John Kerry, who is Biden's special presidential envoy for climate, came up against rare pushback when he tried to issue the usual invective and talking points on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Putin's aggression while speaking on French television in Paris.
But a French TV anchor wasn't having it, and confronted Kerry over US hypocrisy, given Washington has mounted multiple invasions of sovereign countries in recent decades, especially since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Well-known French journalist Darius Rochebin during the Sunday night interview on news channel LCI posed the following: "We have to judge Putin for crimes of aggression, of course. But you, the Americans, you committed the crime of aggression in Iraq." Rochebin then asked Kerry: "These countries of the Global South say, should we judge George Bush? Why isn’t Bush judged in the same way?”
So this French tv host asks John Kerry if there isn't a double standards between the US's position on Putin for his "war of aggression" and the fact they don't think those standards apply to Bush for Iraq.— Richard (@ricwe123) June 26, 2023
John Kerry, embarrassed,replies Iraq wasn't a war of aggression.
Kerry simply tried to reject the comparison, without explanation, shooting back "no". Rochebin quickly interjected, "Why?"
"Because there’s never even been a direct process or accusation or anything with respect to President Bush himself," Kerry deflected. "Have there been abuses in the course of that war, yes."
Rochebin didn't let go after this nonsensical attempt to appeal to a legal "process" and mere "abuses" (in a war that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians). The journalist pressed: "Was it not a crime of aggression to enter into Iraq on the basis of a lie?"
"No, no, no," Kerry said. "Well, we didn’t know it was a lie at the time. You know the evidence that was produced, people didn’t know that it was a lie. So no, again, I think, you’re stretching something. That’s not a constructive way —"
"But he lied," Rochebin said of Bush. "He lied. He lied."
A flustered Kerry, who had also served as Secretary of State under the Obama administration, then said, "Sir, I’m not going to re-debate the Iraq war with you here right now. We spent a lot of time doing that previously. I was opposed to going in, I thought it was the wrong thing to do. But we gave the president the power, regrettably, in the Congress, based on the lie. And when we knew it was a lie, people stood up and did the right thing."
This is hilarious:— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 26, 2023
John Kerry is on a tour flamboyantly depicting Russia as a rouge state for invading a sovereign country, only for French journalist @DariusRochebin to remind him the US has invaded multiple countries, and Kerry himself voted to authorize the Iraq War. Watch: https://t.co/i90JH3KAyO
Rochebin came back with: "I get that. But you understand that for the countries of the South, of course, justice, equality, principles, it’s their impression that there is a double standard. And that weighs today, including on the debate of the climate," Rochebin said.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald later observed of the interview, in which a humiliated Kerry was clearly unprepared to be challenged and called out so directly, "The complete lack of self-awareness on the part of the US establishment sometimes shocks me, despite the contempt I harbor for them."