Saturday, August 14, 2004

Lame Donkeys

Senator Edwards sought to rebut VP Cheney’s ridicule of Senator Kerry, who has promised a “more sensitive war on terror”:

"He took that word and distorted and tried to use it to argue John Kerry will not keep the American people safe," Edwards said. "He's talking about a man who still carries shrapnel in his body. He's talking about a man who spilled his blood for the United States of America."

So what was meant by the word “sensitive”, Senator? The President of the United States cannot defend America by spilling his blood, he must do it by creating a coherent plan of action and effectively arguing it at home and abroad.

When people complain of “Bushisms” I tell them I prefer a President who thinks sense and speaks in spoonerisms, than a President who spouts nonsense with perfect diction.

The Washington Post today has an op-ed by former Sen. Bob Kerrey. His piece is the most concise misstatement of Senator Kerry’s philosophy I’ve seen:

…But at the top of my list of reasons for believing Kerry can and will do this most difficult of jobs is that he has the requisite sympathy for the men and women who give up many of their rights as citizens in order to defend ours. My confidence also comes from knowing that he knows what it's like to have served under leaders who lacked the moral clarity or the political backbone to sustain an effort from beginning to end.

He also understands from personal experience and practice that strong and determined diplomacy can enable the United States to avoid having to send our sons and daughters into harm's way in the first place.

Evidence backs up my claim in each of these three areas. Kerry demonstrated time and again the sympathy I speak of by fighting for veterans' health and educational benefits. Can his opponents cite one instance in which he failed to put his political career on the line for those who have already served? …He knows how vital it is that we sustain whatever it is we begin, and that we support our troops all the way to the end.

He also knows that the troops count on their leader to be a visionary capable of planning for each and every possibility. No soldier, sailor, airman or Marine wants to follow someone who substitutes rosy scenarios for hard-headed calculation of risk. No one wants to follow someone who believes political jargon is more important than detailed planning and execution.

Almost every person in uniform will tell you that the best war is the one we deter because our enemies know we have the capability and will to strike back with relentless and deadly force. It is also the one we prevent because we used our diplomatic and economic muscle to reduce threats before they grew into the real thing.

Again, John Kerry has a tremendous amount of experience working with Republican and Democratic presidents to negotiate and prepare for the peaceful world most of us prefer. In Southeast and Southwest Asia, in the Middle East and in Latin America, Kerry has been involved in some of the most difficult and successful of our bipartisan foreign policy efforts. No one will have to remind him as president that partisan politics should be kept at the water's edge to respect and honor those who continue to serve us.

One instance? How about his testimony before the Senate in 1971, when this man of sympathy declared that the entire war in Vietnam was a brutal racist aggression carried out by ‘monsters’ against a people who merely wanted Communist tyranny?

Was voting against the $87 billion for the war in Iraq ‘supporting our troops until the very end’? Is floating trial balloons about pullout dates showing the moral clarity or political backbone to sustain whatever we begin? Is a promise of European troops and money—not augmenting a US commitment but explicitly to relieve us of our burdens—anything but a ‘rosy scenario’? What detailed plan has Senator Kerry proposed? What detailed plan can he propose if his entire scheme rests on the cooperation of third parties?

Sen. Kerrey knows full well that Senators review the completed diplomatic efforts of the professionals. They do not negotiate with anyone but the President, and they have no direct role in foreign policy. Everything else he says about Kerry could be put down to monumental ignorance, but this misstatement of the very job Sen. Kerrey performed is nothing but a lie. A damn dumb lie, at that.

And what is this nonsense about deterrence and avoiding war in the first place? We are at war right now, a war we are winning and must fight further to win. If I had to pick one word to define a “9/10 politician”, deterrence would be at the top of the list. And this from a 9/11 Commissioner? Pathetic.

Still I must feel a little bit of sympathy for Senator Kerrey. He must have written this op-ed a few days ago, before the Kerry campaign backed off the Christmas in Cambodia story. Yet the Washington Post went to press with this paragraph still in the piece:

Tellingly, the attacks on Kerry's war record have been orchestrated in large part by the same Texas publicity firm involved with notorious television advertisements meant to derail the last veteran of the Vietnam War who ran for president, John McCain. Kerry's service in Vietnam was extensively documented by the U.S. Navy, especially in connection with his awards, and has been reviewed numerous times by historians and news organizations.

It must be hard on a man, to no longer enjoy the privilege of a phone call from the Washington Post editorial board, urging a last minute rewrite to avoid looking like a complete ass. Then again, that would have meant scrapping the entire article.

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