Thursday, October 07, 2004

John Kerry: Naive and Reckless

John Kerry was in Denver, Colorado yesterday preparing for tonight's presidential debate. He had not planned to talk to the press, but after the release of the Duelfer Report yesterday he decided to hold an impromptu press conference. The press conference was short, but the answers Kerry gave to the reporters questions summarized his entire philosophy and political career. It is impossible to understand how John Kerry could come to the conclusions he expressed in today's press conference without knowing something about his history. The following is a very brief synopsis of his political career:

John Kerry began his political career during the same time he was leading protests against the Vietnam War, winning a primary for a congressional race but ultimately losing the seat to his Republican opponent in 1972. After graduating from Boston College law school in 1976 Kerry became a prosecutor for Middlesex County, Massachussets. He was elected Lt. Governor of Massachusetts in 1982, serving under Governor Michael Dukakis. His political career, rooted in his radical antiwar days had begun.

John Kerry ran for Lt. Governor in a race that featured former Massachusetts Governor Edward J. King running to retake the office he held four years before against Mike Dukakis. Kerry , unwilling to take a side, offered supporters a choice of campaign buttons: one that read "King/Kerry" and another that read "Dukakis/Kerry". Dukakis won the race, and Kerry won the LT. Governor race.

As Lt. Governor John Kerry authored an executive order, signed by Michael Dukakis that declared that in the event of a successful nuclear strike against the United States, the state of Massachusetts would offer the Federal Government no help in civil defense efforts. The document read, in part:

"Whereas the existing and potential strength of nuclear weapons is such that nuclear war can neither be won nor survived, it can only be prevented; and Whereas the only effective defense against the horrors of nuclear weapons lies in their elimination and in the prevention of nuclear war or attacks, [the Commonwealth of Massachusetts] shall seek to ensure the safety of its citizens by pursuit of policies reflecting a serious commitment to prevention of nuclear war."

John Kerry's support of a nuclear freeze was only beginning. Paul Tsongas soon announced that illness would force him to give up his Senate seat, and Kerry soon jumped into the race, running on a nuclear freeze platform and calling for the elimination of such weapons as the B-1 bomber, B-2 stealth bomber, AH-64 Apache helicopter, Patriot missile, the F-15, F-14A and F-14D jets, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Aegis air-defense cruiser, and the Trident missile system, the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Tomahawk cruise missile, and the F-16 jet. It was also in this campaign that Kerry first turned to his Vietnam Service for help in a political race. His campaign theme was "War and Peace", with the emphasis on the peace. With the help of Vietnam Vets who followed his opponent around the state looking for ways to pick fights, Kerry was able to defeat his opponent and win the primary and the Senate seat. (Taken from the series John Kerry: The Making of a Candidate from the Boston Globe )

Kerry won the senate seat and began opposing Ronald Reagan at every turn. He opposed the buildup of Pershing Missiles in Europe, a strategy employed by the Reagan Administration to counter the Soviet SS-20 missile placements in Eastern Europe and to force the Soviet Union into a crippling arms race. In 985, John Kerry introduced The Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze Bill, and sponsored two amendments to freeze the Strategic Defense Initiative- related nuclear development.

Kerry went on to support Daniel Ortega, the Communist Sandinista leader of Nicaragua - to the point of flying to Nicaragua in 1986 with Senator Tom Harkin - to meet with him. Kerry led the fight to stop the Reagan Administrations War to oust the communist government. Kerry called the contras, the anti communist forces fighting forces of Ortega, a “mercenary army” financed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In an echo of his accusations about U.S. actions in Vietnam, Kerry charged that the contras had been “guilty of atrocities against civilians".

Kerry was also opposed to the US invasion of Grenada after its fall to Marxist rebels, from the Boston Globe:

Kerry was scornful, for instance, of the Grenada invasion, launched by Reagan the previous October to evacuate US medical students after a Marxist-backed military coup on the Caribbean island.

At one point he likened it to "Boston College playing football against the Sisters of Mercy." Earlier, Kerry told The Cape Codder newspaper:

"The invasion of Grenada represents the Reagan policy of substituting public relations for diplomatic relations . . . no substantial threat to US interests existed and American lives were not endangered . . . The invasion represented a bully's show of force against a weak Third World nation. The invasion only served to heighten world tensions and further strain brittle US/Soviet and North/South relations."

Campaigning now for president, however, Kerry is rewriting that history. As he accuses President George W. Bush of hamhanded diplomacy before the invasion of Iraq, Kerry often lists Grenada among the US military incursions he says he has supported.
"I was dismissive of the majesty of the invasion of Grenada," Kerry says now. "But I basically was supportive. I never publicly opposed it."

John Kerry would continue his march on the wrong side of history by voting against many of the weapons systems we are currently using to fight the war on terror. He voted against the Patriot missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber, the Apache helicopter, the M-1 Abrams tank and a wide range of fighter jets. Senator Kerry also voted nine times against developing a missile-defense system envisioned to protect the United States from nuclear attack. He voted six times in the past 10 years to freeze or reduce defense spending. Mr. Kerry also cast two votes to loosen trade controls over "dual-use" technology such as U.S.-made high-speed computers that can also be used by enemies to build high-tech weaponry. In 1996 Senator Kerry authored a bill to cut the deficit. The proposal, which would have cut spending on defense and intelligence by $6.5 billion, never attracted a co-sponsor or came to a vote.

In January of 1991, John Kerry voted against the resolution that gave President George H. W. Bush the power to launch the Persian Gulf war against Iraq. He actually took both sides of that war, sending a letter of support for the war and a letter of opposition to the war to the same constituent:

“Rather than take a side--albeit the one he thought was most expedient--Kerry actually stood on both sides of the first Gulf war, much like he did this time around. Consider this ‘Notebook’ item from TNR’s March 25, 1991 issue, which ran under the headline ‘Same Senator, Same Constituent’: ‘Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war.’ --letter from Senator John Kerry to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, dated January 22 [1991] ‘Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush’s response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf.’ --Senator Kerry to Wallace Carter, January 31 [1991]” (Noam Scheiber, “Noam Scheiber’s Daily Journal of Politics, The New Republic Online, 1/28/04) (via George W. taken from the New Republic Online.)

As we know John Kerry has taken both side on the War in Iraq. He voted for the resolution to go to war. Then he later claimed to have voted only for the threat of force. In an early Democratic primary debate John Kerry voiced his support of the presidents decision to go to war saying:

George, I said at the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.” (ABC News, Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Columbia, SC, 5/4/03)

Later, on hardball with Chris Matthew's he claimed he was an antiwar candidate:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: “Do you think you belong to that category of candidates who more or less are unhappy with this war, the way it’s been fought, along with General Clark, along with Howard Dean and not necessarily in companionship politically on the issue of the war with people like Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt? Are you one of the antiwar candidates?” KERRY: “I am -- Yes, in the sense that I don’t believe the president took us to war as he should have, yes, absolutely.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 1/6/04)

More recently, when challenged by President Bush to take a stand on the war, Kerry said that he supported the war even though no weapons had been found:

"Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have."

Yet Kerry voted against the $87 billion funding supplement that supplied equipment to the troops fighting the war.

John Kerry voted for the Patriot Act, but is now against it, saying at a campaign rally:

“We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night. So it is time to end the era of John Ashcroft. That starts with replacing the Patriot Act with a new law that protects our people and our liberties at the same time. I’ve been a District Attorney and I know that what law enforcement needs are real tools not restrictions on American’s basic rights.” (Sen. John Kerry, Remarks At Iowa State University, 12/1/03)

Kerry's many stances on Iraq are well known to those who have paid attention to this election. His most recent stance, that the war in Iraq was a "colossal error", the "wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time", a "great diversion" is actually his natural position. Until John Kerry ran for President in this election he had never stood with the United States government on any issue of national security since his return from Vietnam. About two weeks ago, John Kerry settled into a hard left anti war position. As he has progressed in this stance, the recklessness of his policies has become more apparent.

The culmination (so far) of all of this is the impromptu press conference today in Denver. His answers were a window into his soul. Question 1:

Q. "If you are elected, given Paul Bremer's remarks, and deteriorating conditions as you have judged them, would you be prepared to commit more troops."

A. "I will do what the generals believe we need to do without having any chilling effect, as the president put in place by firing General Shinseki, and I'll have to wait until January 20th. I don't know what I am going to find on January 20th, the way the president is going. If the president just does more of the same every day, and it continues to deteriorate, I may be handed Lebanon, figuratively speaking. Now, I just don't know. I can't tell you. What I'll tell you is, I have a plan. I have laid out my plan to America, and I know that my plan has a better chance of working. And in the next days I am going to say more about exactly how we are going to do what has been available to this Administration that it has chosen not to do. But I will make certain that our troops are protected. I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, and I will make sure that we are successful, and I know exactly what I am going to do and how to do it."

The incredible part of this answer is not the lie about the President "firing" General Shinseki, but it is the arrogant, bizarre attitude with which he answers the question. He goes beyond projecting victory for himself and into a bizarre alternate reality in which he assumes that he will be President in January. He then continues into his typical "I have a plan" nonsense, punctuating it with his attempt to sound like the manly leader that will "kill the terrorists".

The only problem with his tough guy fantasy is that for 35 years he has been the antithesis of strong foreign policy.

Question 2:

Q. Duelfer also said that Saddam fully intended to resume his weapons of mass destruction program because he felt that the sanctions were just going to fritter away.

A. But we wouldn't let them just fritter away. That's the point. Folks! If You've got a guy who's dangerous, you've got a guy you suspect is going to do something, you don't lift the sanctions, that's the fruits of good diplomacy. This Administration...I beg your pardon?

In recent days John Kerry and John Edwards have become fond of saying that the President is living in a "fantasy land" denying the realities in Iraq. John Kerry's assertion that he would not have allowed the sanctions to "fritter away" is absurd in the face of the international scandal revealed by the Duelfer report and the release of the names of hundreds of individuals, corporations and governments being bribed by Saddam Hussein. Duelfer explained that Saddam bribed these individuals to pressure the international community to drop the sanctions against his country. At the end of the 1990's the international sanctions against Saddam Hussein's government were crumbling. The pressure was mounting for the sanctions to be dropped. Hundreds of individuals and corporations, stood to make millions as soon as the sanctions were dropped. Duelfer also explained that Saddam planned to use the money he would make to reconstitute his WMD programs, which Duelfer explained remained the primary goal of his regime. Kerry answers the question as if the revelations of the last two days did not happen. Crumbling sanctions enforced by an organization riddled with corruption and bribery to from top to bottom are the "fruits of good diplomacy"? This is the reality that John Kerry claims George Bush is denying? This answer fits nicely into the Kerry Doctrine of the imposition of a "global test" on any action undertaken by the United States military. No matter how corrupt an international organization may prove to be, John Kerry still believes that organization wields moral authority over the United States of America.

Question 3:

Q. You just said [Bush] fictionalized him [Saddam] as an enemy. Now you just said he's dangerous?

A. No. What I said. I said it all the time. Consistently I have said Saddam Hussein presented a threat. I voted for the authorization, because he presented a threat. There are all kinds of threats in the world, ladies and gentlemen. Al Qaeda is in 60 countries. Are we invading all 60 countries? 35 to 40 countries had the same --more-- capability of creating weapons, nuclear weapons, at the time the president invaded Iraq than Iraq did. Are we invading all 35 to 40 of them? Did we invade Russia? Did we invade China? The point is that there are all kinds of options available to a president to deal with threats and I consistently laid out to the president how to deal with Saddam Hussein, who was a threat. If I'd been president, I'd have wanted the same threat of force. But as I have said a hundred times if not a thousand in this campaign, there was a right way to use that authority and a wrong way. The president did it the wrong way. He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace, against my warnings and other people's warnings. And now we have the mess we have today. It is completely consistent that you can see him as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the Soviet Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other ways.

This is the answer that reveals that Kerry fundamentally does not understand the war on terror. His question of whether we would invade all 30-40 countries that have the capability to produce nuclear weapons is absurd on the face. Does he believe all countries that can produce nuclear weapons morally equivalent? Does he not understand the fundamental difference between Iraq and Great Britain or even China? Does he not see the difference between Israel and Iran? Maybe he doesn't, which would explain the emotional reaction he had in the first debate to the very idea that the United States would develop a new generation of bunker busting nuclear weapons. John Kerry also seems to reveal in his answer that he believes the "threat" of force may be that same as the use of force. Has he forgotten that Saddam Hussein faced the "threat" of force for 12 years, yet continued to defy the world? John Kerry believes that the sanctions on Iraq were working and that something could have been done, presumably at the UN, to force Saddam Hussein to disarm. If John Kerry does not believe that Saddam Hussein needed to be forcibly removed after 12 years of failed sanctions, after September 11th, after 18 months of further UN negotiations, then he does not believe that the use of force would ever supersede tough talk by the UN. This has already manifested itself in his policy proposals. Has has proposed that Iran be allowed to keep their nuclear reactors and be sold nuclear fuel in exchange for their promise to stop the production of their own nuclear fuel and for their promise that they will use their nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. To ensure that Iran meets their promises, John Kerry has proposed relying on another Hans Blixian character to monitor their facilities. Despite the failures of the last 12 years in Iraq and North Korea, John Kerry is still willing to give Iran the materials needed to build a nuclear weapon if the UN is involved in monitoring them. The idea is absurd, it is dangerous, it is naive. Iran has declared its right to a nuclear weapon. They may be just a matter of months from producing a weapon. President Bush Stated in his interview in Bill O'Reilly that he would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Because he has lived up to his word in Afghanistan and Iraq the American people can have confidence that he will live up to his word in Iran. The rest of Kerry's answer is his typical self-serving arrogant remarks about his plan, which he has yet to outline and about how he would have done everything right because he would have.

John Kerry's entire political career has been an extension of the remarks he made, under oath, to the Senate upon his return from Vietnam. His statements were the outline for his political career. He has been on the wrong side of every national security issue since he left his Swift Boat after four months in Vietnam. He has supported Communist leaders in their struggle against the United States, he has voted against funding almost every piece of military technology we use today. He has been unable to articulate a position on Iraq or the greater war on terror. He has voted for the Iraq war only to vote against its funding, for and against the Patriot Act, for and against troop redeployment as announced by the President. To understand John Kerry you must understand that he is still the person who made the slanderous remarks against the military to the Senate in 1971. His disdain for the military and the men he called monsters has never subsided. He has opposed the US military with every political choice he has made in his long career. The United States is engaged in a global war, more dangerous and unpredictable that the Cold War. Decisions will have to be made, men will have to be sent in harms way, sometimes quickly and without the benefit of 100% rock solid intelligence. John Kerry has demonstrated from the time he stepped on American shores after the Vietnam War that he not the man to lead the country at this time. That is why his testimony in 1971 and the Swift Boat Veterans opposition to him are important and why his actions from that time are open to discussion and evaluation. The John Kerry running for President now is the same John Kerry that delivered those damning remarks to the Senate in 1971. He is the same John Kerry that led anti war protests, who supported Ortega, opposed the US invasion of Grenada and the Persian Gulf War. He is the same John Kerry that voted only for the threat of force and voted against funding the war. John Kerry is incapable of leading the United States through the war on terror and he has a lifelong record to prove it
As a matter of fact his political career has been an affirmation of what he said that day. Ninety minutes of tough talk in a debate cannot change a lifetime of pacifism. John Kerry has done nothing since his return from Vietnam to prove to the American people that he would defend this country aggressively in a time of war. John Kerry often says, "I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President". He has to refer to his four months in Vietnam because he has never defended this country as an elected official, not once in 35 long years. John Kerry will cut and run from Iraq. he will dither in the corrupt and feckless United Nations in the face of future threats. He will never take preemptive action to protect this country. As he said in his acceptance speech, he will "respond" aggressively to any future attacks. A response after an attack may be to late for thousands of Americans, or for an entire city. Why does this matter? It matters because character counts. It matters because the ability of the president to lead the armed forces in the war on terror will determine the fate of our country. Only one man in this race has a record of defending America when it counts, and despite his service 35 years ago, it is not John Kerry.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.