Bush "Global Test" "Sensitive War" - eeesh

To be up front, I am a Kerry supporter.

Having said that, I do not think the topic I am bringing up is about who you want to vote for - it is about an approach to politics.

Bush’s choice to take Kerry’s comments out of context seems deceptive, immature and condescending to the public.

  • When Kerry said “Global Test” he meant “global” in terms of “overall” NOT in terms of “International” - the fact that Bush is trying to relate it Kerry’s them of not going it alone and state that Kerry will relinquish decision-making authority is small minded.

  • When Kerry referred to a “sensitive war” he obviously meant one that is fought paying closing attention to changing variables and reacting swiftly to exploit opportunities, not “sensitive” as in “girlie man.” Hearing Bush and Cheney play it the latter way is simply offensive - who do they think we are?

I am reminded of a story (I think it is true, but not sure) about an election from over 100 years ago where a candidate tried to “faux smear” his opponent by saying that his opponents actress sister was (hush, hush, say it behind your hand) a “thespian.”

Depending on a naive public to misinterpret a word, or to try to help them along in the process is just small.

relate it Kerry’s them of not going

uhh…that’s “Kerry’s theme”…

I dunno.

I watched the debate, and I interrpreted Kerry’s remark to mean “international”. It fit the context of the rest of what he was saying.

I agree that the “sensitive” comment was taken out of context.

I agree with John Mace that Kerry meant international. I don’t think he meant it as meaning that we should hand decision making power over to other countries but that we should act in such a way as to keep our allies actively on our side.

Agreed. Republican politics took a juvenile turn in the Newt Gingrich era, and the Bush campaign seems to be taking that tack as well.

Sure would like to see level-headed moderates take back the Republican Party. Maybe it’ll happen if Bush loses.

Until this thread it never occured to me that there was even the slightest chance that Kerry mean “all around, overall” rather than international. Given the topic of debate at hand, if he had meant it as the former rather than the latter, it was a very poor choice of words - Bush obviously thought he meant internationally too. Now I see why dems were in a snit over Bush’s attack on the phrase…they think he meant something different than I think he did.

I’m still confused. Did Kerry come out after the debate and say that he meant “global” in the sense of the OP? Is there any evidence, other than someone’s opinion, that that is what he meant? Here’s the exact quote from the debate:

I don’t see how it can be taken to mean something other than 'international".

Given that the elements of the “Global Test for War” are that you must be able to secure the informed support of the people of this country and have a plausible argument to justify it to other nations (my paraphrase and as I remember the debate) it is fair to think that the Global refers to Universal or General or Primary or (God help us) Catholic. If he had called it a Catholic Test for War I suppose there would have been even more screaming and willful misrepresentation.

But, yea, there is an awful lot of out of context snipping statements and outright misrepresentation out there. I can’t say that the Republican PR machine is the only guilty party but it seems to have built a real money maker on the concept. The vote on the supplemental appropriation for Iraq is the leading example. Anyone who does it (misrepresentation of a political opponent’s policy and history) is depending on the audience to be too lazy, uninformed or converted to do the critical analysis. Fortunately most, but certainly not all, of the people on these boards do not fall into these categories. While there is a tendency to parrot the party line-of-the-day we also tend to talk about more substantive stuff.

Did Senator Kerry really vote not to equip American soldiers with body armor. Of course not. He voted to pay for it in a way that the majority party in Congress did not wish to use. Does Senator Kerry really want to give France a veto over the US’s decision to pursue the use of force? Of course not. He says that the decision to go to war must have the informed consent of the nation (one of the lessons of Vietnam) and must have a rational and logical factual basis. Is it a weak position to say that? Should we instead go to war based on a fraudulently obtained national consent and based on irrationality? Has that happened recently?

Holy cow. I’m agreeing with John Mace twice in one week. :wink: It didn’t even occur to me that Kerry might have meant anything else. Although I do agree with the OP in general principle - that Bush is trying to misrepresent what Kerry said. Kerry has been VERY clear that he would never defer to another country if the U.S. were in danger. But Iraq simply doesn’t fit the criterea for “self defense”, and it IS insulting to the voters when Bush tacitly implies that it did.

Something must be wrong… :slight_smile:

Well, I’ll go you one further on this. Bush does more than tacity imply that the Iraq war was necessary for the defence on the US-- he states it explicitly. I didn’t buy that before the war, and I don’t buy it now.

BTW, I spent some time googling varioius combinations of “kerry…debate…global test”, and I don’t come up with ANY cites that offer an explanation or further clarification from anyone in the demoocratic party, much less Kerry on this issue. Without that clarification, those who say “global” didn’t mean “international” are just blowing smoke. His own words in the debate where he expands on what “global” means expicitly says “prove to the world”. If that ain’t “international”, I don’t know what is.

I will go back and review what was said. I thought he meant is as “overall” but am open to other interpretations…again, the point is to have an honest argument, not to immaturely try to appeal to people’s basest impulses…

according to the cite I found on ABC’s website, he said:

to me, that sounds like “overall, common sense” not “pass explicit international approval”. YMMV.

Kerry was very careful throughout the debate to clarify what he meant, so why wouldn’t he have asked for an extention after Bush said that the global test was asking international (UN) permission had that not been what he meant? Lehrer was giving out extentions for rebuttals left and right, so I think he would have at least asked for one if Bush had misunderstood him. Instead he said nothing.

Well, there is a little ambiguity to it. The “global test” phrase is followed by a compound sentence and it’s not entirely clear whether “global test” refers to both parts.

Look at it this way: “you have to do it in a way that passes the… global test (1) where your countrymen… understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing (2) and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”

Obviously “global test” refers to explaining clearly to your country why you need to go to war, but a case can be made that it’s not referring to proving it to the world.

Having said all that, my own interpretation is that he was saying that war has to make sense to both your own country and to the world, i.e., globally.

Still, are the Republican’s saying that we don’t need to present a valid, logical reason to the world before going to war?

I thought I saw Kerry signalling for an extension, but that Lehrer didn’t notice. Kerry’s signal was more of a polite, one-handed wave than Bush’s verbal requests.

I think there is some ambiguity in “global”…I did interpret it to mean “international” when I heard it. However, what is crystal clear from context is that Kerry is not saying that this means that the international community has to give us some formal go-ahead. He is merely saying that we have to have reasonable justifications for our decision to go to war.

Well, they probably wouldn’t put it this way, but I think when you get right down to it the answer is YES.

The idea that some people seem to believe that the U.S. can choose to “act in self-defense” merely by making some vague claims that there is this threat to us is scary indeed. I really think the only way that these people can justify this position is by way of “U.S. exceptionalism” since they certainly wouldn’t endorse other countries doing the same thing.

  1. I agree he meant “global” as in “the whole world.”
  2. Given his clarification–that we need to be able to prove to the world that we’re doing the right thing–it’s hardly outrageous, and definitely not Bush’s characterization of letting the world dictate foreign policy. All he was saying is that before we go on a preemptive asskicking, we better have our ducks in a row and be willing to show the rest of the world that our ducks are in a row. He didn’t say that we had to prove it to their satisfaction, which would be a completely different statement.
  3. Even as he said the words, he cringed: he knew that he’d just created a soundbite for Bush to distort, and he was working his good goddamnedest through that debate not to give Bush something he could distort. That’s why he clarified what he was saying so quickly.


He quite obviously did NOT mean “international,” but more like “thorough” or “holistic.”

Having said that, there’s not a damn thing wrong with getting international approval for a preemptive military action. It is morally unacceptable not to.

I just don’t get this: given that “global” makes sense in the context (he’s saying that our foreign policy has to be one we can defend to the whole globe), and that that’s the more common meaning of the word, and that his explanation didn’t deny this, and that there’s nothing wrong with wanting a foreign policy that we can at least attempt to justify to the rest of the world, where do you get the “quite obviously” from?


The fact that the first thing he said after “global test” was that you have to prove to your countrymen that the attack is justified.

Also, I guess that’s just the default way I hear the word “global.”