Covering a speech by John Kerry at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Ron Fournier of the Associated Press writes:

“Why are we unilaterally withdrawing 12,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula at the very time we are negotiating with North Korea — a country that really has nuclear weapons?” the Massachusetts senator said. That last phrase was a reference to Iraq, which apparently did not have nuclear weapons when Bush ordered the invasion, with support from Kerry and others in Congress.

First, the use of the word “apparently” as a hedge is unnecessary here. Weapons inspectors continue to scour Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, and some war supporters cling to the belief that chemical and biological weapons might still be found. But it’s safe to say that even these diehards have lost hope that nuclear weapons will ever be uncovered.

More important, Kerry voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq, not for the invasion itself, and he’s been clear to stress that distinction.

The failure to find WMD in Iraq, and Kerry’s position on the Iraq war are, to put it mildly, important campaign issues, with Bush loyalists dismayed by the former and Kerry being forced continually to defend the latter. The least reporters can do is to get them right.

Z.R.

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.