politics, history and the war on terror
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Hoping it away 

With less than three months until Election Day, Senator Kerry has yet to communicate his policy to fight the War on Terror. His public statements on the war have been vague, and many questions on his policies remain. How would Kerry respond to a terror attack? Would he be willing to attack nations preemptively if intelligence indicated they were a threat? Would he act without the concensus of the United Nations? How will he handle Iraq? Is he committed to victory? In his acceptance speech to the Democratic convention last week, which barely covered the war, Senator Kerry attempted to answer some of these questions.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.
Questions still remain. Would he have acted in Iraq with the same intelligence, and without the approval of the United Nations? Does he support a policy of preemption? Is he saying he would only respond to attacks on America? Does he support change in the Middle East, or is he happy with the status quo?

When pressed during follow-up questioning on the weekend news show circuit, his response to handling the war was to trust him. He stated he was unwilling to outline his plan to successfully prosecute the war without being elected president.

SENATOR JOHN F. KERRY: [in reply that his plan to fight the war sounds like Nixon's secret plan to win Vietnam] I don't care what it sounds like . It's truth. I don't care what it sounds like. The fact is that I'm not going to negotiate in public today without the presidency, without the power. I'm going to do that as president. And people will have to judge my 35 years of involvement in foreign affairs, my 20 years as a Senator fighting to make things happen. That's the judgment people make in this race. It's a judgment of character, and I believe my character is one that has shown that when I say something, I follow through on it, and when I stand up and fight for something, I'm tenacious about it.

Since Senator Kerry has not clearly laid out his policy to fight the war and has challenged us to look at his "35 years of involvement in foreign affairs, my 20 years as a Senator", let's do it. He is unwilling to share his vision with us, so we can do nothing else but judge him by his his history.
John Kerry entered the public stage after his service in Vietnam, when he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and testified in front of Congress for the Winter Soldier Investigation about alleged atrocities committed by American troops and the pointlessness of the need to fight Communism.
They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

I think it [the threat of Communism] is bogus, totally artificial. There is no threat. The Communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands.
His testimony and actions can be excused as the statements of an upset young man impacted by the brutality of war, however history has proved his statements were deceptive at best, and he has yet to recant or apologize for his actions. His lack of understanding of the threat of Communism is troubling, as this is an ideology bent on the destruction of the free world and responsible for the enslavement of and murder of hundreds of millions world wide. Referring to Communism as "bogus, totally artificial" demonstrates a naive worldview; the victims of the brutality of Communism would view it as neither bogus nor artificial.

The belief that Communism was not a threat to America carried over to his career as a senator, where he opposed President Reagan's efforts to fight the spread of Communism in Central America. This was a real threat as the Soviets were working to undermine American security by exporting Communism to the Western hemisphere. He negotiated with the Communist Sandinista regime and attempted to appease the Communist regime, against the wishes of the Reagan administration. He also pressured Congress to vote against aiding the anti-Communist resistance.

During the Cold War, Senator Kerry's voting record on military programs provides some insight on his commitment to a strong defense. Not only was he against building and upgrading our nuclear capabilities and voted to cut spending on intelligence, he opposed some of the most crucial weapons systems currently in use in today's war.

The litany of weapons systems that Kerry opposed included conventional as well as nuclear equipment: the B-1 bomber, the B-2, the F-15, the F-14A, the F-14D, the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Patriot missile, the Aegis air-defense cruiser and the Trident missile. And he sought to reduce procurement of the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the F-16 jet. Time and again, Kerry fought against what he called "the military-industrial corporate welfare complex that has relentlessly chewed up taxpayers' dollars."
His stance on Iraq and its WMDs is perhaps Senator Kerry's most perplexing position. Up until June of 2003, he insisted Iraq possessed WMD, insisted Saddam was a threat to American security and supported the removal Saddam. As his hopes of obtaining the Democratic presidential nomination faded, Senator Kerry appeared to tack left to seduce the anti-war vote. He has failed to understand the relationship between Iraq and the War on Terror, its importance to the region or the need to change the culture of the Middle East.

Almost three years into the war, Senator Kerry's public stand on prosecuting the war has been confusing. As a Senator and presidential candidate, he has had many opportunities to distinguish his policies but unfortunately he has failed to do so. He has advocated further international cooperation, without outlining how this would work or how he would improve on the efforts of the Bush administration. He criticized the Patriot Act (which he voted for) as a law that undermined the Constitution as well as accusing the Bush administration for using the law for political ends.

During the primaries, Kerry blasted it as a violation of our fundamental rights: "We have learned from the...Patriot Act that the last thing we need is John Ashcroft rewriting the Bill of Rights." A Kerry spokesman just the other day criticized Bush for "playing election-year politics with the Patriot Act."
He also stated that President Bush has used the issue of terrorism for political gain.

"I think there has been an exaggeration," Mr. Kerry said when asked whether President Bush has overstated the threat of terrorism. "They are misleading all Americans in a profound way."
Howard Dean voiced this same sentiment, in response to the detailed terror threat exposed after the Democratic convention.
"I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism," Howard Dean, a former rival of Mr. Kerry for the Democratic nomination, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN on Sunday. "His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,' and then out comes Tom Ridge," Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor, added, referring to the homeland security secretary. "It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it."
To his credit, Senator Kerry has refuted Dean's conspiratorial remarks.

"I don't care what he said. I haven't suggested that and I won't suggest that," Kerry said. "I do not hold that opinion. I don't believe that."
This is curious as Senator Kerry held a similar position only this spring. While refuting Governor Dean's remarks on the validity of terror warnings, Senator Kerry made a telling statement concerning the causes of terrorism and perhaps provided some insight on his plan to fight.
"I believe this administration, in its policies, is actually encouraging the recruitment of terrorists," Kerry told "American Morning" on CNN. The administration hasn't reached out to other countries and the Muslim community, he said, and hasn't done enough to protect U.S. ports, chemical plants and nuclear facilities.
This is profound. The Bush administration has caused terrorist ranks to grow? Does a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee forget the decade of attacks by terrorists against America? Whose fault was the rise in terror recruiting at this time? How can he demonstrate the administration's policies have created more terrorists? Does he discount the thousands of terrorists we have killed or captured? Is terrorism the fault of America's actions, or is it the fault of a perverted radical ideology promoted in backwards nations?

The statement above is perhaps Senator Kerry's clearest position on fighting the war. He insinuates America's actions are the cause of terrorism, and because of this force should be used only as a last resort. He advocates negotiations with foreign governments, despite the 9-11 Commission's explanation of the failures of relying on diplomacy. He recommends consultations the Muslim community, a community that appears to be either unwilling or unable to publicly denounce terrorism, except for isolated cases. He suggests fighting a defensive war by protecting American infrastructure. But there is no mention of how to take the fight to terrorists and the nations that support them, no mention of how to change the culture of terror so prevalent in the Muslim world, no mention of the need to promote democracy and freedom to overcome the enslaving Islamist ideologies.

The Kerry/Edwards campaign slogan of "Hope is on the Way" appears to be apt. The message we are receiving is as follows: let's hope we can negotiate with our enemies, hope indifferent democracies and dictators will come to our aid, hope we can build our internal defenses strong enough to thwart the next attack, hope the Middle East will reform itself, hope the radical ideologies that threaten our existence will melt away.

Until Senator Kerry articulates his strategy to fight the War on Terror, we have no other way to judge his intentions except by looking at his past actions and voting record. His history does not bode well for those looking for victory in the War on Terror, and most disturbing is his attitude towards totalitarian ideologies. John Kerry believed we could coexist with Communism despite the clear danger to the Western world. The totalitarian ideology of radical Islam has stated it does not wish to peacefully coexist with the Western way of life, and its actions have demonstrated this. We need to know if he believes we can contain radical Islam, as he believed we could contain Communism, or if it must be defeated. We are waiting.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:40 PM