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Voices Kerry

Gazette staff February 6th, 2013

The U.S. Senate is often considered a collegial governing body, but every so often, a wayward thumb gets stuck in the eye of fraternity. The latest thumbstick came Jan. 29, when senators overwhelmingly confirmed one of their own, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for the post of Secretary of State.

Credit: Brad Gregg

There were only three dissenting votes, one of them being Sen. James Inhofe, R-Tulsa.

Oklahoma’s senior senator cited Kerry’s support for treaties to reduce nuclear proliferation, his 1985 meeting with then-Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and — of course — Kerry’s support of U.S. action on climate change.

“In this dangerous world filled with nuclear threats from tyrants in North Korea and Iran, Kerry’s lack of ability at times to distinguish between friend and foe is troubling,” Inhofe said.

He also referenced Kerry’s meetings with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who, in response to popular uprisings in early 2011, began slaughtering protesters, which sparked a bloody civil war.

In his statement, Inhofe contended, “As late as 2010, Kerry said of one meeting that ‘President Assad has been very generous with me in terms of discussions we have had’ and that Syria was ‘an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.’” Now, we at Chicken-Fried News are not above cheap shots.

But we also enjoy context, and the full context of Kerry’s talks with al-Assad is this: Kerry met with the Syrian leader several times after the latter expressed interest in becoming more open with the West. Kerry urged Syria to stay out of the affairs of Lebanon and do its part to keep peace between Israel and militant groups such as Hezbollah.

So that settles it, really ... unless Inhofe has some incriminating photos of al-Assad and Kerry windsurfing together.

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