman, New Jersey’s Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, whether the administration would accept a prohibition against having American boots on the ground. In response, Kerry first said it would be "preferable not to" to have such a prohibition. He then engaged in some of his infamous nuancing, saying there isn't "any intention or any plan or any desire whatsoever to have boots on the ground" in Syria, it shouldn't be "taken off the table."
After a little back and forth about the meaning of combat, Kerry obfuscated, I mean nuanced, an assurance to the Chairman that they could work out language that will satisfy the Congress and the American people.
You can watch the exchange in the following video:
Here is a transcript of the exchange as published by the Washington Post.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Mr. Secretary, we received from the administration a proposed resolution for the authorization of force, and of course that is a negotiation between the Congress and the administration.
Would you tell us whether you believe that a prohibition for having American boots on the ground -- is that something that the administration would accept as part of a resolution?
SEC. KERRY: Mr. Chairman, it would be preferable not to, not because there is any intention or any plan or any desire whatsoever to have boots on the ground. And I think the president will give you every assurance in the world, as am I, as has the secretary of defense and the chairman. But in the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies and all of us, the British, the French and others, to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country. So that was the only kind of example, that's the only thing I can think of that would immediately leap to mind to say, you know --
SEN. MENENDEZ: Well, if we -- if we said that there'd be no troops on the ground for combat purposes, that clearly would, I assume --
SEC. KERRY: Well, assuming that in the going to protect those weapons, whether or not they had to, you know, answer a shot in order to be secure -- I don't want to speak to that. The bottom line is this -- can I give you the bottom line?
SEN. MENENDEZ: We're going to have to -- we're going to have to -- we're going to have to work to -- (inaudible) --
SEC. KERRY: I'm absolutely confident, Mr. Chairman, that it is easy, not that complicated, to work out language that will satisfy the Congress and the American people that there's no door open here through which someone can march in ways that the Congress doesn't want it to while still protecting the national security interests of the country.
I'm confident that can be worked out.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Well, I --
SEC. KERRY: The bottom line is, the president has no intention and will not, and we do not want to, put American troops on the ground to fight this -- or be involved in the fighting of this civil war, period.
This is just yet another reminder that John Kerry and the Obama Administration continue to be consistent in their difficulty with the truth.
Last July, as the Egyptian army was mounting its coup against the Islamist government of Mohamed Morsi, Kerry got caught up in another flip flop -- his State Department was against admitting Kerry was on his yacht, before they were for it.
That of course, is not the first time Kerry's "consistency" has caused him difficulty. We certainly remember how he came to be known as a flip flopper during his 2004 presidential campaign. There was Kerry's infamous I was for it before I was against it. And there was also Kerry's "I have been consistent all along" concerning his inconsistent positions on the War in Iraq.
Then there is President Obama:
- Obama promised to "end the practice of writing legislation behind closed doors" - to restore the American people’s trust in their government by making government more open and transparent.
- Obama's administration pledged to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.
- Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised not to negotiate healthcare reform behind closed doors.
- Obama repeatedly assured Americans they would be able to keep their health insurance plan.
We could list many more, but I think you get the point -- you can't count on anything Obama or his administration say. As Peter Wehner recently put it in Commentary:
Mr. Obama talks, and he talks, and he talks. My how he loves to talk. But his words don’t translate into anything real. And eventually that does take a toll.
Unfortunately, that's exactly right.